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We Deserve to Work
collectively created by neurodiverse artists


People with disabilities deserve to work! Follow the stories of individuals with disabilities (self-advocates) and their experiences navigating employment. Get a glimpse into the highs and lows of searching for work, interviewing for a job, the first day of a new job, dealing with conflict at work, asking an employer for help, and advocating for more responsibility, and future promotions. Focusing on what can happen on one day, we explore the intricacies of working at a Community Recreation Centre, a Pet Store, and an Office Building as self-advocates deal with the barriers, challenges, and successes that can happen in their search for meaningful work. 

Tickets are On Sale NOW! Get them HERE


  • School Matinee: Timed to integrate into the school day - Friday, November 18 at 12:30pm 

Additional Shows:

  • Saturday, November 19 at 7:30pm 

  • Sunday, November 20 at 2:00pm

Massey Theatre
735 8th Ave, New Westminster, BC

People with disabilities face significant barriers to labour market participation (UBC Canadian Institute for Inclusion and Citizenship (CIIC), 2018). In fact, the employment rate for Canadians aged 25 to 64 years with disabilities was 59% compared to 80% for Canadians without a disability (Stats Canada, 2017).  The employment situation for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) is significantly worse, with working age individuals with IDD representing the most unemployed and underemployed citizens in Canada. In BC, only 25% of individuals with IDD indicated some kind of employment (Community Living BC, 2019); when they do report earnings, these employees frequently work few hours a week and most often for minimum wage. These potential employees want to work. Moreover, the untapped labour pool exists when there are labour shortages and increasing pressures on businesses to be on the cutting edge of innovative practices, processes, and products (Ready, Willing and Able, 2019). Unfortunately, barriers for this skilled and viable labour group exist. 

One key barrier is societal attitudes and beliefs that perpetuate false information about individuals with IDD as being unable to work. These beliefs may be held by family members, support workers, community members, potential employers, and even self-advocates (individuals with IDD) themselves (Wehman et al., 2015). For example, potential employers report concerns related to hiring an employee with IDD: concerns about productivity and performance; concerns about the impact on corporate culture; safety concerns; and concerns related to costs of accommodation (Kocman et al., 2018; Werner & Hochman, 2019). Across the country, many jobs go unfilled because of these misconceptions: people with IDD are not considered as potential job candidates. 

People with IDD want to work, and research demonstrated they are great employees (UBC CIIC, 2018). Policy makers, practitioners, family members, and self-advocates are calling for improved employment outcomes for individuals with IDD. People with IDD deserve competitive integrated employment: a career in the open labour market with non-disabled employees that offers at least minimum wage and similar benefits to all colleagues, including opportunities for growth. 

Through social theatre we are problematizing and transforming societal misperceptions and stereotypes by celebrating self advocates’ abilities and right to work! 

  • People with disabilities have the Right to Meaningful Work, no matter what their abilities!

  • People with disabilities are good workers who are reliable, dedicated, eager, and want to work!

  • Employers have a duty to create Inclusive Work Environments and accommodate accessibility needs with kindness and flexibility for all people. 

  • Having work makes people with disabilities happy and gives them purpose.

  • Employment helps people with disabilities grow, develop new skills, and can safely challenge them to step out of their comfort zones.

  • People with disabilities have the Right to employment that will be continuous, where individuals have the opportunity to be promoted, receive equal pay for equal work, and receive benefits.

For more information on the production, the research, artists involved, and the creation process, check here.


Amy Chan

David dela Torre

Dana Faris

Larissa Gunkel

Chris Ham

Kurtis Johnson

Jay McInnis

Mackenzie McKay Marsh

Aaron Pietras

Krisssy Pilorusso

Renu Shambhy

Carrol Sheaves

Dan Tell

Justin Van Cleef


Creative Team:

Co-Directors & Producers: Jessica Anne Nelson & Leyton Schnellert

Assistant Directors: Jordy Matheson

Technical Director: Jay Swing

Set Designer: Kimira Reddy

Sound Designer: Jack Goodman

Lighting Designer: Jamie Sweeney

Stage Manager: Rachel Brew

Assistant Stage Manager: Jordy Matheson

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