Photo: Andrew Gurza presenting on sexuality and disability to attendees of SexyVoices workshop on Saturday, Feb. 27.
Realwheels, a theatre in Marpole is producing a burlesque cabaret for people with disabilites.
The SexyVoices training workshop, held on Feb. 27 by Realwheels, was the first of a series that explore sexuality and disability in theatre. The workshop series runs twice weekly, leading to a Burlesque Theatre Cabaret performance in May.
Toronto-based Andrew Gurza, who described himself as the “sexiest, most deliciously disabled queer cripple you will ever meet in your life,” presented at the workshop.
Gurza founded Deliciously Disabled, a movement striving to make disability accessible to pop culture and to reveal the accurate experience of living with a disability.
Gurza also hosts his own Internet radio program, “Deliciously Disabled: A Discussion of Sex, Disability and Everything in Between” for Voices 4 Ability Radio.
Gurza said discussions surrounding disability and sexuality in theatre spaces is important because we never see it.
“We’re used to seeing people with disabilities being the sad, lonely, angry cripple and how they can’t do anything. Or we’re seeing the person with a disability try to overcome their disability like a super crip,” said Gurza. “What we want to do is say no, none of those are correct.”
Upcoming burlesque cabaret exciting for both the disabled and able community
Andrew Vallance, who attended the workshop and will perform in the burlesque said these projects can help break barriers between disabled people and their sexual needs.
“Sexuality is essential for a lot of us. [These discussions] help chip away at the wall of prudery that has prevented us from expressing our sexuality,” said Vallance.
Jenny Magenta, the choreographer for the burlesque said disabled people need to have opportunities to express themselves artistically.
“I think it’s empowering for people in the disabled community to see themselves and to move in ways that they may not have moved,” said Magenta.
Magenta said she thinks people can expect to be shocked when the play hits the stage.
“People can expect to laugh and to have some boundaries maybe pushed a little bit. People will have their minds opened to see that people with disabilities do have sex lives and think about sex and that they are sexy human beings,” said Magenta.
Realwheels Theatre’s SexyVoices – A Burlesque Theatre Cabaret runs May 12-14 at the Roundhouse Performance Centre.