Visible Impact and DiverseABILITY Forum Addresses Diverse Perspectives from the d/Deaf and disabled communities

Collaborative show with blended Georgetown/Gallaudet cast runs Oct. 20-29, 2011 and related forum events Oct. 21-23 include a conversation with Tony Award-winning Georgetown alumnus Jack Hofsiss, an American Sign Language Shakespeare student workshop, performances featuring Open Circle Theatre Cabaret and Wild Zappers, panel discussions with leading experts, and more

Washington, D.C. — The Georgetown University Theater & Performance Studies Program presents Visible Impact, an ensemble-created production that weaves monologue and memoir, scene-work and Shakespeare, poetry and movement, to explore and enact diverse experiences and perspectives from the d/Deaf and disabled communities. Running October 20-29 the ticketed Visible Impact production (showtimes and prices below) is the centerpiece of the DiverseABILITY Forum (Oct 21-23), a weekend that includes workshops and discussions with award-winning guest artists, international and national policymakers, leading educators in deaf and disability studies, and groundbreaking access-advocates (free events, with some free, but ticketed). The DiverseABILITY Forum, offered during National Disability Employment Awareness Month, is made possible by Georgetown’s Reflective Engagement in the Public Interest Initiative. All events will be sign-interpreted or sign-integrated, and will be held at the Davis Performing Arts Center’s Devine Studio Theatre, located on Georgetown University’s main campus.

Conceived and Directed by Professor Susan Lynskey and created in collaboration with Suzanne Richard, Willy Conley, Fr. Rick Curry S.J., and the Ensemble, Visible Impact is a revealing and often autobiographical piece. Created on the premise that disability, deafness, and diversity enrich the artistic experience and advance aesthetic innovation, the work celebrates difference, inclusion, and the evolving capacity of all people. The cast is comprised of students from Georgetown University and Gallaudet University.
Professor Susan Lynskey says, “No one wants to be marginalized or stigmatized. In probing the complex intersections of biology, culture, language and identity, we are seeking to forge a world with a deeper appreciation and understanding of uniqueness and diverseABILITY — one that views difference not as “can’t” but as an extraordinary gift to the human experience.”

Davis Performing Arts Center Artistic Director Professor Derek Goldman says, “We could not be more proud to be the home of this extraordinary collaborative project. It has been transformative to witness how the creation of this moving original, devised work, under the leadership of Professor Susan Lynskey, is forging community and making visible the beauty and complexity of our differences. We are honored to be partnering with leading artists, activists, and experts from the DC area and beyond on this important production, and on the range of special events that make up the accompanying DiverseABILITY Forum.”

Visible Impact is the first show in the Georgetown University Theater & Performance Studies Program’s 2011-12 Nature’s Mirror: A Season of Evil and Noble Acts at the Davis Performing Arts Center, which also includes mainstage productions of A Child Shall Lead Them: Making “The Night of the Hunter,” a co-production with the University of Maryland School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies; and Macbeth, a co-production with Mask and Bauble Dramatic Society.

For tickets to the Visible Impact and select Forum events, or for more information, visit or call (202) 687-ARTS (2787) Monday through Friday, 12 p.m.-3 p.m. Georgetown University’s main campus is located at 3700 O St. NW, in Washington, D.C.

See listings below for a full schedule of Visible Impact showtimes and DiverseABILITY Forum events:

Visible Impact
Thursday, October 20 at 8 p.m.
Saturday, October 22 at 8 p.m.
Sunday, October 23 at 2 p.m.
Wednesday-Saturday, October 26-29 at 8 p.m.


Visible Impact
Conceived and Directed by Professor Susan Lynskey
Created in collaboration with
Suzanne Richard, Willy Conley, Fr. Rick Curry S.J., and the Ensemble




This production will be sign-integrated
Talkback with the cast following Oct. 20 and 22 performances

DiverseABILITY Forum

All Forum events take place in the Davis Performing Arts Center, Devine Studio Theatre.


3:30 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.
Disability Rights – Disability Law: Moving from a Medical/Charitable Model to a Human Rights Model

David Morrissey, Executive Director, United States International Council on Disabilities
Suzanne Richard, Outreach Coordinator, United States International Council on Disabilities
Esme Grant, Disability Rights Educator, United States International Council on Disabilities
Dr. Toby Long, Associate Professor of Pediatrics and the Training Director at the Center for Child and Human Development
Moderated by Michael W. Smith, Director of the Affirmative Action Programs,
Georgetown University Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity and Affirmative Action

The recent World Report on Disability, produced by the World Health Organization and the World Bank, found that over one billion people, or 15% of the world population, have disabilities. This makes it the largest minority group worldwide. Learn about the Americans with Disabilities Act and other domestic laws (currently in the Senate) as well as the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the worldwide movement to recognize the right to full and equal participation of persons with disabilities.
This event will be sign-interpreted.

