Industry Press / 08.03.22
Lisa Carling, Director of TDF Accessibility Programs, to received the 2022 John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts LEAD® Award for Excellence in Accessibility Leadership
New York, NY, August 3, 2022 – Our longtime Director of TDF Accessibility Programs, LISA CARLING, is being celebrated for her exemplary work in arts and accessibility. She is among the recipients of The Kennedy Center Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability (LEAD®) Award for Excellence in Accessibility Leadership. The annual LEAD Awards honor arts administrators and organizations whose dedication has resulted in advancing the inclusion of people with disabilities in the cultural arts. The Awards for Excellence in Accessibility Leadership recognizes a lifetime of achievement in arts and accessibility and will be presented at this year’s LEAD conference on Friday, August 5 in Raleigh, NC.
“I am so thrilled to receive this award and have loved the almost four decades I’ve spent at TDF advocating for people with disabilities,” said Ms. Carling. “I never intended to stay in the field this long but there has always been more to do to make things better and more equitable. In looking back, the most memorable, impactful programs I’ve initiated are TDF Autism Friendly Performances, launched in 2011; open captioning for theatre, begun in 1997; and the Interpreting for the Theatre Program (1998-2009), a one-week intensive for sign language interpreters in partnership with The Juilliard School. It has given me such joy to see these programs grow, take root in broader areas and help create an appetite for more accessible theatre. Whatever you do in life, be a catalyst for change!”
The Kennedy Center Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability (LEAD®) Awards in Accessibility Leadership recognize a lifetime of achievement in arts and accessibility. Recipients are selected for having sustained accessibility efforts over a significant period of time, demonstrating either an individual or institutional commitment to the inclusion of all people with disabilities. This pertains to incorporating accessibility into organizational programs, projects, and environments. Other factors considered in selecting award winners are the breadth of impact and how the person or entity has served as a role-model or leader within the cultural arts community and in areas such as business, social service, and government. Link for the full list of the 2022 awardees.
ABOUT LISA CARLING
Lisa Carling joined TDF Accessibility Programs in 1983 and has been the department’s director since the mid-'90s. She helps design and implement services that make theatre performances accessible to people with disabilities on Broadway, Off Broadway and nationwide. Ms. Carling runs a department that provides autism-friendly, open captioned, sign language-interpreted and audio described performances, as well as seating for theatregoers with mobility disabilities. She also oversees the TDF Veterans Theatregoing Program to ensure NYC's vets have the accessibility accommodations they need when attending shows.
Ms. Carling served on The Shubert Organization’s Audience Services Advisory Committee for the implementation of GalaPro, an app that provides on-demand closed captioning and audio description; and currently serves on Bridge Multimedia's Advisory Group to review broadcast audio description for programming K-12. As a speaker, she has shared her experience in the accessibility field on theatre industry panels, at arts and disability conferences, BroadwayCon and the first-ever Broadway Accessibility Summit. In her previous career, Lisa performed with Yale Repertory Theatre in New Haven, CT, and Classic Stage Company in New York, and also did TV and film.
ABOUT TDF ACCESSIBILITY PROGRAMS
TDF Accessibility Programs make theatregoing possible for young people and adults with physical disabilities, as well as individuals on the autism spectrum. The full range of services includes autism-friendly performances of Broadway productions; accessible seating for those with mobility issues; and open captioned, sign language-interpreted and audio described performances of Broadway and Off-Broadway shows for theatregoers who are Deaf or have hearing loss, are blind or have low vision. TDF also trains theatres in the US and abroad on how to set up open captioning programs and autism-friendly shows and offers an educational enrichment program for students who are Deaf, hard of hearing, blind or have low vision. TDF partnered with The Broadway League to develop the website TheatreAccess.NYC, the official site for accessibility information for Broadway shows.
Founded in 1968, TDF (formerly known as Theatre Development Fund) is a not-for-profit service organization dedicated to bringing the power of the performing arts to everyone. TDF’s mission is to sustain live theatre and dance by engaging a broad and diverse audience and eliminating barriers to attendance. We fulfill our mission with a variety of programs that expand access, cultivate communities and support the makers of the performing arts.
We are known for our theatregoing programs, including the TKTS by TDF Discount Booth and TDF Membership program; Accessibility programs (including open captioned, audio described and Autism Friendly Performances), Education & Community Engagement programs (serving more than 12,000 New York City students annually and thousands of underserved individuals and veterans), as well as the TDF Costume Collection Rental and Research Programs. During the COVID-19 theatre shutdown, we continued to serve our constituents by creating virtual adaptations of our programs via Zoom and other streaming platforms. TDF envisions a world where the transformative experience of attending live theatre and dance is essential, relevant, accessible and inspirational. To learn more about TDF, go to tdf.org. Facebook/Instagram/Twitter: @tdfnyc.