I’mPossible: Inclusivity in Circus Performing

Everyone is in on the action as I’mPossible. Follow young Dani through an awe-inspiring, madcap circus adventure where she finds the strength, courage and perseverance to change her life forever.

On stage at I’mPossible, you’ll witness an inclusive ensemble of artists, including an award-winning gymnast who uses a wheelchair, an aerialist born without legs, a Deaf storyteller and many more.

Blog header image with cutouts of I'mPossible cast

Reclaiming Circus History

Circus has a history of exploiting people with disabilities. Commonly featured as sideshow attractions, disabled performers were presented as oddities to be mocked and laughed at. Omnium Circus founder Lisa Lewis sees a brighter future for the circus where everyone is celebrated for their talents.

“Omnium is different from other circuses in that we honor and reinvent our own culture,” shares Lewis. ”Circus communicates directly through our hearts and through our senses and has always been a community where everyone was welcome.”

What It Means to Be Inclusive

Creating an inclusive and positive environment sets everyone up for success and community. Every performance of I’mPossible is presented simultaneously in English and American Sign Language, features sensory-friendly lighting and sound, and has a relaxed environment where movement and vocalization are welcome. Fidgets and ear defenders, as well as a calming corner and activity area featuring a live feed of the show, are available for audience members. Additionally, there are headsets available with complete audio description of the show so that people who are blind or have low vision can experience and access I’mPossible.

Hear from cast member Danette Sheppard-Vaughn!

Image of I'mPossible ringmaster Danette Sheppard-Vaughn with other cast members

How is Omnium different from other circuses?

Danette Sheppard-Vaughn: Omnium is different from other circuses because of the total inclusion for the audience, as well as the cast and crew. Truly everyone can enjoy and be inspired by Omnium, no matter the body you inhabit or the skin you are in.

What is it like for you to be part of an inclusive circus?

DSV: Celebrating the beauty and talent in everyone and allowing everyone to be able to enjoy that beauty—through song, dialogue, ASL, spectacle, audio description, captioning—it is so meaningful in today’s world.

What was the collaborative process like for I’mPossible?

DSV: Such beautiful and talented people come together to create magic both on and off stage. I am so grateful to be a part of this wonderful Omnium Circus family.

How do the themes of I’mPossible resonate with you as a performer and artist?

DSV: The theme embodies what I’ve always believed: there is always a solution, and we are all capable of whatever we BELIEVE in and work toward. Anything and anyone is POSSIBLE!

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