7:30-9:30 p.m.
Talent Wills Out!
By Fr. Rick Curry, SJ
Gallaudet University Theatre Arts Department

The Deaf Chef
Written and Directed by Professor Willy Conley

Open Circle Theatre Cabaret
Is There Anybody Out There?
Directed by Suzanne Richard
Music Directed and accompanied by Stuart Weich

Wild Zappers with special guest National Deaf Dance Theatre
Directed by Fred Beam

Father Rick Curry, SJ, is the founder and artistic director of the National Theatre Workshop of the Handicapped (NTWH) and its Writers Program for Wounded Warriors, and launched the Academy for Veterans at Georgetown University for those returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. He will discuss his current work with veterans with disabilities in light of the 37-year history of the NTWH.

The Deaf Chef is a short, nonverbal, gesture comedy of an international cooking competition where love is discovered under a most unusual circumstance. Starring Gallaudet students: James McGowan, Kyleigh Herrera, Marissa Pascual, Changer Gonzalez, Amelia Hensley, Emily Stemper, Victoria LeBlanc, and Theresa Marie Glaser.

Open Circle Theatre Cabaret is Washington DC’s first professional theatre dedicated to producing productions that integrate the considerable talents of artists with disabilities. OCT was formed by a group of people with and without disabilities, who possess the love of the theater and a commitment to full access for all persons. (In sign and song, actors from past OCT productions consider the ‘art of communication’ in classic cabaret style.) Starring: Tosia Shall, Scott Sedar, JP, Rob McQuay, Tiffany Garfinkle and more.

With a powerful combination of American Sign Language, music, and dance, the Prince George’s County, MD-based Wild Zappers promote cultural and educational awareness through entertainment within the Deaf and Hearing Community.

Meet and talk with the artists after the performance.
This event will be sign-interpreted.


2:00 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.
The “OR”bit
A solo performance by Monique Holt
The “OR”bit juxtaposes a one-woman-show, stand-up comedy, and a game show. The performance allows you to get to know Monique, and her “voice-box” as she explores her Korean-American Deaf identity. Be ready for the unexpected!
This event will be sign-interpreted.

3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Accessing Difference in the Classroom
Professor Willy Conley, Theater Department, Gallaudet University
Professor Nolana Yip, Georgetown University
Moderated by Professor Susan Lynskey, Georgetown University Theater & Performance Studies Program
Join several distinguished faculty from Georgetown University and Gallaudet University as they lead a conversation on integrating disability studies, different learning strategies and arts into the curriculum.
This event will be sign-interpreted.

7:00 p.m. – 7:45 p.m.
An Onstage Conversation with Jack Hofsiss
Moderated by Professor Susan Lynskey, Georgetown University Theater & Performance Studies Program
Tony Award-winning Director Jack Hofsiss (GU, ’71) is an American director for theatre, film and television. His direction of The Elephant Man earned him a Tony Award (the youngest director to have then received it), Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Circle Award, Obie Award and the New York Drama Critics Award. He will discuss his life, his art, his injury, and his advocacy as well as his latest work, Jack from Above, which last Fall premiered at the Kennedy Center and is scheduled for a Broadway Run in 2012/13. The play illuminates his experiences following his life-threatening accident that left him paralyzed from the chest down. It is a tale of life, love, art, the human body, and the human spirit that is equally harrowing and hilarious. Mr. Hofsiss will share his re-discovery of self and his triumphant return to the theatre.
This event will be sign-interpreted.

8:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Visible Impact
Talkback with the Cast
(Reception to follow)
This event will be sign-integrated.


11:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Student Workshop: American Sign Language (ASL) Shakespeare Class
with Monique Holt and Timothy Chamberlain
The Sonnet Workshop provides a visual method for exploring Shakespeare’s forms and language. Come get the “unspoken” dish on the ‘Dark Lady and the Young Man,’ and as a foretelling of the Theater & Performance Studies Spring Season, we’ll even sign a little Macbeth.
Observers welcome on a first-come, first-served basis.
This event will be sign/voice-interpreted.

2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Visible Impact
This event will be sign-integrated.

4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Making the Arts Accessible
Joel Snyder, Audio Description Association
Beth Bienvenue, Director of Accessibility, National Endowment for the Arts
Beth Henriksen & John Mark Ennis, Sign Performing Artists
Moderated by Jane Holahan, Director, Georgetown University Academic Resource Center
Students, faculty, and practitioners will share their strategies for how to create more accessible and inclusive performing arts experiences. The talk back will include a hands-on demonstration of sign-language interpretation and audio description.
This event will be sign-interpreted.