Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who joined us for Seesaw Theatre’s First Annual Inclusive Theatre Festival! We could not have asked for a better group of individuals, or a better way to start off what we hope will be a yearly occurrence. For those who were not able to join us, we wanted to share how the day went.
We began the morning with some words from Christina Layton, Seesaw’s Internal Education Director and the driving force behind this event, and Maddie Napel, our Executive Director.
We went into a round table discussion with our guests for the day:
Gretta Berghammer, Theatre Director at the University of Iowa
Julia deBettencourt, Program Director at Snow City Arts Foundation
Claire Huntingtion, Founder of Bluelaces Theatre Company
Erica Foster, Accessibility Programmer at Lifeline Theatre Company
Hilary Marshall, North Shore Studio Manager for Arts of Life
Alex Mauney, Access and Inclusion Manager for Red Kite at The Chicago Children’s Theatre
We were able to hear a bit about what each of our guests does, how they became involved with accessibility in the arts, moments that have stood out to them in their careers, etc.
After the round table, some of Seesaw’s Teaching Artists presented us with a sensory workshop, similar to what they would bring into a school. Together, we went aboard a ship for a kinesthetic trip to an island, where we experienced some of the sounds, tastes, sights, and textures on the island.
In the break that followed, many festival participants tried out the activity Arts of Life had brought for us – making and decorating paper dolls based on Arts of Life founding artist Veronica Cuculich’s “baby dolls.”
Long-time Seesaw friend Ira Kriston gave our keynote speech, telling us about his life, his experiences, and his deep love of music.
After lunch, we came back together for a presentation from Bluelaces founder and Seesaw alum Claire Huntington on starting a theatre company, finding support, and connecting with the community. She gave us some great insights on the devising process in a professional setting, which led into a larger conversation in the group about how to spread multi-sensory shows and the challenges and possibilities with creating guides or scripts.
Arts of Life screened “Life and Where I’m at: The Life and Art of Veronica Cuculich,” a documentary on a founding artist, her work, and the story behind their organization. We also got to see their beautiful display of the baby dolls we’d worked on!
We finished off the day with a screening of Red Kite’s documentary, “The Red Kite Project.”
We hope to see you next year!