Today is International Day of People with Disability! To mark the occasion, we did an interview with our Access and Inclusion Coordinator, Kelly Vincent.
What made you want to join the Fringe team?
As a kid, getting involved in drama and creative pursuits felt natural and helped me develop in many ways. Immediately before joining the Fringe family, I was working for a government department writing disability-related policy. I really enjoyed it, but still felt that itch, so when someone linked me to the application for the Access and Inclusion Coordinator role, I took it as a sign that it was time to come back home to the arts. I’m not itchy anymore.
Describe yourself in three words.
I got asked to do this in the interview for my current job and I said ‘brave, creative nerd’. I guess that must be an all right answer. But I’d like to add ‘not your inspiration’.
What are three main things Adelaide Fringe is doing to increase the accessibility of the festival?
Very hard to pick just three! We are continuing our partnerships to provide Auslan interpretation to the Deaf community and audio description for blind/vision impaired people. We’re looking to provide matting or other alternatives in venues with difficult terrain. We’re trialing a new online booking system for Companion Card holders and eventually I’d love to see that expanded so all people with access needs can book online. I’m also in the middle of developing some Easy English guides.
What is your number one goal you are you hoping to achieve for Fringe 2020?
In some ways, I truly believe good accessibility is invisible, in that it is the absence of barriers. So I guess my goal is to help build a festival that people, no matter what their needs are, can enjoy without going through the exhausting, soul-sucking process of having to think too much about logistics.
Why is Adelaide Fringe important to people with disabilities?
Short answer: because we’re human beings.
Longer answer: For decades upon decades, disabled people have been socially marginalised and isolated. Festivals like Fringe, which continually try to improve their accessibility, help address that. But that marginalisation can also build resilience, community, and creativity. I really believe the arts can be a powerful community and identity building tool, especially when marginalised people see themselves represented.
If you were an animal, which one would you be?
A unicorn because having most people not even know I existed would really help with my social anxiety. Also I kind of relate to being something gentle and stoic, but completely capable of stabbing someone if necessary. Hashtag: Scorpio.
How would you describe Adelaide Fringe to someone who has never heard of it?
It’s a month-long sleepover party where you get to see people tell you all these amazing bedtime stories, but no one makes you go to bed so you just get to stay awake hanging out with your friends and getting more and more stories. And because it goes for a month, even if you do go to sleep, there will be more when you wake up. Everything I wanted as a kid.
What is your favourite diamond themed song?
Tough one. Maybe Diamonds on the Inside by Ben Harper. But honourable mention to Diamonds are Forever, the Bond theme, just because I want Shirley Bassey to be my life coach.