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Access A.R.T./New York

A.R.T./New York offers programs and services to create a more inclusive nonprofit theatre sector that is better equipped to serve artists, audiences, and staff with disabilities. Cost and education are major barriers for small nonprofit theatres to become fully inclusive spaces and to provide accessible spaces and programs to their patrons and artists. New York City is already such an inhospitable environment for people with disabilities, and those daily challenges are replicated in theatre spaces that are inaccessible or do not have staff who are adequately attuned to their needs.

Access A.R.T./New York is an initiative to offer support to member theatres that are beginning or expanding accessibility programs within their own companies. Through new and expanded programs, including a partnership with Hands On and microgrants to support hiring accessibility professionals, workshops and educational programming on accessibility, cohort learning opportunities, and accessibility consulting, we hope to shift New York towards a more welcoming and accessible place for all artists, staff, and audiences.


Disability Equity Series 

Developed with support from A.R.T./New York's Disability Advisory Council, the Disability Equity Series is a monthly series of workshops, roundtables, panels, and affinity spaces that will take the A.R.T./New York community on a journey beyond just thinking about accessibility in terms of compliance or as a box to check. Participants will get a deep dive into concepts of anti-ableism as well as into practical ways to increase equity in the theatre. The goal of this series is to shift our field away from focusing solely on accessibility to focusing on anti-ableism and equity for disabled people. A.R.T./New York believes that this work involves changing systems & shifting culture, and not just adding on accommodations or one-and-done programs. 

  Workshops Roundtables
Sep 2021 -

Accessible Re-Opening Strategies
Tuesday, September 28, 4-5:30pm

Oct 2021 Introducing Disability Equity at A.R.T./New York
Wednesday, October 6, 2-3pm
Nov 2021 Sharing the Stage
Wednesday, November 3, 5-7:30pm
Disability in Theatre Affinity Space
Monday, November 15, 2-3pm
Dec 2021

Beyond Accessibility: Making Disability Equity an Organizational Priority
Wednesday, December 1, 1-4pm

Jan 2022

An Anti-Ableist Approach to Theatre-Making
Wednesday, January 12, 1-4pm

Equitable Casting Practices
Wednesday, January 26, 4-5:30pm

Universal Design
Tuesday, January 18, 4-5:30pm
Feb 2022 - -
Mar 2022 Including Disability Accommodations in the Workplace
Wednesday, March 2, 6:30-8:30pm
Disability in Theatre Affinity Space
Wednesday, March 23, 2-3pm
Apr 2022 Access Service Providers: A Panel Discussion
Wednesday, April 6, 2-4pm
May 2022 Engaging Audiences with Disabilities
Wednesday, May 4, 4-6pm
Image Description Study Hall
Wednesday, May 11, 2-3pm
Jun 2022 Self-Advocacy
Wednesday, June 8, 6-8pm


Partnership with Hands On 

An ASL interpreted performance of The Winslow Boy by Roundabout Theatre.

An ASL-interpreted performance of The Winslow Boy by Roundabout Theatre. 

A.R.T./New York is excited to work with Beth Prevor and Hands On to expand ASL Interpretation in New York’s non-profit theatres. Since 2019, A.R.T./New York has partnered with Hands On to provide annual trainings and masterclasses for theatrical ASL interpreters and DASLs (Directors of Artistic Sign Language), with the goal of expanding and diversifying the pool of ASL professionals in the theatre field. A.R.T./New York has also collaborated with Hands On to offer a number of workshops and panels for A.R.T./New York members, including an ASL in Theatre panel series in 2021. Theatres interested in presenting a sign-interpreted performance should reach out directly to Beth Prevor at Hands On.

About Hands On
Hands On is a non-profit arts service organization that provides, supports, and advocates for the accessibility of the arts for the deaf community through the following services: production of sign-interpreted performances; information and referral; and theatre consultations and workshops.  



A.R.T./New York offers microgrants to all A.R.T./New York members (except Business Affiliates) who would like to hire professionals to increase the accessibility of a production or online performance/event, including but not limited to ASL interpreters, audio describers, consultants, and digital accessibility tools. These microgrants are intended to make it more financially feasible for companies to offer more accessible performances and to build the audiences for those performances. Applicants should already have begun conversations with the professional(s) they are planning to hire. Microgrant amounts are determined on a case-by-case basis to meet the needs of each applicant, but, typically, grants are given at a maximum of $1500 and at a one-to-one match with the applicant.
For further information about the microgrant or questions about eligibility, please email [email protected].


