Art without borders
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29th March – 11th June 2017

DisAbility on Stage

Building bridges between research, theatre and dance practices and training

The stage lab DisAbility on Stage is a pilot project which aims to promote the participation of people with a disability in dance and theatre training in Switzerland. The focus lies on two model collaborations: the Masters in Movement Theatre at the Accademia Teatro Dimitri in Verscio, in collaboration with the dance company Teatro Danzabile from Ticino (Stage Lab 1), and the Bachelors degree in Contemporary Dance at Zurich University of the Arts, in collaboration with BewegGrund in Berne and Danzabile in Ticino (Stage Lab 2). The aim is to develop skills at the crossroads between training practices, the theatre and dance scene, presenting productions by and with people with a disability as well as practice-based research at arts universities.

After that, the artistic and academic results will be shared with a wider audience within the festivals under the umbrella of IntegrART.

The stage lab is linked to the three-year research project DisAbility on Stage (2015–2018) hosted by the Institute for the Performing Arts and Film (IPF) of Zurich University for the Arts, which started in September 2015 with the support of the Swiss National Science Foundation. The aim is to get the discussion about disability started at art schools and universities throughout Switzerland and to then apply the research results to the practice.

Three studies are at the heart of the project:

  • the study Disabled Bodies in Discourse at the Accademia Teatro Dimitri which will be looking at the connecting points between Physical Theatre and theatre by and with performers with a disability. Questions about training and authorship of the performers with a disability will be explored through practice-based research workshops put in place in cooperation with Teatro Danzabile.
  • The project Inszenierungsprozesse im Theater von und mit geistig behinderten Akteur_innen at Zurich University of the Arts and the University of Basel is connected to the theatre experiment Freie Republik HORA. As part of a long-term performance project in three phases, the members of the Zurich-based company Theater HORA are directing a piece for the first time. This process is being observed from three different perspectives: from an artistic point of view, as part of theatre research and from a video-ethnographic point of view.
  • The dissertation project and the third part of the study entitled Disabled Theater – Der Beginn von Akzentverschiebungen in der Rezeption at Berne University will focus on the perception by the public and the media of theatre productions with and by performers with a disability. 

The stage labs which include dancers and performers with and without disabilites will enable the transfer and the developement of research results in a training context.

More information available on the blog.


Credits stage labs:


Institute for the Performing Arts and Film and BA Contemporary Dance, ZHdK; Accademia Teatro Dimitri, Verscio; Teatro Danzabile; BewegGrund

Project Leader:

Dr. Yvonne Schmidt, Institute for the Performing Arts and Film, ZHdK


Artistic Director: Emanuel Rosenberg Performers: Felix Baumann, Sara Bocchini, Stefanie Bolzli, Angela Calia, Adriano Cangemi, Laura Coda Cantù, Elisa Di Cristofaro, Mirjami Heikkinen, Guglielmo Hug, Aida Illic, Miriam Kotlaris, Pierre Lepori, Joelle Petrini, Andres Santos, Morgan Wilson, Daniele Zanella Research Team: Sara Bocchini, Sarah Marinucci, Dr. Demis Quadri


Artistic Director: Emanuel Gat Coaching: Emanuel Rosenberg, Susanne Schneider Dancers: Sophie Annen, Jay Ariës, Sophie Bertschy, Emmy Blein, Giorgia D'Amico, Alice D'Angelo, Giorgia Lolli, Gina Andrea Maag, Selene Martello, Viktorija Semakaité, Antonio Spatuzzi, Dario Theiler, Elisa Scarselli, Joelle Petrini, Miriam Kotlaris, Laura Coda Cantù, Giuseppe Comuniello, Sylvie Chen, Lua Leirner Research Team: Sarah Marinucci, Dr. Yvonne Schmidt


Swiss National Science Foundation; Eidgenössisches Büro für die Gleichstellung von Menschen mit Behinderungen EBGB; Corymbo Stiftung; Oertli Stiftung; Fachstelle Gleichstellung & Diversity, Zurich University of the Arts

Practice partner:

IntegrART, a Migros Culture Percentage networking project