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Disabled theater artist places the highlight on inclusivity with All Talents Productions

After a number of unsuccessful auditions for neighborhood theater productions, the rejections started to really feel private to Glens Falls native Andy O’Rourke.

“Simply because I can’t dance or sing in excellent concord doesn’t imply I can not do theater,” stated O’Rourke, who has cerebral palsy and makes use of a motorized wheelchair.

After one more rejection, O’Rourke recalled waking up at 3:30 am considering, “I will change this,” and started scribbling away in his notepad.

A month later, he met Terry Kempf whereas searching for a psychology tutor, and he shared his imaginative and prescient of an inclusive theater firm the place performers would really feel valued no matter incapacity, gender, race, age or sexuality. The 2 have labored collectively since early this yr to deliver O’Rourke’s dream to life by All Talents Productions, which is able to make its first official, in-person introduction to the neighborhood at a fundraising occasion Nov. 13 at The Park Theater in Glens Falls .

All Talents Productions Presents: “My Incapacity Roadmap” Film & Fundraiser

  • When: 2-5 pm Solar., Nov. 13, 2022
  • The place: The Park Theater, 14 Park Road, Glens Falls
  • Tickets: $15 advance, $20 day-of; out there on-line or by telephone at (518) 792-1150


“We wished to make a spot the place folks might really feel safe and secure and have the chance to do one thing they may not have been capable of do in any other case,” Kempf stated.

It took O’Rourke till his senior yr of highschool to understand he wished to work in theater — from a younger age, he all the time wished to work in journalism.

“I like speaking to folks, I like being nosy,” he stated. “So I assumed journalism could be the very best subject for me.”

Throughout his senior yr, O’Rourke took an project masking the theater division for the varsity paper and found his area of interest among the many drama children’ camaraderie.

He had already dedicated to SUNY Adirondack for a level in broadcast media, however after ending his affiliate’s diploma there, he started learning theater at SUNY Empire. O’Rourke is concentrating on directing and stage administration, which he feels combines his communications background together with his theatrical ardour, and he is incomes faculty credit score for his work on All Talents Manufacturing.

Cindy Bates, chair of the humanities and media division at SUNY Empire and O’Rourke’s mentor, stated O’Rourke’s theatrical ardour and data shone by when he took her course on the musical “Hamilton.” That very same ardour and data is what’s driving All Talents successes in its first yr of improvement, Bates stated.

“Andy is extraordinarily personable,” she stated. “He’s a go-getter, and when he units his thoughts on a objective, he places every little thing he has into it.”

Since March, All Talents has been working to lift funds primarily by GoFundMe and an occasion sponsored by Hoffman’s Automotive Wash in Queensbury, constructing its social media presence on Fb and Instagram and making use of for its not-for-profit standing, which was authorized in April .

“Some folks cannot consider I might pull this off with a incapacity,” O’Rourke stated. “Folks take a look at me and go, ‘You are handicapped,’ however I simply created a nonprofit by myself.”

Sunday’s occasion will embody screening of the documentary “My Incapacity Roadmap,” which chronicles co-creator Samuel Habib navigating younger maturity as a disabled grownup, raffles, dwell music by board member Dylan Lucia, a brief query and reply session with O’Rourke and introducing All Talents Manufacturing’s board members.

Cash raised will assist the corporate mount its first manufacturing, slated for spring 2024. O’Rourke has just a few titles in thoughts, although he is tightlipped on what reveals he is contemplating. It is nonetheless too quickly to use for rights (theatrical licensing corporations do not enable corporations to use greater than 18 months out), however he stated the present can be family-friendly.

“We would like (audiences) from all walks of life,” O’Rourke stated. “From older folks to the younger children that we wish to encourage to get on the stage.”

O’Rourke desires to provide massive Broadway titles with All Talents, citing titles like “The Marriage ceremony Singer,” tailored from the hit Adam Sandler film, and Rodgers and Hammerstein’s basic “Oklahoma!,” as a result of he desires to provide disabled creatives the chance to work on large-scale productions. The corporate additionally plans to ultimately supply inclusive instructional efficiency and manufacturing lessons.

“All over the place we go in theater, there are impediments to wheelchairs, otherwise abled our bodies, otherwise abled voices and so forth,” Bates stated. “Andy’s firm is devoted to creating an area for all totally different sorts of our bodies… and neurodiverse minds and hearts.”

O’Rourke and Kempf stated they’re seeing some progress in disabled illustration — point out of Ali Stroker’s historic Tony Award win for enjoying Ado Annie within the 2019 Broadway revival of “Oklahoma!” brought about O’Rourke to burst into just a few bars of the present’s opening quantity, “Oh, What a Lovely Mornin’ ” — but it surely’s been a sluggish course of.

“I am hoping All Talents helps. That is my objective,” O’Rourke stated.

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