A new series aims to fill a gap in the entertainment world by spotlighting conversations with various figures from theatre, film, and television within the differently-abled and neurodiverse communities. The aim of these discussions? To showcase how storytellers can create more representative and truthful narratives.
Watch the trailer for ABLE: A Series above.
"In the past few years, we have been hyper vigilant in taking notice of how disability is represented in the plethora of content that is available now," producer and co-host Kallen Blair tells Playbill. "We noticed that oftentimes these characters are like a broad brushstroke of someone's 'idea of disability,' and even more often, these characters are played by able-bodied actors... It is time for actors with disabilities to tell their own stories. They exist and they're good—they just need the door open and accessible."
ABLE, which is co-hosted by Blair and actor and advocate Alie B. Gorrie, will feature interviews with a number of familiar faces including Spring Awakening and Oklahoma! star Ali Stroker; Clive Barnes Award winner Evan Ruggiero (Bastard Jones); Children of a Lesser God's John McGinty; film and television actor Danny Woodburn; producer and actor Amy Buchwald; actor and comedian Maysoon Zayid, known for her TED talk "I got 99 problems... Palsy is just one"; actor Christine Bruno; stage and screen actor Ann Talman (Some Americans Abroad); founder of Identity Theater Company Nicholas Linnehan; and actor Ben Dworken.
"ABLE is the kind of content that changes the industry and world one interview at a time," says Stroker.
"We are taking responsibility as creators to advocate for stories that mirror our world. People with disabilities make up the largest minority group in the United States, yet we see them the least in media," says Blair. "The seeds of our idea come from my love for my brother Joel, who has autism and cerebral palsy, and my co-producer, Alie B. Gorrie, and her experiences as an actress with a vision impairment. However, the bulk of what is moving the ABLE team forward is the facts, acknowledging that those facts need changing, and owning that as the next generation in this industry, we have the ability to enact those changes."
The series is produced by SoulStir Creative. Cassidy Cole is the series director, Brian O'Donnell is associate producer, and Jesse Bronstein is cinematographer.
To find out more about ABLE: A Series, visit AbleASeries.com.