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  • Writer's pictureTwanda Black

Everybody Deserves A Stage

Updated: Aug 26, 2022

SHOWAbility™, formerly known as Abel 2, which is a 501c3 nonprofit organization working to become agents of change leveraging arts and entertainment as the vehicle that brings visibility and awareness to the abilities of the disability community. Last year, plans were made to form the SHOWAbility INCLUSIVE CHORUS, and on January 3rd the Live Recording was filmed at the beautiful Buckhead Theatre. It was an exciting, history making day, because ShowAbility is the only group to rise to this challenge and accomplish it!

Myrna Clayton, founder and executive director of the organization, says the purpose of

SHOWAbility™ is to use music and performing arts as a platform for advocacy, education,

empowerment and entertainment to break down barriers for the disability community, the

largest minority population in the world with more than I.3 billion people (64 million in the U.S.

alone). Despite having spending power of more than $1 trillion globally and $500 billion in the

U.S., the disability community is often an untapped and overlooked community, which is

something SHOWAbility™ wants to help change.

“SHOWAbility™ highlights and uplifts the creative and performing artist abilities of people with visible or invisible disabilities and we are very excited about forming the SHOWAbility™ INCLUSIVE CHORUS made up of good singers with and without disabilities, in hopes of mainstreaming talent,” says Clayton, who is an international jazz singer and a U.S. Cultural Ambassador sharing and teaching American jazz in countries around the world. “We are still in the process of growing to represent people of various cultures, races, ages and abilities and we are extremely proud of the group of talented singers we’ve attracted so far, some of whom travelled from as far as Alabama to participate,” Clayton continued.

“Currently the Chorus includes singers who are blind, a wheelchair user, who have invisible disabilities like epilepsy, as well as a general population of singers from Atlanta’s performing arts community,” she said. SHOWAbility™ believes everyone deserves a stage, and assertively identifies accessible venues and opportunities for artists with disabilities to perform, where supportive friends and families

to who love them can also attend and enjoy their performances.

However, Clayton says securing accessible locations for the INCLUSIVE CHORUS to practice and

then record its concert presented quite a challenge, particularly during COVID-19, as many

venues, community centers and churches were closed. However, a small church in southeast

Atlanta and an entertainment venue in West End Atlanta were community-minded and allowed

the small group to rehearse at their locations.

“We learned quite a bit about the needs and challenges people with disabilities are facing in

just to be able to get out and attend scheduled events, but we were determined to inspire the

under-served and the forgotten,” shared Clayton. “Finding a place to rehearse was a huge

challenge for us because larger “community-oriented” facilities were not open to us. Decisions

makers have it all wrong. Music and arts are “not” non-essential. If it weren’t for the enjoyable

and therapeutic values of music, many people would be suffering even more,” she continued.

“However, in addition to the commitment of the singers showing up for rehearsals, we’re so

very thankful for the help of the Salt and Light Truth Center in Decatur and Gallery 992 in the

West End, for opening their doors for us to rehearse while maintaining social distancing and

mask-wearing safety measures.” Clayton said.

The first concert of SHOWAbility’s™ new INCLUSIVE CHORUS recently recorded live at Buckhead Theatre, one of the most accessible theatres in metro-Atlanta, can now be seen on YouTube –just search Showability 2021.

For more information about SHOWAbility™

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