Toronto – ACTRA (Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists) is applauding performer Spirit Synott, recipient of the Canadian Labour Congress’ 2014 Carol McGregor Award for Disability Rights Activism.
“Spirit Synott works hard to increase diversity and accessibility in our industry,” says Ferne Downey, ACTRA National. “This year we celebrate the United Nations' International Day for Persons with Disabilities by applauding Spirit for the vision and strength that she has provided to her union and to the entertainment industry.”
Spirit Synott is an actor, dancer, performer and a member of ACTRA. She has served on the ACTRA Toronto Council and has spent many years volunteering her time on both the ACTRA Toronto and ACTRA National Diversity Committees. Synott has advised ACTRA on the importance of accessibility and thinking inclusively when it comes to communicating with members, and has helped to bring awareness to the importance of closed captioning, video describe and large print options, as well as accessible office layout.
Among her many contributions, Synott helped research and execute a survey of accessible training, casting and production facilities and has worked with ACTRA and the industry to create tools for inclusivity, including a print campaign on working with deaf actors, the Accessibility Demo Reel, (a demo reel of physically diverse performers that was produced by the ACTRA Toronto Diversity Committee and distributed to casting directors and agents) and events called "Casting Go-Sees" that create forums for casting agents to meet with actors living with disabilities. She is featured in The Audition, link here. This popular video is about accessibility in the workplace, and was created by ACTRA's Diversity Committee.
“Spirit is an inspiration to others from the disability community and sends a strong message that being an artist is a viable profession to those in the physically diverse community,” states Jani Lauzon, Chair of ACTRA’s National Diversity Committee and Ms. Synott’s nominator. “Her many years of activism and commitment to the arts, her union and our industry are an inspiration to all of us.”
The Carol McGregor Disability Award recognizes the outstanding contributions of a worker with a disability who has made a significant and lasting impact on her/his union and/or the community by promoting and defending the rights of persons with disabilities.
ACTRA (Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists) is the national union of professional performers working in the English-language recorded media in Canada. ACTRA represents the interests of 22,000 members across Canada.