Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Theatre & Dance

First Advisor

Oliver Gerland

Second Advisor

Beth Osnes

Third Advisor

Bud Coleman


Phamaly and the DisAbility Project are theater companies providing performance opportunities to disabled people. The companies have different missions and purposes. Phamaly produces standard Broadway fare (or previously-existing material) with an all disabled cast. Their stated mission is to produce traditional theatre in non-traditional ways, empowering disabled people to star in plays and roles that traditionally would not be available to them. The DisAbility Project writes and produces new material based upon the experience of its actors. This company comprises people with and without disabilities to model inclusion, creating and touring original material in order to educate others about the culture of disability. Interviews with company leaders and performers demonstrate that Phamaly and the DisAbility Project take different approaches to performance and inclusion. I conclude that Phamaly conforms to a Brechtian model of drama and performance, while the DisAbility Project enacts Augusto Boal’s theories of the theater of the oppressed.