Alan Shain has been contributing work to the global Disability Arts Movement, and Canada's dis arts domain, for more than 20 years. A multidisciplinary, independent dis-identified artist based in Ottawa, he began his career in stand-up comedy - then rapidly expanded his performance repertoire to also include dance, theatre and storytelling.
To date, he's performed across Canada and the US, as well as in England, Australia and Taiwan.
Alan's artistic vision is to disrupt the normalization of impairment through daring artistic innovation in both content and form. His artistic practice promotes counter-cultural perspectives of "the disability experience". His artistic reputation is built on pushing artistic, cultural and political boundaries.
As an artistic mentor, Alan co-founded Propeller Dance, with Shara
Weaver and Renata Soutter, to provide ongoing training, education and performance opportunities for both disabled and non-disabled adults, youth and children.
As an independent creator, Alan has produced two solo theatre performances that have toured internationally (one of which is a co-production with Stage Left Productions); two dance works for Toronto audiences, performed with Frank Hull and Kazumi Tsuruoka; six dance works for Ottawa audiences with Shara Weaver, Renata Soutter and the Propeller Dance ensemble; many original stories that he's performed across Canada and the USA; and a stand-up comedy routine that Alan toured with Yuk Yuk's Komedy Kabaret for many years, alongside the likes of Brent Butt and Russell Peters.
As a performer, Alan holds the honors of: Being the only Canadian artist invited to perform at the Paralympics Arts Festival in Sydney, Australia; performing for the Department of Community Affairs in Bermuda; being
a featured Canadian artist at Above & Beyond Festival in England; co-headlining at John F. Kennedy Centre in Washington, DC for the 15 year commemoration of the Americans with Disabilities Act; and being invited to represent Canada in Sixth Sense Performing Arts Festival in Taiwan.
For many years, Alan was a Featured Artist in Balancing Acts Disability Arts Festival (Calgary) and in several Storytelling Festivals (Ottawa, Toronto, St. Mary's...). Alan has enjoyed a few successful Fringe runs in Winnipeg, Montreal, Toronto, and Ottawa (where his first solo-show, Still Waiting for that Special Bus, was named Best of Fringe). He regularly perform in the domain of Theatre for Young Audiences throughout Ottawa and the GTA, as a touring artist for MASC and Prologue to the Performing Arts.
Alan has received critical acclaim in the Ottawa Sun, Ottawa Citizen, Toronto Star, Winnipeg Free Press, Eye Weekly, Victoria News (Australia) and RealTime Magazine (Sydney, Australia).
Multiple award-winning Australian photographer, Belinda Mason, featured Alan in her 2000 Exhibition called Intimate Encounters, an emotive photo essay on sexuality and disability. In 2005 his performance work was featured on Moving On, CBC's disability-focused TV program. In 2013 independent Ottawa filmmaker, Corinne Baumgarten, produced a documentary short on Alan's work, called Four Menus, Please!
Since 2015, Alan has been the Disability Arts Officer at the Canada Council for the Arts.
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