Full text of Isn’t it a pity? The real problem with special needs by Torrie Dunlap at TEDxAmericasFinestCity conference.
Listen to the MP3 Audio here: Isn’t it a pity – The real problem with special needs by Torrie Dunlap at TEDxAmericasFinestCity
In the early 1990s I was a student on this very campus. In fact, I was a student on this very stage.
I was a drama major who had a dream to change the world through arts education. The world, however, had something different in mind.
In one of my first theater jobs, I was directing a production of Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. I don’t know if you know it, but in it there are a lot of kids and they sit on the stage on bleachers on either side and they sing throughout the show.
We held auditions and we had a lovely middle schooler with a really pretty voice who also happened to use a wheelchair. I remember casting her in the play and feeling so excited about having someone with special needs in the show. I mean, how amazing for her and also how incredible for the audience, who would see someone using a wheelchair on the stage.
I spent way too much time feeling good about myself for this decision. We had a few logistics to figure out. So the production team and I put our heads together and we created a set design that used the traditional bleachers seating, but it also had a cutout so we could slide her wheelchair in and she would sit in her chair next to the kids on the bleachers.