Emerging Company in Residence

Buddies is excited to welcome The Disability Collective as our Emerging Company in Residence for the 2022-23 season. This partnership will build these artists’ capacity through long-form mentorship that caters to their identified areas of learning and growth, working alongside Buddies staff.

About the Company

The Disability Collective is a not-for-profit organization and community of disabled artists dedicated to celebrating and showcasing disability in the arts. TDC strives to de-stigmatize disability and challenge perceptions of what disability looks like through promoting disabled artists in a variety of forms, including live performances, virtual showcases, visual art shows, readings, and more. We believe that disability can be defined in many ways, including physical impairments, mental health conditions, emotional disabilities, sensory disabilities, cognitive​ challenges, neurodiversity, and chronic illnesses. 

We believe that disability provides a unique perspective that deserves to be shared. One billion people, or 15% of the world’s population, experience some form of disability. Disabled folks are more likely to experience adverse socioeconomic outcomes, such as less education, poorer health conditions, lower rates of employment, and higher poverty rates. We recognize that disability has a compounded impact on those at the intersection of other marginalized communities, such as Black, Indigenous, and 2LGBTQIA+ communities, people of colour, women and femmes, fat people, religious minorities, and more. The Disability Collective seeks to empower disabled folks from all communities, and to break down boundaries and stereotypes of what it means to be disabled.


2021/22 Artists

Throughout 2021, Gaitrie and Courage will work alongside Buddies staff to hone skills and gain experience in script development, grant-writing, workshop planning and facilitation, and communications. Their project, The Two Natashas, and Gaitrie’s company Phoenix the Fire, will serve as a focal point for development over the course or the year.

This season, the residency will include a programming slot in our 2021 Queer Pride Festival, as well as the opportunity to curate and deliver community workshops with support from Buddies.

Natasha “Courage” Bacchus is a Tkaronto-Guyanese, Deaf Black Female Queer, 3 timer Deaflympian Sprinter, and 2020 Black Lives Matters monologues winner. She advocates for IBPOC/QIBPOC Deaf artists to get the recognition they deserve. Natasha is passionate about doing theatre, monologues, improv and music. She has worked with companies across the country including Red Dress Productions, Obsidian Theatre, Kingston Circus Arts, Tangled Arts, and Inside Out Theatre.


Gaitrie Persaud-Dhunmoon is a Tkaronto-Guyanese, Deaf IBPOC/QIBPOC activist who is passionate about music, activism, empowering Deaf artists and ASL music, and also an ASL coach, ASL music performer, actress for The Two Natashas and founder of Phoenix The Fire. She is also the host, Enchante, of the talk show Be Enchante or Be Impotent.


photos by Mana Bijandgoodarz