Are There Barriers For Disabled People in Acting?

Acting is one of the oldest professions in the world and has gained near universal recognition and praise. From Hollywood movie stars to Broadway legends, we can all point to a famous actor and say “that one there, that’s my favourite”. 

However, for disabled people, it was normal to grow up and see a lack of disabled individuals being cast in big budget flicks or even getting steady work, and it has led many people to conclude that there are definitely barriers designed to hinder the growth and progress of people with disabilities, and almost stall out their trip into acting.

When we take a look at actors performing on the big screen, or at a Broadway theatre, most of us think of famous individuals who have gained a reputation within their chosen field for being one of the best. These are people with celebrated careers who have earned a spot in the public consciousness. 

However, if you ask somebody to identify a disabled person who is also a famous actor, you might find that people struggle to come up with anything meaningful behind some of the most well-known and famous individuals. There’s a lack of famous disabled actors in the highest ranks of Hollywood or Broadway, and it is considered by some to be an issue all its own. 

The reasons tend to differ a little too depending on where you go and who you speak to. Some people cite a lack of accessibility in modern film productions – which is definitely a problem – and others tend to find issues with the more subtle concepts, like the screening process for finding actors to audition being inherently biased against disabled folks.

As disability support workers Gold Coast, this is an idea we’ve heard time and time again. The sad truth has always been that actors are not given their fair opportunity to shine, especially if they belong to a minority or have a noticeable disability. It almost feels like it is difficult for that person to even get a chance to start to build up a career, because there are lots of disabilities that are difficult to ignore but very impactful for disabled people.

We have to believe that it’s possible for us to do better when it comes to the way we look at disabilities and how they impact acting. For a lot of young people, it’s simply the case of getting the opportunities necessary for a career to begin, especially if they are disabled. Obviously, great change will be about giving those opportunities to everybody, regardless of who they are or where they come from. This will help a lot of disabled people, especially those with more complex needs, get their rightful turn in the acting spotlight. This much should be what they are owed, at the very least. They should be given an opportunity to explore acting properly, free of any bias or discrimination.

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