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Before The Americans With Disabilities Act Passed, Denver Had Phamaly

Courtesy of Kathleen Traylor

The Americans with Disabilities Act was passed on July 26, 1990, providing individuals with disabilities greater access to public spaces, including arts venues. But the year before that, a group of five young Denver actors, including Kathleen Traylor, had broken their own barriers, starting the Phamaly Theatre Company.

The company dedicated to actors with disabilities was created out of her and her fellow actors' frustration in being unable to find work in the industry.

"I always say, 'they can figure out how to get a life-sized elephant on the stage, but they can't figure out what to do with a wheelchair," said Traylor, who is a double-amputee. "It just baffles them."

As the ADA celebrates its 30th anniversary, KUNC arts reporter Stacy Nick spoke with the Phamaly co-founder about what the arts community was like at that time and how it's changed since.

This conversation is part of KUNC’s Colorado Edition for July 29. You can find the full episode here.