From Casting To Performance: Actors With Disabilities In TYA – Recorded and Uploaded as VOD

Erica Berman (Children’s Theater of Madison) and Fran Sillau (The Rose)

In this interactive session, participants will gain practical tools for the casting, rehearsal, and performance process to include actors with disabilities in their main stage season. Utilising production examples from The Rose Theater and Children’s Theater of Madison, we will present best practices for this work across a range of TYA content and actor disability, even for roles that don’t call for a disability. Participants will enter a faux rehearsal room prepared for a neuro-diverse group of actors, complete with social story cards, an agenda, and fidgets. As we welcome the participants, we’ll encourage them to do the “5 Ss”
before rehearsal (Sign in, Sensory moment, Shoes on, Stretch, Script out, & Stand on Stage). After an active warm up, we’ll run through the agenda. We’ll ask participants to work in small groups and look at a sample audition form through the lens of someone with a disability. Then, we will guide participants through a sensory audition process to illustrate how a casting team can get the information they need by tweaking their standard audition processes. Participants will take part in a mock audition and see how tweaking works in real time. We will take participants through a tech rehearsal to illustrate how a few adjustments can have a positive effect on the final product. The session will conclude with a Q&A session.

In addition to theatre professionals, we would like to welcome teenage theatre makers to the workshop so that they may incorporate these tools into their student led rehearsals.

This event is not available to watch live online. Please return to this page any time from 24 hours after the event has concluded to watch the video recording.

  • Madison, WI and Omaha, NE, USA, North America
  • Programme Type: On Ground Festival
  • Duration (minutes): 90
  • Ages: 14+ (Other)
  • Release Date: May 19, 2022
  • Language: English
  • Tags: disability, pedagogy, inclusion

You will only see a 30 second trailer of this content until the Release Date and Time listed above. At the designated time, the full content will become available for viewing at any time until the online event closes.


Erica BERMAN is celebrating her ninth season as the Director of Education & Artistic Associate with CTM. Erica introduced sensory friendly programming to CTM and collaborates on creating accessible programming, internships, and artistic opportunities. Erica has presented on CTM’s autism initiatives to Madison’s Arts Education Roundtable, the AATE National Conference, and the Inclusive Theater Conference at Northwestern University. She is also the staff representative for CTM’s EDI Committee. Before CTM, Erica was on the planning committee to provide McCarter Theater’s first sensory friendly performance, receiving invaluable training from the Theater Development Fund (TDF). Erica is also an accomplished playwright and director. MA: Theater Education, Emerson College.

Fran SILLAU serves as the Director of Accessibility at The Rose Theater, where he is leading an expansion of the popular Every Single Child Program (a multi-layered program that serves an average of 35,000 students each year at more than 70 school buildings.) The expansion will develop production and residency programming for students in self-contained special education classrooms in the Omaha area. He also directs mainstage productions at the Rose; some of his credits include Shrek: The Musical, Go,Dog.Go! and the Omaha premiere of Hanna’s Suitcase. He also serves as Executive Artistic Director of Circle Theatre, Omaha’s theater for individuals of all abilities.