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Realwheels Acting Academy Has Officially Launched


This training program is specifically tailored to anybody who self-identifies with the disability community and/or who is D/deaf.

Realwheels Acting Academy Has Officially Launched

Realwheels Theatre was founded in 2003 with the mission to change perceptions about disability through the art of theatre. Its innovative, award-winning professional productions and vital community projects strive to address the barriers that prevent full inclusion and integration of disability both on and off Canadian stages.

On September 20, following this mission, Realwheels launched the Acting Academy - a unique, professional training program that is specifically tailored to anybody who self-identifies with the disability community and/or who is D/deaf, including but not limited to people with disabilities, disable people, people with hidden disability, and neurodiverse individuals.

The inaugural cohort of students took part in the launch and celebration alongside community partners, staff, instructors, and friends. The BC Aboriginal Network on Disability Society (BCANDS) board president, Stephen Lytton, supported everybody in a land acknowledgement which explored the connection between Indigenous history, human rights, and the arts. Stephen is a long-time DTES resident, actor, writer, and community activist. Realwheels' Artistic Director, Tomas Mureika, shared Stephen's vision for the future of the company, highlighting his own commitment to facilitate the creation of professional performances that deepen the understanding of the disability experience while reflecting the real world and all of its people.

Realwheels Acting Academy's first student cohort includes 11 individuals with physical and/or invisible disabilities. With a wide spectrum of abilities, this cohort is as dynamic as it is talented. The students will begin their 3-year journey studying Acting with instructor Shawn Macdonald, Voice with instructor Alison Matthews, and Movement with instructor Camille Gingras. Participants will progressively explore and hone their skills, learning in a supportive and creative environment. The program runs September to June, and each summer, discussion panels will present key topics (such as casting and selecting an agent, for example) for the professional growth of the students.

The Realwheels Acting Academy provides everyone in the disability community access to professional training in acting. This completely free program reflects the students' needs, abilities, and range of experiences. This program is revolutionizing the approach to actor training, putting the students' unique skills and creativity centre stage. The key value is "Radical Acceptance": the idea that students are welcome for exactly who they are, and they can challenge themselves and grow as an artist and human being through a curriculum that is customized around them.

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