Cohort Learning

Since 2017, A.R.T./New York has convened four cohorts of member theaters to work on issues around accessibility in a safe and judgment-free environment. Usually comprised of 6-8 theaters within similar local geographies, these cohorts have investigated and queried their own practices in order to develop plans to increase accessibility for artists, arts workers, and patrons with physical, cognitive, and emotional disabilities. Through monthly workshops and one-on-one consultations with Accessibility Consultant Beth Prevor, A.R.T./New York has provided a new learning opportunity for members interested in going beyond theory and working to create theater that is one day accessible for all. Participants who attend all Access Cohort meetings receive a microgrant of $500 to seed an access initiative in their theaters. If your theatre company is interested in participating in a future Access Cohort, please reach out to David Shane at [email protected].

Additionally, A.R.T./New York launched a second cohort-based learning program in October 2018 on the topic of Relaxed Performances—a model of sensory-friendly performances. With training provided by Kirsty Hoyle of Include Arts over the course of two two-day intensive workshops, A.R.T./New York started a community of 12 theater companies committed to increasing their organizations' programming for audiences with sensory sensitivity or developmental disabilities. Members of these two cohorts meet regularly to discuss the challenges of doing this work, share resources, and collaborate on moving this work forward within New York City.



To support our members as they strive to make the spaces and performances more accessible for all, Beth Prevor of Hands On will be joining our team of Theatre Leadership Program consultants and will be available to A.R.T./New York members to provide short term consulting. Beth and Hands On's guidance and expertise can be a significant tool in understanding how your theatre company can better serve audiences, artists, and administrators with disabilities. As always with the Theatre Leadership Program, the first step is to reach out to Senior Manager of Programs David Shane at [email protected].

Beth Prevor is a co-founder and Executive Director of Hands On, an arts service organization that advocates for access to the cultural arts for the Deaf community and audiences with disabilities. For the last 30+ years, Hands On has been providing access for the Deaf and hard of hearing communities of NYC through sign language interpreted theater at some of NYC’s most prestigious theaters including The Roundabout Theater Company, The New York Shakespeare Festival/Public Theater and The New Victory Theater.  As Executive Director, Beth works with arts organizations to ensure inclusion for all by providing marketing, community engagement and audience development strategies. As a disabled advocate, Beth is active as an advisory member to many groupsincluding, The Shubert Accessibility Committee, Lincoln Center’sDepartment of Programs and Services for People with Disabilities (PSPD), The New Jersey Theatre Alliance, and the Museum Access Consortium (MAC). She has led workshops on accessibility and the arts for organizations around the country including the Kennedy Center’s LEAD (Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability) Conference, Americans for the Arts, The National Arts Marketing Project, the Alliance of Resident Theaters/New York (ART/NY) and Theater Communications Group (TCG). 

She is the 2015 recipient of the John F. Kennedy Center’s Excellence in Accessibility Leadership Lifetime Achievement award. 


Disability Advisory Council

The Disability Equity Series and subsequent initiatives would not be possible without the ongoing support and guidance of A.R.T./New York's Disability Advisory Council. This group consists of disabled artists, administrators, and consultants working in various areas of the theatre field, and their varied perspectives offer invaluable insight into A.R.T./New York's internal and external practices. In addition to assisting with the creation of the Disability Equity Series, the Advisory Council has offered guidance on A.R.T./New York's grantmaking practices, as well as the organization's approach to disability and accessibility as a whole. A.R.T./New York gives massive thanks to:

Christine Bruno
Sofiya Cheyenne
Sarah Hom
Gregg Mozgala
Beth Prevor
Kirsten Sweeney
Kate Trammell
Annie Wiegand

Header: Tectonic Theater Project's production of Carmen. Photo by Stan Borough.

Photo credit for The Winslow Boy is unknown. If you took the photo, please contact Nathalie Thomas, Senior Manager of Communications, at [email protected].