Home


People with disabilities often have difficulty getting hired due to misperceptions about their abilities and the efforts needed to accommodate them in the workplace. So our DisAbility Project stepped up to the plate to create a new piece called “Working.” Set within the imaginary world of a giant television, this half hour play gives audience members the opportunity to watch their favorite television characters, past and present, tackle the challenging topic of disability issues in the workplace. (more...)

Biographies


Ana Jennings
Although not currently employed, Ana has worked full time in the field of rehabilitation and disability rights for more than 15 years. She has a Master’s degree in Education, with an emphasis on Vocational Rehabilitation. Ana is a member of the award-winning DisAbility Project theatre ensemble and serves on its advisory council. Ana has been happily married for over ten years and lives with her husband in their own home in Kirkwood, MO. She likes trying out different cultural cuisines, and her pet peeve is rude people. Ana has a spinal cord injury.

 


Joan Lipkin
Joan Lipkin is the Artistic Director of That Uppity Theatre Company. She founded the company to put the principles of cultural diversity into innovative theatrical practice and to promote civic dialogue and related activities. A playwright, director, educator, performer and social activist, her work has been internationally produced.  Joan has received numerous awards including a Visionary, the James F. Hornback Ethical Humanist of the Year, a Frederick H. Laas and the Missouri Arts Award, among others.

 


Greg Matzker
Greg Matzker started with That Uppity Theatre Company with the theatre production of "Ten Percent". He has been involved in theatre for over 20 years and has appeared in over 150 shows and concerts. He has worked with many groups in the St. Louis area such as New Jewish Theatre,  Dramarama, and  the Goldenrod Showboat to name a few. He was also part of the St. Louis Symphony choir for ten years appearing in many landmark concerts such as Leonard Slatkin's farewell concert and Beethoven's Ninth that is still shown on TV coast to coast. Greg is the Artistic Director for Marble Stage Theatre, a community theatre company dedicated to bringing the true "community" theatre back to St. Louis. Greg is also a private voice teacher as well a choreographer for many schools and theatre companies, both amateur and professional.  In Greg's younger days he was given the honor of being Junior Midwest Swing Champion of 1989.

What we are doing...


At an estimated 55 million, people with disabilities are the largest and poorest minority in the United States and many remain unemployed. They often have difficulty getting hired due to misperceptions about their abilities and the efforts needed to accommodate them in the workplace. Consider the following from the National Organization on Disability:

  • Only 35 percent of people with disabilities reported being employed full or part time, compared to 78 percent of those who do not have disabilities.
  • 22 percent of employed people with disabilities report encountering job discrimination.
  • Three times as many people with disabilities live in poverty with annual household incomes below $15,000.

So our DisAbility Project stepped up to the plate to create a new piece called “Working.” We met for several months to develop a script through improvisation and research. The result of our labor is a fun and fact-filled 30 minute piece. “Working” is designed to help employers and employees understand some myths around disabilities, as well as how to productively integrate people with disabilities into the workforce.
Set within the imaginary world of a giant television, this half hour play gives audience members the opportunity to watch their favorite television characters, past and present, tackle the challenging topic of disability issues in the workplace.

From a lost episode of the “Brady Bunch” in which Jan finally outshines her more notable sibling, Marcia, to the more contemporary “Survivor” and its tribal conflicts, this format provides an innovative approach that makes learning fun. Popular personalities like David Letterman, Mr. Rogers and Jeopardy’s Alec Trebec cover disability etiquette, workplace accommodations, disability facts and figures, and so much more.

“Working” debuted to a great reception for the Missouri Business Leadership Network (MOBLN) at the Hilton St. Louis Frontenac.

The network is a conglomerate of local business leaders championing opportunities to create productive and supportive partnerships among people with disabilities, private businesses, and governmental and community agencies. MOBLN is dedicated to helping businesses access more qualified applicants with disabilities, increasing the representation of people with disabilities in the workforce, and encouraging businesses to be more responsive to the needs of customers with disabilities.

Our show for MOBLN went so well, we were asked to travel to perform for the Social Security Administration in Kansas City. The performance was followed by a spirited exchange with the audience that included the Midwest Regional Cadre of Social Security Managers and Directors.

Wanda McIntosh, a Human Resource Specialist said, “I’ve been to a lot of trainings and this one was outstanding because it was so different. It presented a lot of information in an entertaining and fresh way.”

In August, Leah Norris joined our cast that includes DisAbility Project ensemble member Ana Jennings, Joan Lipkin and Greg Matzker, and we performed for the annual Gateway to Diversity Conference sponsored by the Greater St. Louis Executive Board at St. Louis University. In recognition of Disabled Employment Month, we performed in October for staff at the Metro St. Louis headquarters as well as offering two free public performances at the Missouri History Museum. Our shows at the museum were co-sponsored by the Governor’s Council on Disability, Missouri Career Center and Paraquad who had representatives on hand to answer questions about employment.

 

Rave Reviews


Great program, a positive and sensitive approach that draws people in to get them to begin to think about a very important issue.
Phil Mosley, Director of Workforce Diversity, Metro St. Louis

Entertaining and insightful. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing DP perform again.
Michael Donovan, 504/ADA Coordinator, Missouri Arts Council

Excellent presentation.
Carla Rosen, President, Human Resource Management Association of Greater St. Louis

The play was excellent. Usually, I am not an emotional person, bur for some reason it made me want to cry – I was teary-eyed. I got a chance to see how America really looks at other with disabilities. Awesome play!!!
Ciarra Gailes, Paraquad – AT Reutilization & Repair Program

This performance was very memorable and had a great impact on me. Keep up the great work!!!
Kimberly Barnes, Paraquad, Inc.

I loved the MTV rap show!! Great info especially about job accommodations. I can completely relate to the beauty salon scene. – GREAT SHOW
Lakesha Robinson, SLU Graduate School of Social Work

This was a wonderful presentation. I look forward to seeing many more as we work together.
Sharon Smith, Missouri History Museum

… this was outstanding because it was so different. It presented a lot of information in an entertaining and fresh way.
Wanda McIntosh, Human Resource Specialist, Social Security Administration

That Uppity Theatre Company • 4466 West Pine Boulevard, Suite 13C • Saint Louis, MO 63108
Office: (314) 534-1454 • Email Us