In June 2023, Allmänna arvsfonden (Swedish Inheritance Fund) decided to approve Moomsteatern’s application for the project Viaductus, conducted in collaboration with ShareMusic & Performing Arts and Skånes Dansteater. The project spans three years and commences in October 2023.
Inclusive performing arts with artists with disabilities is about highlighting non-normative bodies and innovative expressions. It involves inclusive processes, both practical and artistic. Providing space for performers with disabilities in the professional performing arts world not only strengthens individual rights but also creates ripples throughout society. Actors, dancers, and performing arts musicians become role models for other individuals with disabilities. Performing arts should reflect society, and for that to happen, individuals with disabilities must be an integral part of that reflection.
There is a gap between performing artists with disabilities and the performing arts sector. The professional performing arts scene is not designed for artists with disabilities. Occasionally, individual projects are undertaken, but they seldom result in lasting changes. Performing artists with disabilities often remain in closed circles, at best practicing their craft as a leisure activity. Extremely few pathways into the professional world are offered. The participating parties in this project have long worked to break this structure. We know it’s possible, and we want the rest of the performing arts community to learn how.
The Viaductus project aims to fill the gap. We want to build a viaduct between performing arts activities and individuals with disabilities. We want to show a new generation of performing artists with disabilities pathways into the professional performing arts. We want to demonstrate to the professional performing arts the significant artistic benefits of inclusive work. The goal will be achieved by creating a model for the new recruitment of performing artists with disabilities, exploring methods for what inclusive artistic processes may look like, and generating materials to overcome employers’ fears and unawareness. We will provide guidance for performing artists with disabilities by shaping the project’s content based on the experiences of performing artists with disabilities who have made the journey from amateur to professional.
The project’s three main partners are active in Skåne, and the region holds a unique national position regarding the professional practice of performing artists with disabilities. Moomsteatern has been creating inclusive performing arts for over thirty years and has been an independent professional theater since 2008, employing actors with intellectual disabilities on a permanent basis. They create inclusive processes with actors both with and without disabilities. ShareMusic & Performing Arts is a national knowledge center for artistic development and inclusion, supporting and equipping performing artists with disabilities since 2003 for sustained inclusive work across the entire performing arts field. Skånes Dansteater is Sweden’s largest independent dance institution and initiated the process of including dancers with disabilities in its ensemble as early as 2014. Their experience, of making a normative performing arts institution accessible to artists with physical disabilities, will be very valuable through out the project.