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Press Release: Barrier-Free Theater

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Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2010

DRAMA THERAPIST'S NEW BOOK PROMOTES BARRIER-FREE THEATER

MANHATTAN -- Sally Bailey, associate professor and director of the drama therapy program at Kansas State University, recently had her third book, "Barrier-Free Theatre," published by Idyll Arbor. In the book Bailey shares her ideas, tips and anecdotes about making theater accessible to children and adults with disabilities. "If you do theater, but know nothing about disabilities, you'll learn about them," Bailey said. "If you know about disabilities, but not about how to facilitate drama, you'll learn about that. I wanted to give all the building blocks so that people can take what they need. If you have no building blocks, with this book you have a whole kit."

Bailey was first exposed to drama therapy and learned about accommodating people with disabilities when she worked for various arts programs in Washington, D.C. After becoming a registered drama therapist, she used her skills while working with recovering drug addicts at the rehabilitation facility Second Genesis, and with people with disabilities at Imagination Stage, a nonprofit arts center. She moved to Manhattan to head up K-State's drama therapy master's program in 1999. She also is the director of the Manhattan Parks and Recreation's barrier-free theater. "By chance, one of the families whose children I had worked with in the D.C. area had moved to Manhattan and had talked the parks and rec department into creating a barrier-free program," Bailey said. "They believed it was so important that every town should have one."

Bailey's new book is nearly a decade in the making. She said publishers could not understand who the audience was, but she knows that since 20 percent of people have some kind of disability, the audience is definitely there. "Drama can really level the playing field and allow many different people to work together," Bailey said. "In the theater all people can express themselves and be creative as equals. Drama can be a part of more people's lives if directors and teachers know how to include everyone."


 

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