Have you come across the hashtag #WeShallNotBeRemoved yet? It’s the result of a collaboration of some of the UK’s most well-known theatres, dance companies and musical organisations who represent and champion disabled and D/deaf artists.
The Ensemble Cast
Graeae Theatre, Candoco Dance, Drake Music, Hijinx Theatre and Touretteshero are just some of the companies pulling together to ensure the disabled arts sector is not simply forgotten about after the inevitable changes COVID-19 will bring.
Andrew Miller, UK government disability champion for arts and culture said: “Coronavirus threatens not only the existence of our national culture as we’ve known it but also the health, creativity and civil rights of disabled people.”
He continued: “Many of us face long-term shielding and therefore risk invisibility to wider society. So it is essential we come together as one creative disabled community to ensure we are not left behind, but instead shape and reset the coming cultural recovery inclusively.”
The arts organisations met, online, to discuss how they could collectively promote the disabled community. Over 150 members are committed to continue to provide a voice and platform for disabled rights, now and long into the future, in the face of increasing uncertainty for the accessible arts.
Jenny Sealey, chief executive and artistic director of Graeae Theatre, said: “It’s being said we are all in the same storm but not on the same boat. Some disabled people feel they have no boat.”
Jenny highlights the importance of the disabled arts community pulling together not only for the right now, but also to fiercely protect the future of performers and performances. She continued:
“It is vital we work collectively to support each other through and after the storm of Covid-19 and ensure that our community is at the heart of evolving arts policy and practice.”