ATHE 2018 CFP: A Disability/Deaf Revolution in Musical Theatre/Dance

deadline for submissions: 
October 22, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Stephanie Lim
contact email: 

With their 2016 production of Spring Awakening, Deaf West Theatre was celebrated for their ongoing revolutionary approaches towards musical theatre, putting deaf and hearing actors on stage together, adapting stories and characters in Deaf cultural contexts, and making diversity and accessibility top priorities both on- and off-stage. The production was also the first Broadway show to feature an actor in a wheelchair, Ali Stroker.

As Deaf West Theatre continues to strive towards bridging the gap between Deaf and hearing worlds, many others have continued and are joining the fight to make non-normate bodies (taking Rosemarie Garland Thomson's term) seen, heard, and represented through performance -- the 2016 McCoy-Rigby production of Hunchback of Notre Dame which featured a deaf actor, wheelchair dance company InfiniteFlow, Gallaudet Dance Company, to name a few, as well as Nyle DiMarco’s win on season 22 of Dancing With the Stars.

Within the context of musical theatre and dance, this proposed session for ATHE 2018 welcomes papers that consider questions including, but not limited to, the following:

  • In what ways are musical theatre/dance companies, productions, and forms of popular media taking Disability and Deaf Studies issues into consideration?
  • How do particular productions and performances address issues related to the body and/or deafness?
  • What are prevailing and/or changing cultural representations of the body?
  • How are venues, companies, and/or training programs better including differently-abled and deaf actors and dancers?
  • How can musical theatre and dance function as platforms for visibilty and change, especially in relation to non-normate bodies?

Please send 300-word proposals to Stephanie Lim (sjoylim@uci.edu) by October 22.