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    Posted March 10, 2010

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The Cultural Access Network, New Jersey Theatre Alliance and Paper Mill Playhouse present

Building Bridges for employABILITY in the arts

A Statewide Forums for Performing Artists with Disabilities

(West Orange) The Cultural Access Network, the New Jersey Theatre Alliance and Paper Mill Playhouse are partnering on Building Bridges for EmployABILITY in the Arts forum for performing artists with disabilities and potential employers. The event is the being held at Paper Mill Playhouse on May 6th from 4 - 9pm. The event is free but registration is required.

This event will offer cultural employers and performing artists of all abilities the opportunity to network and participate in a series of sessions designed to provide them with tools and resources to heighten the awareness of each others needs. The day will include a panel discussion entitled: Strengthening the Relationship between Employers and Performing Artists with Disabilities; networking opportunities, including one-on-one discussions with experts in technology, casting, auditioning, finance and social security; and a performance showcase with highlights from artists with disabilities.

The event will also feature a keynote address from Daryl "Chill" Mitchell, actor and hip-hop artist. A recent NAACP Image Award Winner, Mitchell had considerable success as an actor, appearing in House Party and its sequel, Galaxy Quest, 10 Things I Hate about You, and the popular TV sitcoms The John Larroquette Show and Veronica's Closet. Then, in November of 2001, Mitchell was in a motorcycle accident and became paralyzed from the waist down. After the accident, he appeared on the TV program Ed between 2002 and 2004 as the manager of a bowling alley who was paralyzed after an accident not unlike Mitchell's own.

He later started the Daryl Mitchell Foundation to raise awareness of spinal cord injuries and serves as the Minority Outreach spokesperson for the Christopher Reeve Foundation.

"The New Jersey Theatre Alliance is so proud to partner with Paper Mill Playhouse on this forum," says Alliance Executive Director John McEwen. "Events like these are vitally important because they not only give a face, voice and platform to performing artists with disabilities, but they also bring an awareness to industry professionals and potential employers that these artists offer a wealth of talent and shared humanity that audiences of all abilities are hungry to see."

Paper Mill Playhouse's Executive Director Mark Jones adds: "Paper Mill Playhouse has long been a leader in making theatre accessible to audiences with disabilities, so it seems only natural to take the next step - crossing to the other side of the footlights - with this forum and showcase for performing arts groups and performers with disabilities."

Cultural employers and artists of all abilities will have an opportunity to network and participate in a series of sessions that will provide them the tools and resources to heighten the awareness of the artist abilities and the employers' needs. Event highlights include:

  • Strengthening the Relationship between Employer and Performing Artists with Disabilities ... a panel discussion
  • Networking Opportunities - one-on-one discussions with experts in technology, casting, auditioning, finance and social security
  • Performance Showcase - highlights from artists with disabilities
  • Reception - network with peers and meet artists. Light fare and drink will be provided.

Participants will include representatives from The Actors Fund, Amaryllis Theatre Company, Inclusion in the Arts, Heidi Latsky Dance Company, Paper Mill Playhouse, and Two River Theater Company.

The Forum is free, and takes place at Paper Mill Playhouse - 22 Brookside Drive, Millburn, NJ - on Thursday, May 6th from 4 - 9 pm. Advance registration is required; contact Robert Carr at the New Jersey Theatre Alliance: rcarr@njtheatrealliance.org; NJ Relay 771, or 973-731-6582 ext 15.

For more information, please visit www.culturalaccessnetwork.org.

Funding for the Building Bridges for employABILITY in the arts forum for performing artists with disabilities and employers is made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and The Kessler Foundation. The Cultural Access Network is a co-sponsored project of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and the New Jersey Theatre Alliance. Additional support provided by The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, The F.M. Kirby Foundation, and The Prudential Foundation. ##

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