Tony McCaffreyAug 5, 2023
Giving and Taking Voice in Learning Disabled Theatre
Giving and Taking Voice in Learning Disabled Theatre (Routledge, 2023) offers unique insight into the question of 'voice' in learning disabled theatre and what is gained and lost in making performance. It is grounded in the author's 18 years of making theatre with Different Light Theatre company in Christchurch, New Zealand, and includes contributions from the artists themselves.
This book draws on an extensive archive of performer interviews, recordings of rehearsal processes, and informal logs of travelling together and sharing experience. These accounts engage with the practical aesthetics of theatre-making as well as their much wider ethical and political implications, relevant to any collaborative process seeking to represent the under- or un-represented. Giving and Taking Voice in Learning Disabled Theatre asks how care and support can be tempered with artistic challenge and rigour and presents a case for how listening learning disabled artists to speech encourages attunement to indigenous knowledge and the cries of the planet in the current socio-ecological crisis.
This is a vital and valuable book for anyone interested in learning disabled theatre, either as a performer, director, dramaturg, critic, or spectator.
Shu Wan is currently matriculated as a doctoral student in history at the University at Buffalo. As a digital and disability historian, he serves in the editorial team of Digital Humanities Quarterly and Nursing Clio. On Twitter: @slissw.