Kath Duncan



Theatre Producer / Performer, Co-Founder of Quippings. Carlton, VIC

I’m very interested in the PIAF Connect residency with Graeae’s Jenny Sealey! I’ve been admiring her and the theatre company’s works for years. Especially the ways they make Art of Access.

I identify as a disabled artist/producer. I was born a double transverse amputee, and have acquired a few invisible impairments along the way.

Access is very important to me, for all artists and people everywhere. I would love to explore Jenny Sealey’s creative uses of access methods like BSL (Auslan for us Australians) interpreting, and audio description. I’m also interested in tips on live captioning, lighting, staging and design, accessible website design, inclusive use of multimedia, relaxed audience strategies and the like.

I’m a theatre producer and performer living in Melbourne, originally a radio and television journalist/feature producer from Sydney and northern NSW. I’ve worked as a media lecturer, live broadcaster, public media activist and producer, publicist and writer. In Melbourne in 2010 I co-founded the unique disabled-led queer Deaf and disabled performer troupe called Quippings. Quippings was born because we saw there was a huge cultural gap in in the intense Melbourne cultural mix – us! Deaf and disabled QUILTBAG (Queer Undecided Intersex Lesbian Transgender Bisexual Asexual Gay) artists.

For me personally I had to produce to perform. I started performance workshops at the age of six, and have relished them all my life. I found and still find however that there are no virtually no mainstream or alternative performance opportunities available for me, so I produce them myself. A not uncommon experience as a disabled artist.

We planned Quippings to be an accessible show from the beginning but had limited funds, so we prioritized with Auslan interpreters, and we experimented in captioning and relaxed audiences; and ways to attract and engage deaf and hard of hearing artists and audiences.

I know access effects positive change – we’ve attracted more funding and more performers and audiences; Quippings performers have gone on to work with other companies; and we and our audiences inspired our home venue, Hares and Hyenas http://wordisout.com.au/ to fundraise for, build and decorate the best accessible toilet ever!

Quippings has branched out into other venues and we have produced more than 20 shows, engaged with 50 performers, Auslan interpreters, diverse and mixed abilities crews and over 1000 audience members. And now we have just successfully been awarded a Creative Victoria grant for 3 fully accessible writing workshops and show cycles for 2017.

We budgeted for Access so we can really explore access and inclusion potentials, in ways pioneered by Graeae Theatre and Jenny Sealey. I so want to know more about UK practice because frankly the UK is WAY ahead of us in diversity arts in general, as well as disability arts and accessible technologies and strategies. I have been a guest artist at UK diversity arts festivals (see cv) and so I have glimpsed some possibilities for new directions Australian arts can go… I am dying to be exposed to skilled and bigger perspectives.

This year I will be producing intensively with Deaf and disabled artists and crew writing, rehearsing and performing cycles and if I am selected for this residency, I know that I can share Jenny Sealey’s and Graeae’s very latest creative inclusive wisdoms with Quippings artists and audiences. The very words Aesthetics of Access give me thrills. I must see where these ideas take me and us.

I love workshops and am a regular and enthusiastic participant (see cv). I have read Sarah Kane’s final play 4:48 Psychosis and watched a few performance segments on Youtube. It is haunting and wild and touching and evocative and so so malleable! I can see 4:48 Psychosis has such incredible creative potential and I want to work on a response with a group of creatives. I just think this would be the best thing EVER.

Inclusive, disablity and diversity arts are my passions and I would really appreciate further guidance and inspiration in my practice. Jenny Sealey is in fact a Goddess in these fields and everybody knows it. This residency would mean so so much to me.