For Artist: Communicating and Requesting Accessibility

Let’s face it, theatre and access aren’t always words we find in the same sentence, even in 2024.  Though there is a long way to go - there are ways to start the conversation.  Remember - ensuring a theatre space meets your access needs, should NEVER be your sole job, it needs to be a conversation with the producers and facilitators of the process!

There’s a show I want to audition for, what accommodations can I ask for?

Remember: The artistic team wants to see you thrive as an actor!  Whatever you need to be successful is the only thing that matters

You can ask for a self-tape instead of an in-person audition

  • Access to musical tracks if you learn music better by ear
  • Dance combinations to be recorded and sent ahead of time 

If an in-person audition is 100% necessary here are some ideas:

  • A longer audition slot 
  • Preferred audition time to help maximize and facilitate your travel and capacity needs
  • A reader to be available in the waiting room to run lines
  • Reduced sensory elements (access to fidget toys, reduced lighting, reduced instrument volume)
  • Don’t be scared of bringing your sides in with you.  Remember an audition isn’t a memorization contest.  
  • Bring in your support worker
  • Ask for a walk through or visual guide of the space ahead of time so you know what you are walking or rolling into
  • What do you need to have quick access to?  A table to put your belongings on? A music stand for your material? Water? Straws?


You booked the job!  What’s next?

1. Identify and Address your access concerns:

  • Think about what’s got you the most worried about the process and the access.  Is it being the only Disabled person in the room? Is it the costume design? Is it the set design? Is it the rehearsal logistics? Do you need to know who is on the creative team?
  • Write these down in a list from the most pressing to your lowest concern.
  • Book meetings: who do you need to have meetings with to address these concerns? Director? SM? Designers? AD/Company Manager? Marketing Team?  Request whatever meeting you need to ease your most nagging concerns

2. Build an access rider! You can find information about that below

3. Negotiate your contract to make sure it covers everything you need. Things to consider:

  • Length and frequency of breaks
  • Recoding or notetaking of blocking
  • Support folks in the room - who do you need? When do you need them?
  • Do you need one-on-one check-ins with the artistic teams?
  • How early in the process do you need to start your costume fittings? Do you need to become familiar with the set before tech officially begins?
  • Ask for ANYTHING you need! The answer will always be no - until you ask!

Access Rider? What is that?

An access rider is a document to start the conversation between you and the artistic team about your current access needs.  The ease of this document is it answers all of the everyday questions that you can almost guarantee will be asked. You can view both an online template (follow the link) or a text layout below.

You can view an online open template to help you build your access rider here 

How to use this document:

  1. Please write into the text boxes
  2. Text outside of these boxes can be used as a set template 
  3. Your own details can be inserted in the grey text 
  4. Alexandrina’s examples and suggestions are written in italics 
  5. Write into this document in 1st or 3rd person


OR here is an example of an access rider text layout

To support access requirements while working as an artist, (NAME of PRACTITIONER - That's you!) requires the following. Each request helps to enable NAME of PRACTITIONER to ensure they can contribute to their artistic projects safely and complete the work agreed. An access rider can include:

  • An introduction to you - whatever that means to you!  It can be:
    • A casual bio
    • A visual description of you
    • What model of Disability do you identify with?
    • What language do you use? Person first or identity first?
    • A brief description of your Disability
      • Make your intro as personal as you want to!  No pressure to disclose any unwanted information.  The part should be as approachable as possible.


  • Important Contact info & Working hours
    • Emergency contacts
    • A list of all the equipment you may use, including visual descriptions and serial numbers if possible
    • Where you get your equipment serviced 


  • Travel
    • IF LOCAL: how do you get to and from work? Paratransit, public transit, drive independently, I have an accessible vehicle, but need someone to drive it, taxis
      • This can vary depending on the event: rehearsals, tech, show days, opening nights, media calls, misc PR etc.
    • OUT OF TOWN CONTRACTS: How do you prefer to travel? Plane, train, road trip?
    • If traveling by air: 
      • Do you want the company to book your travel or do you prefer to book it yourself? 
      • Do you want the company to book your basic travel and you’ll confirm details with the Medical Desk?
      • Do you need to arrive ahead of your contract start day to get settled?
      • What’s your preferred airline?
      • What’s your preferred time of day to fly?
      • Do you have a medical file open with the airline?
      • What assistance do you need at the airport
      • Dimensions of your medical equipment
        • Pro tip: take recent pictures of your equipment - it’ll save you if your equipment is lost or damaged  
      • Do you need your equipment gate-checked?
      • Do you need an aisle chair?
      • Preferred transportation to get from the airport to your accommodations 


  • Accommodations 
    • Hotel? Sublet? Family/Friends?
    • How close does it need to be the venue?
    • DON’T be afraid to include ADA or Accessible Canada Act regulations for a hotel room 
    • Do you need a roll-in shower or tub?
    • Do you need a kitchenette?
    • Microwave? Fridge?


  • Rehearsal Spaces
    • Do you need a table/working area at a specific height?
    • Do you need specific seating? Eg: certain height, with or without arms
    • Lighting - soft lighting? No fluorescents?
    • Do you need access to water or food away from designated breaks?
    • Sound - max decibels? Do you need to wear noise cancelling headphones to avoid sensory overwhelm?
    • Do you need access to a separate quiet space?
    • Do you need access to your phone at all times to monitor meds? In case of emergency? For note taking?
    • If you have a service dog, where will their space be? In a corner? With a PSW? Will they join you on stage?
      • Introduce the creative team to the rules with your service dog.  When can they interact off duty? Who is allowed too give commands?
    • Rules around using and addressing your mobility aid:
      • Are you willing to use a prop mobility aid? Eg: period wheelchair
      • Are you ever willing to get out of your mobility aid
      • Who is allowed to touch your mobility aid?
      • Reiterate who your preferred vendor is


  • Support Workers
    • If you require staff (PSW’s, HCA’s Nurses, Interpreters, sighted guides, translators) include the following information:
      • Support worker/access worker/assistant day rate  - give the rate of pay
      • Support worker/access worker/assistant travel and accommodation
      • Project-specific equipment to make the work accessible while you are working on the project that you need to purchase
      • Remember - any support workers required during work hours should be covered by the company  


  • Contract Claus
    Don’t be afraid to hold the company accountable to learn and be open to shifting their access knowledge..  You can add these two clauses to your contract:
    • Wherever my name is listed on your website or any marketing material, the access information for the event/building should be listed, e.g. wheelchair access, sign language interpreters, quiet spaces, audio induction loops, guides in alternative formats and audio description
    • (Name of Venue or Partner Organisation) has read the Access Rider provided, and is committed to providing necessary measures to ensure that this engagement is accessible and suitable for you. (Name of Venue or Partner Organisation contact) will be your main point of contact throughout the engagement, leading on the arrangement of these measures.


Created by pallison. Last Modification: Saturday June 22, 2024 12:57:32 EDT by pallison.