National Access Arts Assembly

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National Access Arts Assembly

Part One: The Good Host Calgary Assembly

Inside Out Theatre, British Council and Tangled Art + Disability, with the support of Canada Council of the Arts, have joined forces to improve accessibility in the arts countrywide. By inviting artists, producers, advocates and audience members to join the conversation in our spaces, we hope to imagine possible cooperative futures for accessible performances in Canada.

For more information or to apply to attend, visit

In order to do this, we’re hosting two, three-day accessibility-based assemblies. Inside Out Theatre will host the first assembly in August 2019 in Calgary, and British Council and Tangled Art + Disability will host the second assembly in Toronto in October 2019. Our mission with these assemblies are to celebrate the great work that is already taking place with accessible performances, but to also determine how we can improve further within every community. With the first assembly focusing on coordination and organizing accessible performances, the second will cover the practice and training necessary to best host an accessible performance.

About Us

Inside Out Theatre & the Good Host Program

In 2016, Inside Out launched The Good Host program to serve the Calgary arts community as a centralized facilitator and coordinator of accessible practices. These practices include ASL/English interpretation, audio description, relaxed performances, and play going clubs. This past season we had the privilege of hosting 50+ performances with 15 partners here in Calgary. This year we have also had many exciting conversations with colleagues across the country about potential collaborations, including the possibility of introducing a version of The Good Host to other arts communities.

Considering Inside Out Theatre’s work in Calgary with the Good Host program and British Council/Tangled Art + Disability’s Access Activator program, we hope to share what we’ve learned and in turn, learn from one another!

We want to bring these various conversation threads together by welcoming our current and future friends to our home base in Calgary.

British Council, Tangled Art + Disability and the Access Activators

In 2016, the British Council in partnership with Tangled Art+Disability and with the support of Canada Council for the Arts invited artists and cultural organizers invested in advocating for accessible arts to be trained by UK’s Include Arts. Now certified trainers, the team of Access Activators brought their knowledge and energy to support organizations across Canada to integrate Relaxed Performance into their programming. Since 2015, approximately 200 people in Canada have been trained with this Relaxed Performance training model.

What We’re Planning

The Good Host National Assembly as part of the National Access Arts Assembly will be held Wednesday, August 21, Thursday, 22, and Friday, 23, 2019 at Inside Out Theatre.

We are purposefully keeping the gathering small, with no more than 40 participants, to ensure there is space and time for everyone to actively participate.

While the detailed program is still being developed, the program, in general, will include whole group and breakout sessions geared towards:

  • Examining the Good Host program initiative in regards to coordination and development.
  • Building a shared understanding and appreciation for accessibility work currently happening in Canada.
  • Recognizing current, common gaps and needs in our sector.
  • Prioritizing Deaf and disabled leadership in accessibility programs, and cementing the connection between accessibility efforts and the wider Deaf, disability, and MAD arts sector.
  • Discipline-specific (i.e. relaxed performances) and regional specific breakout groups.

Plus, we want everyone to have the chance to enjoy Calgary in the summer with:

  • A welcoming picnic.
  • An evening cocktail hour.
  • Daily field reports from local Rapontuers.
  • Reciprocity rings.
  • A closing Inside Out house party with members of the Calgary theatre community.

… and more


ASL Interpreters and audio describers will be present for the gathering. Inside Out is wheelchair accessible, and we will have a designated chill room for anyone who needs a break.

Prior to the gathering, all attendees will be asked to fill out a survey that provides an opportunity to share any requests or considerations you’d like us to have.

Travel and Accommodation

Here in Calgary, we offer the Good Host as a pay-what-you-can program for our partners, recognizing that everyone (and every organization) is coming from a unique place and that often those folks most vital to these conversations have the least financial flexibility.

Keeping in that spirit, we’re providing travel and accommodation subsidies for everyone, complimentary meals over the three days, and no registration or participation fee.

If however, you or your organization has the budget for such costs and are able to cover travel and accommodation, this is gratefully accepted. Likewise, if your organization would like to contribute to the cost of the Assembly in any way, please let me know, as that’s a conversation I’m more than happy to have.

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