by Jini Stolk
It was a special pleasure to hear Canadian playwright Alex Bulmer being interviewed last week on CBC’s Sunday Edition about her work on the huge installation, Breathe, which launched the Olympic sailing event. Alex, who is blind, was a leader in the Toronto Theatre Alliance’s (now TAPA) diversity and inclusion programs. She was co-founder of the original Picasso Project together with Rose Jacobson; her strength and inspiration were instrumental in the development of Jacobson’s Picasso PRO, which just completed a three-year partnership with Creative Trust.
Alex’s comments in the interview on Canada’s supports and policies for people with disabilities are particularly humbling: to say that we lag behind those in England is to put it mildly. “In Britain people think people are disabled by the environment not by their medical condition.” The full interview can be heard here.
Talking about Picasso PRO, many congratulations to Rose and her team for being one of seventeen disability arts organizations to receive three-year grants through the Canada Council’s expanded Capacity Building grants program – part of the Council’s new Expanding the Arts: Deaf and Disability Arts, Access and Equality Strategy.
And don’t forget that Creative Trust and Picasso PRO have just released handbooks for producers and presenters of Audio Described and American Sign Language interpreted performances. These practical toolkits are meant to provide step by step guidance for anyone planning to open their programming to Deaf/hard of hearing or Blind/low vision patrons.