Universal Access Productions / Arizona Theatre Matters (ATM) expands its reach exceedingly far beyond its size; it has one part-time employee and a volunteer artistic director, and employs – depending on the season – dozens of professionals, including actors, directors, designers, stage managers, ASL interpreters, video editors, and technicians. (For the upcoming 2021/2022 season, the company plans to employ some 50 artists and professionals.) The company is based in Arizona and Nevada, as well as in the cyber world (thanks to its Youtube channel). The ATM ensemble is a diverse, intergenerational company of BIPOC, LGBTQIA artists and artists with disabilities, including 40% elder woman actors. The company was not only created with the mission to make these groups more visible and heard in theatre as a result of its productions; ATM’s inclusive and accessible programming is actually changing the face and language of traditional theatre. As a result of COVID, ATM’s programming and admissions have become even more accessible, expanding to include virtual productions, enabling the company to engage artists from across the globe with no travel, lodging or per diem costs. Youtube also enables the company to disseminate its works with translation into 110 languages, descriptive audio, and with American Sign Language, making its productions accessible to anyone with a computer. All of the company’s in-person productions will be videotaped and uploaded to the Youtube channel; as a result, the company will continue its work both in-person and virtually.
UAP/ATM creates theatre and stage to film accessible to everyone. Our work is radically inclusive – designed to be performed in profoundly theatrical contexts, wherein minority representation matters and performers’ natural orientations are less important than their artistic talents and abilities. It is our goal to empower people who have traditionally been excluded as artists and patrons, including those with disabilities, BIPOC, and those who identify as LGBTQ+. It is our conviction that the natural diversity of people necessitates a universal access approach. We are committed to the notion that art saves lives when it illuminates underrepresented and misunderstood communities, and that voices that have been historically silenced must be heard.