After ten months of meetings, rehearsals, and classroom workshops leading up to fourteen performances in two weekends, you’d think Alison Mahoney, Bluelaces Co-Artistic Director and Out There! Director, would want a break. If you call a week-long educational tour of England's top performing arts companies a "break," then, sure; she did that.
To begin her three-month backpacking trip through Europe, Alison went on a business trip in England, meeting artists and companies breaking down the walls of conventional theatre—including what is "conventional" for audiences with developmental differences. Before she visited greenhouses in Cumiana or ate Neopolitan pizza in Napoli, she devoted her first week to learning. Early in July, Al found a cafe or a hostel or, heck, probably some free European city WIFI to dish about her tour de inclusivité.
How did you go about finding five different companies with similar missions to Bluelaces's, all in England?
Allison Finder tells us how she went from a theatre hater to a theatre maker
There's an Urban Outfitters "on the corner," just outside the Northwestern University campus in Evanston, IL. It's a place that has a huge summer sidewalk sale, dramatically accused two of my college roommates of shoplifting, and once employed Allison Finder. It also happens to be a part of the thread that led Allison to Bluelaces. The Chicago native and Astoria, Queens resident took time out of her busy workday as a Prevention Educator/Counselor at Hallways, a non-profit organization that provides social-emotional wellness programming for adolescents, to chat about her role as Head Adventure Guide for Bluelaces’s upcoming production, “Out There!”
Anna: You studied theatre in undergrad, but how did you find your way to drama therapy?
Allison: I decided to pursue drama therapy while I was in undergrad [at the University of Arizona]. I had become really disillusioned with the...