Project: TA ČR 2019-2021

The artistic research examines the creation of theatre productions
featuring actors with Down syndrome as a useful tool of social inclusion.




We regularly cultivate the theatrical talent of children and young adults with Down syndrome during our workshops. The training results in productions with professional theatre-makers. During the project, three productions were rehearsed and staged, each of them raising the bar of intentional artistic work. Research interviews with the spectators are part of the project.

A trained psychologist and a special education teacher participates in the project as well as the final report. They describe the impact of the theatre work on the actor and also the mainstream audience. The report explains the basis of the artistic research and analyze the work on each of the productions in the context of existing domestic and world experience with this type of theatre. At the same time, we propose suitable methodological techniques, which could be used predominantly by those working with people with disabilities and who help with their inclusion.

Research was conducted at the Theatre Faculty of JAMU in Brno, financially co-supported by the TA ČR (Éta program).



Jitka Vrbková et al.
Inclusion through Theatre: A Journey of an Actor with Down’s Syndrome to Cognisant Artistic Creation and Social Acceptance

Is the actor’s otherness (or disability) a challenge, or rather an advantage – an opportunity to create a new specific theatrical poetics? These and other questions are addressed in this publication within the background of three years of artistic research into the theatre work of adolescent actors with Down’s syndrome at the Theatre Aldente.

The introductory part ʻIntroduction to the Topicʼ reflects different approaches to this kind of theatre work in the Czech Republic and abroad. The most extensive part, ʻA View from the Inside: The Journey of an Actor with Down’s Syndrome to Cognisant Artistic Creationʼ, describes the theatre training and the creation and re-performances of three productions from the perspective of director Jitka Vrbková and her collaborators. The last part ʻThe View from the Outside: Inclusion through Theatreʼ is written by external observers – psychologist Lenka Pivodová, special educator Ilona Fialová and theatre director and educator Zoja Mikotová – and reports on the positive inclusive influence of this theatre work on both the actors with Down’s syndrome themselves and the audience of the majority society.

This publication reports on the three-year artistic research project of the Theatre Faculty of JAMU
“The Artistic Research of the Production of Theatrical Performances with Down‘s Syndrome Actors as an Effective Mean of Social Inclusion” co-financed by TA CR within the ETA Programme.


On Sunday, 21 November 2021, a symposium entitled INCLUSION THROUGH THEATRE: The Journey of an Actor with Down Syndrome to Targeted Artistic Creation and Acceptance into Society took place at the Orlí Theatre and the BARKA Theatre.

The event included lectures by the project’s researchers, a demonstration of theatrical training by actors from the Aldente Theatre, a panel discussion and a performance of Cathy and Bajaja from the poems of Vladimír Holan.



Vladimír Holan // Cathy and Bajaja (2019)
Karel Jaromír Erben // The Golden Spinning Wheel (2020)
Sofokles / Ferdinand Stiebitz / Jitka Vrbková // Antigone (2021)


Have a look at the comic strips about our rehearsals that were created as part of the research. You can read the opening strip right away or find the remaining ones here.

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