Theatre for All

Theater For All

Radical Inclusion and Access

In 2017, Queens Theatre made an intentional effort to work with more artists from the Disability community and to learn from other cultural institutions who were offering more accessibility services to their patrons and audience members.

Honoring the spirit behind the slogan, “Nothing About Us Without Us;” an idea that no policy should be decided by any representative without the full and direct participation of members of the group affected by that policy, our first step was to create an advisory board.

This board is comprised of an integrated group of disabled and non-disabled individuals with backgrounds in theater, activism, academia and arts administration. As we listened and learned, QT committed to doing better and doing more to fully reach artists and audience members with disabilities from within Queens and throughout New York City. We call this initiative  Theatre For All.

The TFA Actor Training Program returned for its 6th year from November 6-17, 2023! Learn more about the 2023 program.

Watch this space for announcements for future TFA programs. 

Actors performing a scene during the TFA Training Program in 2019

There are many parts to the Theatre For All Initiative (TFA) because to practice radical inclusion and access it all has to happen all at the same time.

Queens Theatre asked itself two questions:

How could it offer programs to the disabled community, and then not offer the services they need to enjoy the programming in our spaces?     

Theatre for All Short Plays

This is where the TFA Short Plays come in. As an inaugural recipient of The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Disability Forward Fund. We used this support to present a festival of 10 short plays by disabled writers and/or featuring characters with disabilities. We put out a national call for submissions and received more than 150 responses in just four weeks!

The readings were presented in a sold out evening in November 2018. Three plays from that evening were reprised in our Cabaret space as part of a larger event to commemorate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on Dec. 3 of last year.

On May 4, 2019, seven additional plays were presented thanks to a grant from the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation.

The voices are there, the roles are there. This project has involved dozens of artists and the performances, of course, were accessible for audience members of all ages.

Actor Training

The second question addressed the issue of who would be performing these works. Considering the barriers to employment and advancement in the cultural sector for artists with disabilities, how could we offer more opportunities through the training of professional actors?

In September of 2018, a cohort of 20 professional actors from across the country participated in a two-week intensive training program for Deaf and Disabled early-career artists. Actors were selected through a national application process. TFA offered both daytime and evening sessions.

The two-week, free program included workshops on Acting for the Camera, Acting for the Stage, Movement, Voice, Improv, Auditioning, and Commercials. The program culminated with a showcase performance for an invited industry audience.

“Our goal with this program is to support skill building and to help actors cultivate relationships with their fellow students and with industry professionals,” QT’s Executive Director Taryn Sacramone said. "We are excited to spotlight these talented early-career actors and expand our own artistic family in the process."

Queens Theatre brought together an excellent team of instructors, including Vincent D'Onofrio (Netflix's "Daredevil," "Jurassic World," "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," "Full Metal Jacket"), Brigid Brady (Actor/Singer/Teacher, Broadway: The Phantom of the Opera, "Gossip Girl"), Christine Bruno (Actor/Teaching Artist/ Consultant, member The Actors Studio, "Law & Order"), Pat Shay (Improviser and faculty member, The PIT), Stephen DeAngelis (Producer/Casting Director) and Liz Eckert (Actor and Designated Linklater Voice Teacher).

“If I could go back in time to the start of my career, I would want to be part of Theatre For All,” QT’s Director of Inclusion Gregg Mozgala said. “Representation matters. Not only on the stage and screen, but in training environments like the one Queens Theatre has so painstakingly and passionately created.”

In September 2019, Queens Theatre presented a second round of the TFA Training Program. All workshops and events took place at Queens Theatre, located in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

During the Coronavirus Pandemic, the TFA Training Program shifted online. The third workshop took place in November 2020, and the fourth workshop followed in June and July of 2021. In August of 2021, Theatre for All Children was introduced, offering theatre training to students under 13 with disabilities over the course of a two week online workshop.

The program is offered as part of Queens Theatre's Theatre For All Initiative to advance the inclusion of people with disabilities in the performing arts, with support from New York Community Trust.

"There is no other program like it in the country,” Mozgala said.  “Queens Theatre understands that truly inclusive theater is about reflecting the experience of all of us."

Actor seated in front of a panel of three instructors

Theatre for All News

Vincent D'Onofrio teaches a class in front of students

Queens Theatre Launches Disability Pride Month Campaign to Support Theatre for All Acting Program

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May 28 @ 1:21 pm

Stage & Screen Star Vincent D’Onofrio Will Match First $15,000 Raised Donate to support the campaign here! (Queens, New York)—Queens Theatre today announced a new summer campaign in conjunction with Disability Pride Month, to support its Theatre for All professional actor training program, which has been breaking barriers by training early career professionals who identify as Deaf and Disabled to succeed in the performing arts. Stage and screen star Vincent…

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Cast members perform in La Jolla Playhouse POP Tour! production of Emily Driver's Great Race Through Time & Space.

Queens Theatre and Museum Arts Culture Access Consortium will present EMILY DRIVER’S GREAT RACE THROUGH TIME AND SPACE! reading July 29 to benefit Theatre For All

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May 28 @ 1:21 pm

(Photo by Jamie Scott Lytle. The 504 Sit-In Protest scene from the La Jolla Playhouse POP Tour! production of Emily Driver’s Great Race Through Time and Space!) Queens, NY – Queens Theatre (QT) and The Museum, Arts & Culture Access Consortium (MAC) announced today that A.A. Brenner and Gregg Mozgala’s EMILY DRIVER’S GREAT RACE THROUGH TIME AND SPACE! will receive a virtual play reading on July 29 at 2:00 PM…

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The cast of Once Upon a Mattress from the Lexington School for the Deaf performing the show at Queens Theatre

Deaf, hearing students team up for musical production

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May 28 @ 1:21 pm

More than 40 hearing and Deaf young actors brought their two worlds together on the Queens Theatre’s Mainstage with their recent performances of Once Upon a Mattress. The cast included students from the Lexington School for the Deaf and the Repertory Company High School for Theatre Arts doubling up on roles in the light-hearted musical comedy based on “The Princess and the Pea.” Although there may have been two performers for…

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Mhari Sandoval and Carey Cox in a scene from Barefoot in the Park

Theatre For All alumnae takes the lead in Barefoot in the Park

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May 28 @ 1:21 pm

Carey Cox, currently starring in Queens Theatre’s production of Barefoot in the Park, is not shy when it comes to expressing her feelings about Queens Theatre’s Theatre For All training program. “It was literally life-changing,” Carey said. “I didn’t know there was a community of disabled actors.” Carey had a Broadway credit on her resume (she understudied the part of Laura in the 2017 revival of The Glass Menagerie starring Sally Field), when she…

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Christine Bruno leads a break-out session

First of its kind National Disability in Theatre Convening takes place at Queens Theatre

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May 28 @ 1:21 pm

On Sept. 24 & 25, Queens Theatre was honored to host the first-of-its kind in the country, National Disability in Theatre Convening.  Theater company administrators, non-profit funders, teachers, performers and playwrights came to Flushing Meadows Corona Park for two days of workshops, panel discussions and a Town Hall meeting centered around disability inclusion in the theater.  Some of those participating included Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The CRY HAVOC Company, Dance/NYC, New…

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