Inside Out Integrated Theatre Project
Our Story Why We Exist
As a young man Mike found himself in an impossible position. It wasn’t his cerebral palsy making his life so hard, it was the terrible abusive relationship he’d found himself in with a High School friend. Isolated and afraid, every day life was scary. Mike escaped, but the isolation followed him. After a dark year shuttered away from the rest of the city Mike discovered a community waiting to embrace him. It was a new found passion for performing that finally brought Mike out of his darkness, and joining Inside Out gave him entry into Calgary’s rich, accepting, and entertaining theatre community.
This was decades ago, and Mike is now a fixture at Inside Out and one of Calgary’s most dedicated theatre fans. The chance to act, to play on stage gave Mike the confidence and support to live life fully.
Not everyone of our participants brings with them the trauma that Mike does, but every participant is looking for a place to belong, and Inside Out is here to be that place for them.
Our Impact What We Do
Theatre for Every Body
Inside Out Theatre is Calgary’s Mixed Ability Theatre Company. We’re here to give Calgarians with Disabilities the opportunity to take part in the cultural life of Calgary.
We offer theatre classes to adults with disabilities that foster a love of theatre, the joy of community, and the rewards of self-confidence.
We also create original theatre productions that put artists with disabilities in the spotlight and celebrate their valuable place at the cultural table. Our productions are created by and star adults with disabilities alongside some of Calgary’s finest professionals.
Theatre for the Soul
We are so proud that our productions have gained the respect and regard of Calgary audiences. In the 2014/15 season we created two original productions that featured the real stories of our performers. Our production of Fully Functional explored the wild and worried love lives of people with disabilities and was included on The Calgary Herald's list of Best Moments of the 2014 Performing Arts Scene.
Our production titled Mike Karen, Karen Mike had one of our long time members telling his story in the most moving and candid of ways. A review by the Joyful Magpie website describes the show as theatre for the soul, and goes on to say:
"As Keir’s story grows larger in its scope, so too does the connection between audience and storyteller. We become involved in this story that is, at times, difficult, but nonetheless engrossing. Keir captures our attention with his frankness, along with his sense of humour. And that humour is a reflection of Keir’s belief that telling a story enough times weakens it. In other words, telling these stories is Keir’s way of overcoming the experiences that have had far-reaching effects on his life.
And so, we remember that the stage can mean many different things to many different people. Here, Keir’s stage is one of healing, transformation – moving on. Mike, Karen, Karen, Mike: A Soap Opera is theatre for the soul."
Our Programs How We Do It
Our theatre education programs range from introductory drama classes to music and voice groups to our Point of View Ensemble, our advanced play creation group. Inside Out has been offering drama classes to adults with disabilities for over 30 years and our facilitators are specially trained at delivering classes that meet the specific needs of the disability community. Our classes are wildly popular and currently run at full capacity. We like to say our intro-drama class, A Second Look, is the happiest Monday morning you’ll ever see. Every Monday 30 community members come together with their support workers and Inside Out staff to play and create together.
Our productions put adults with disabilities in the spotlight. Over the last couple of years we have devised world premieres that explore the love lives of adults with disabilities, created a staged memoir of one of our long time members, and a mystery-farce revolving around a contested will, secret diamonds, and pizza (lots of pizza).
We’re committed to investing in the development of artists with disabilities. In addition to the more than a hundred artists we work with annually through our classes and productions we're proud to announce our inaugural Playwright-in-Residence where we will develop and premiere a new play written by a writer with a disability. Our first ever Playwright-in-Residence Elain is busily working on an adaptation of Beauty and the Beast. Her play sees a disabled woman claim the term Beast for herself and explores what it's like to fall in love with someone while knowing that because of how you look it would take a miracle for them to return your love. We will develop The Beautiful Beast over the coming year and will produce the world premiere in 2017.
Our Requests What You Can Do
Inside Out Theatre faces one of the best challenges a charity can have; the demand for our programming is overwhelming our capacity. Inside Out is the only charity offering theatre classes designed specifically for adults with disabilities in Calgary and every year our programs fill to the brim untill we unfortunately have to turn people away.
- We need your support to expand our programming capacity and deepen our impact.
Donations of any size are greatly appreciated. New donations will go towards the launch of new programs that will give more opportunities to Calgarians. Donors can direct funds to specific programs.
- Donors also receive the opportunity to visit classes to see their support in action.
Inside Out Theatre also welcomes volunteers interested in joining our Board of Directors. Our Board is comprised of passionate and committed volunteers that help guide Inside Out as we continue to grow and expand. If interested in the Inside Out Board please e-mail Artistic Director Col Cseke. Col can be reached at email@example.com.