How Canadian theatre artists are challenging traditional theatre practices and reimagining disability on stage.
Over the past three decades, disability theatre artists have claimed greater space on Canadian and world stages. While disabled figures and themes are theatre mainstays, productions tend to employ disability figuratively rather than engage with actual disability experience. In reaction, disability theatre pursues an activist perspective that dismantles stereotypes, challenges stigma, and re-imagines disability as a valued human condition.
Stage Turns documents the development and innovations of disability theatre in Canada, the aesthetic choices and challenges of the movement, and the multiple spatial scales at which disability theatre operates, from the local to the increasingly global. Kirsty Johnston provides histories of Canada's leading disability theatre companies, emphasizing the early importance of local efforts in the absence of national coordination. Close readings of individual productions demonstrate how aesthetic choices matter and can be a source of solidarity or debate between different companies and artists. This comparative approach allows for a nuanced consideration of disability theatre's breadth and internal differences.
Stage Turns highlights the diversity of disability theatre, underlining how this is critical to understanding the challenge it poses to mainstream aesthetics and to fulfilling its own artistic goals.