Alan Shain's solo work in theatre blends comedy with a strong flavour of honesty and truth while drawing from the lived experience of disability. He has been touring his first original play, Still Waiting for That Special Bus, across Canada, England, the United States and Australia since 1999. Alan has performed this solo work for over 350 audiences, receiving both national and international critical acclaim such as:
“Very witty and very down to earth” - from CBC Radio
“A thoughtful one-man comedy about sex and the single wheelchair-guy” - from the Winnipeg Free Press.
Alan’s writing on disability arts and culture has been featured in the Canadian Theatre Review (Spring 2005, where he also appeared on its cover) as well as in Blizzart (Fall 2001) by the Canadian Conference of the Arts. Abilities Magazine (Fall 2005), Canada’s leading national publication on disability issues, also featured Alan on the cover of their Fall 2005 issue.
Alan’s sketch comedy has been featured twice on MOVING ON, a national TV show aired on CBC TV. As well, he has been the subject of numerous news documentaries over the past ten years on CBC TV, CJOH TV, CBC radio and the Ottawa Citizen.
Alan has taken acting taining from Trevor John studios in Ottawa and from The Ottawa Little Theatre. He has taken numerous movement workshops with Peter Ryan from prima materia as well as storytelling workshops featuring performers from Storytellers of Canada. He holds an Undergraduate degree in Political Science and Sociology, and a Masters degree in Social Work where he graduated with distinction. His thesis was written on disability and theatre.
Along with theatre, Alan’s work has also gained recognition within storytelling, dance and stand-up comedy. He has toured with Yuk Yuk’s Komedy and recently appeared at the John F. Kennedy Centre for the Performing Arts. His stand-up act is a hysterical rebuff at public attitudes to disability, he attempts to answer burning questions such as 'Do wheelchair-people ever go to the bathroom? Are all wheelchair-people related to each other? Do they ever think about sex?' You’ll probably learn just a little bit more from Alan than you really wanted to know.
Alan is an active member of the Ottawa Storytellers, and has appeared regularly at the National Art Centre’s 4th Stage since 2001. He has performed every year at the Ottawa Storytellers Festival since 2002. Alan was one of the few invited guests to the Toronto Storytellers Festival in 2004.
Alan Shain’s work in dance has focused on Improvisation and Contact Improv. His main interest in dance is the development of movement vocabulary which embraces physical disability to express beauty, power and autonomy.
Since 2002, Alan has frequently performed improv with Shara Weaver, appearing at the Bijou Jazz Club, the Avante-Garde Bar, Carleton University, Ottawa City Hall, and the Congress Centre. Alan and Shara have also toured to Burlington, Vermont to perform at the First Night Festival where they had live musical accompaniment by soloist Ken Easton.
This past July 2006, Alan appeared at Buddies in Bad Times theatre in a structured improv piece entitled “Three Men Being.” with Toronto dance artists Frank Hull and Kazumi Tsuruoka.
Alan has been a featured artist at Calgary’s Balancing Acts festival (held in the EPCOR centre for the Performing Arts) during three of the past five years performing theatre, stand-up comedy as well as dance.
Since 2002 Alan has been a MASC (Multi-cultural Artists in Schools and Communities) artist in Ottawa and on the Prologue for the Performing Arts roster in Toronto. Over the past 5-years, he has performed theatre, comedy and storytelling in over 100 schools.
In 2003, he was invited to perform at the Above and Beyond Festival in England. In 2004, he performed at the VSA International Disability Arts Festival in Washington DC. In 2005, his performance opened up the Abilities Festival in Toronto. Between 2002 and 2005, Michele Decottignies of Stage Left Productions has invited Alan out to perform in Calgary 4-times.
His work won him the Artistic Excellence Award from the City of Ottawa in 2005