Waiting for the Bus

Promotional graphic for developmental reading of the play “Waiting for the Bus” shows a young woman seated at a bus stop.


In 2019, we launched this effort to produce a play on the history of the Disability Rights Movement. People with disabilities had long been underrepresented in the media, and our history was largely unknown, even within our own community. This play, we hoped, would be a step toward rectifying that reality.

After Crip Camp brought sweeping attention to disability history, we pivoted away from the events depicted in the film, like the 504 Sit-Ins and the Capitol Crawl, to find stories that had yet to be told. We began to explore the history of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their search for belonging, in institutions and beyond.

Our mighty playwright, James Burnside, joined us from ScriptWorks and TILT Performance Group. Collaborating with James has been an absolute joy! As the pandemic raged, we met regularly on Zoom to share research and discuss story, characters, language, and the many forms our play would take.

We’ve worked hard to create a piece that honors both the horrors and the joys of this history with authentic voices, honesty, and humor. And it’s a history still in the making. Where we go from here depends on all of us—behind the scenes, on stage, and in the audience.


America’s history of institutionalizing disabled people, particularly people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, began in the 1840s with the noble notion of “Moral Therapy.” That what would “cure” these people was light, fresh air, good food, and honest work. Large gothic facilities were built in the countryside, and they rapidly became overcrowded, poorly maintained, and poorly staffed while “patients” were subjected to all manner of experimental “procedures.” This play could easily have been just another horror show​. And that would certainly be a large portion of the truth, but lost would be the humanity of the people who lived in these institutions—people with hopes and dreams and love, people with family and friends.

Script Workshop

Produced by: Art Spark Texas
Written by: James Burnside
Directed by: Amy Tarver
Assistant Directed by: MsBoye Nagle


Adam Griebel
Kurt Wilkinson
Yadira Uranga
MsBoye Nagle
Celia Hughes
Ben B. Bazan
April Patterson
Kennedy Thompson
Chris Humphreys
Sam Slade
Stan McDowell

Special thanks to ATX Theatre & Ground Floor Theatre for their support!

Join Art Spark Texas along with members of TILT Performance Group and ATX Theatre ConFab producers for a developmental reading of James Burnside’s Waiting for the Bus.

Afterwards, stay for a talk led by AST Executive Director Celia Hughes to learn about the genesis of the play and have an opportunity to talk with the playwright, director, and the actors. This is where you can gain new perspectives about what it’s like to live with or without accommodations directly from cast and audience members living with disabilities and from advocates who specialize in providing accommodations. THIS IS THE PLACE where you can finally ask all those burning questions about exactly how to create events that are more accessible to ALL audiences—with the added benefit of witnessing methods in action during the reading.

We will provide ASL interpreting, audio description, and open captions.

Sunday February 19, 1 PM-4 PM

Ground Floor Theatre, 979 Springdale Road, Suite #122, Austin, TX 78702

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