Disabilities & Mental Illnesses

A Christmas Carol – Keyano Theatre Company
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This guide will assist you in finding plays tackling issues related to physical or mental disabilities. If you need more help, our librarians welcome any questions you may have regarding your search.

Our Online Catalogue

A great way to start your search is by accessing our online catalogue. To locate plays tackling issues related to disabilities, try these suggested keywords:

Suggested Keywords:

  • Alzheimer’s (disease)*
  • Autism*
  • blindness*
  • brain injury*
  • deaf
  • dementia*
  • depression*
  • Down Syndrome*
  • eating disorders*
  • handicap
  • handicapped
  • hearing impaired*
  • mental health*
  • mental illness*
  • people with a disability*
  • syndrome

Your keyword search results will be extensive and inclusive and you may find some items in this type of search not directly related to your topic. For example, any title with your specified search word(s) in the description will appear among the search results.

*For a more specific search results list, you can use the above starred keywords in a Subject search, or try an Advanced search with multiple search terms.

Recommended Titles

21: Growing up Down by Michele Makrouhi Miller

Jane is a young woman with Down syndrome who dreams of a career on the stage. She lives with her devoted mother, Elaine, who thinks Jane’s goals are unrealistic. New to town is Bob, the newly widowed, alcoholic father of Max, who is also a young man with Down syndrome. Jane meets Max at the musical theatre class she attends weekly, along with eight other Down syndrome students. A romance develops, not without its many obstacles. Without her mother’s knowledge, Jane gets cast in a local musical revue and is confronted with the real world her mother tried to shield her from. With twists and turns, challenges and triumphs, Jane, and everyone around her, experiences the growth that naturally occurs when one moves out of their comfort zone and reaches for their dream. The result is stunning and surprising.


Jim Forgetting by Col Cseke

“Jim Forgetting” is an unflinching portrait of a year in the life of Jim and Donna, a middle-aged couple struggling with Jim’s early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. While watching her husband slowly disappear, Donna’s patience and love is pushed to heartbreaking limits. She is left to ask: When love is composed of moments remembered and dreams shared, what happens to a marriage when memories fade and futures disappear? “Jim Forgetting” is an unforgettable story of one woman’s decision.


Dancing Lessons by Mark St. Germain

DANCING LESSONS centers on Ever, a young man with Asperger’s syndrome, who seeks the instruction of a Broadway dancer to learn enough dancing to survive an awards dinner. The dancer, Senga, however, is recovering from an injury that may stop her dancing career permanently. As their relationship unfolds, they’re both caught off-guard by the discoveries—both hilarious and heartwarming—that they make about each other and about themselves.


The Father by Florian Zeller

A wonderfully peculiar, quietly stunning depiction of dementia… A controlled, unforgettable portrait of losing your memory.

Nominated – 2016 Tony Award for Best Play


The Gravitational Pull of Bernice Trimble by Beth Graham

Iris Trimble is trying to hold it all together. She may very well fly off the face of the earth if she doesn’t hang on to the kitchen counter. At least that’s how she feels after her mother, Bernice, a lively, recently widowed fifty-five-year-old breaks the news that she has early onset Alzheimer’s. In an effort to cope with the stress, Iris makes her mother’s famous Everything-That-Is-Bad-For-You casserole, a childhood favourite. Her siblings, on the other hand, are on opposite sides of the spectrum: Sara, the eldest, irately calls for a second opinion, while Peter, the youngest, seems completely unfazed. As for Bernice, she’s still as vivacious as ever, always up for a good laugh, and, most of all, ready to finally put herself first. The Gravitational Pull of Bernice Trimble is about the tricky nature of family dynamics and the effects of mental illness seen through the eyes of a young woman who’s searching for her own feelings amidst the whirlwind emotions of her family.


Tom and Viv by Michael Hastings

The play is based on the real life of T. S. Eliot and his wife Vivienne Haigh-Wood Eliot.The play begins with the beginning of the courtship between T.S. Eliot and Vivienne Haigh-Wood in 1914 and ends with their separation in 1933 and Vivienne’s gradual mental health decline until her death in 1947. The play also follows the early career of T.S. Eliot, the death of Vivienne’s father, and how her mother Rose dealt with her daughter’s failing marriage and mental health.


Cost of Living by Martyna Majok

Cost of Living deftly challenges the typical perceptions of those living with disabilities and delves deep into the ways class, race, nationality, and wealth can create gulfs between people, even as they long for the ability to connect. Eddie, an unemployed truck driver, and his estranged ex-wife, Ani, find themselves unexpectedly reunited after a terrible accident leaves her quadriplegic. John, a brilliant PhD student with cerebral palsy, hires Jess, a first-generation recent graduate who has fallen on desperate times, as his new aide.

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Photo of seven children's titles from library

Children’s Literature on Stage

Adaptations of: Stuart Little; Wind in the Willows; Getting Near to Baby; Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry; Charlotte’s Web; Hanna’s Suitcase; Treasure Island; The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe; The Neverending Story; The Velveteen Rabbit; The Bridge to Terabithia; Little Women; Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing; The Cay; and the Adventures of Robin Hood are all available at the Theatre Alberta Library.