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Edmonton Performing Arts Accessibility Ad Hoc Group

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*PLEASE NOTE: This page is hosted and maintained by Theatre Alberta on behalf of the YEG Performing Arts Accessibility Ad Hoc Group. We are a proud member of the consortium but cannot answer all questions about the group and their work. For further information about the YEG Performing Arts Accessibility Ad Hoc Group please email

The Edmonton performing arts community believes that the arts are for everyone. In 2019, a group of performing arts companies came together to tackle the question of how to make their performances accessible to as many people as possible (see below for more information). To do that, we need to find out what kinds of accessibility are the most useful to people in Edmonton.

Research – Phase 2

Update: November 4, 2020

The YEG Performing Arts Accessibility Ad Hoc Group has partnered with a student researcher, April Killins, to understand how artists access our community, and how our training institutions can best support harm-reduction and equity in the arts.

Edmonton Theatre Artists were invited to share their perspectives on fair access and inclusion in Edmonton’s theatre community in October 2020.

The survey was open to anyone who has participated in theatre training in Edmonton (including high school, community, and/or post-secondary performance training). We encouraged participation from artists who sometimes face barriers to inclusion. We thank everyone who took the time to share their perspectives.

The report Co-Creating Inclusive Pathways to Professional Theatre, is available here: VIEW REPORT.

Please email if you have any questions about this research:

The YEG Performing Arts Accessibility Ad Hoc Group hosted a meeting on January 14, 2021 to hear the results of this research. Several member groups responded by submitting an outline of initiatives they are hosting to address equity, diversity and inclusion. This document, Community Response, is available here: VIEW COMMUNITY RESPONSE.

Research – Phase 1

Update: July 21, 2020

Performing arts companies engaged two researchers, Brooke Leifso and Kelsie Acton. In Fall 2019, they developed surveys and conducted focus groups to ask about many of the common barriers to engaging with the performing arts. The surveys also asked about common ways to remove some of those barriers. They worked with a committee (Heath Birkholtz, Simone Medina Polo and Connor Yuzwenko-Martin), and hosted a series of focus groups to find more in-depth stories of barriers to performing arts. A final report was created in Spring 2020 and is now available below.



ASL Video: Report Summary (Video by Ebony Gooden)


Audio Recording: Plain Language

Audio Recording: Audio Description

Audio Recording: Equity of Experience

Audio Recording: Priority Recommendations


A consortium of Edmonton performing arts producing organizations is interested in offering more accessible live performances for community members who face barriers (physical, neurological, language, and economic) to attend as audience members, and more accessible working environments and programs for artists with similar barriers. These initiatives may include, but are not limited to, ASL Interpreted/ Integrated productions or workshops, Open Captioning, Audio Description, Light/Projection/Vibration design, Tactile Tours, Relaxed Performances, comprehensive staff training, modified communication tools, and capital projects that would increase accessibility infrastructure within traditional and new producing models.

A number of these organizations have incorporated various elements of accessibility in the past (for patrons and artists who are d/Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Low Vision, Blind, Neurodiverse, or living with disability), but it has been done piecemeal and without any consistency. Our organizations want to do more to incorporate accessibility as part of our regular seasons and routines. We are seeking proactive approaches – for this work not to be special “one-offs” for each of us, but for accessibility and equity to become part of the fabric of the Edmonton performing arts community.

Over the past two seasons, these organizations have met on an ad hoc basis to determine the needs and costs surrounding these shared challenges. We have agreed that the first step is to find out what historically marginalized and/or excluded individuals and communities desire and need, recognizing that it is not our role to dictate or prioritize activities.

We undertook a period of research between September 2019 and March 2020 with Accessibility Consultation Facilitators Brooke Leifso and Kelsie Acton. The Consortium gratefully acknowledges the support of the Edmonton Community Foundation and the Edmonton Arts Council.


The following groups and individuals have committed to work on this project together. They have agreed to provide access to their own information/data to undertake this work. It is acknowledged that all organizations below having varying levels of flexibility within their budgets and staff infrastructure to support research, but will contribute time, energy, and resources whenever possible. It is agreed that for the purpose of this work and application, Citadel Theatre will be managing the finances and contracts on behalf of the group. The organizations are Alberta Musical Theatre Company, Alberta Ballet, Alberta Dance Alliance, Azimuth Theatre, Ballet Edmonton, Catalyst Theatre, Common Ground Arts Society, Citadel Theatre, Concrete Theatre, Dreamspeakers, Edmonton Opera, Firefly Theatre and Circus Society, Fruit Loop, Found Festival, Fringe Theatre, GeriActors Theatre Ltd., Good Women Dance Collective, Grindstone Theatre, Kompany Theatre Artists Society, Mile Zero Dance, Nextfest, Punctuate! Theatre, Rapid Fire Theatre, Rising Sun Theatre, SkirtsAfire, SOUND OFF: A Deaf Theatre Festival, Theatre Alberta, Theatre Network, Theatre Prospero, Theatre Yes, Ukrainian Shumka Dancers, Varscona Theatre, Walterdale Theatre, Workshop West Playwrights Theatre, Winspear Centre for Music & Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, and Work Plays Schools Program.

It is the desire of the group and the funders that we have a true representation of the Edmonton performing arts community and include producers of all types of performing arts. Please contact for more information if your producing organization would like to join.


Please contact for more information or if you have any questions.

Research project funded by the Edmonton Community Foundation and Edmonton Arts Council

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