Barrier-Free is a non-profit, disability service organization that provides inclusive art, self-advocacy, and social programming to the community for adults with disabilities. Specifically, the project/initiative we are submitting for this grant opportunity are our inclusive theater companies (ITC). Barrier-Free has two inclusive theatre companies for adults with intellectual/developmental disabilities and autism. Our theater process follows a multi-step approach where actors with disabilities and autism, staff, and volunteer mentors come together to create original one-act shows to be performed at the end of each season. We rehearse at the Westminster Community Center from September - March, with a culminating performance at McDaniel College in March.
This past year, we moved our theater companies to Zoom and created our original musicals virtually! To see the premiere of our March shows visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7I9-vEeUAQ&t=2690s
We follow a four-step theater process:
Group Dynamics: At Barrier-Free, we are relationship-oriented. At the start of each ITC season, we spend the first couple rehearsals establishing a positive group dynamic. We work to build a safe space where each person is free to take risks, be creative, build friendships, and experience individual growth.
Improvisational Acting: Next we focus on drama games and improv scenes. While we are having fun with these activities, we start to notice that certain themes, settings, and characters are arising. These ideas begin to shape and mold into a story that is able to be translated into a cohesive script to be rehearsed and performed.
Rehearsing with our Script: After the script has been written, we spend many rehearsals working through the theater process. We incorporate costumes, props, singing and choreography, and more!
Show Time: After months of rehearsals, we are ready to take our show to the stage!
Funded by Westminster, MD (October 2021)