Melbourne International Comedy Festival and Guide Dogs join forces because access is no joke
A Guide Dog walks into a bar... because Guide Dogs are allowed everywhere!
Melbourne International Comedy Festival and Guide Dogs Victoria have come together to promote inclusion and access for people with low vision or blindness at this year’s Festival, and remind the community about Guide Dog Access Rights.
Comedian, actor and Guide Dogs Ambassador Michelle Brasier is spearheading the activity, along with the Festival’s cutest attendee - her Ambassador Dog Eva - who was trained by Guide Dogs Victoria.
The two-year-old black Labrador will attend shows across the Festival to increase awareness that Guide Dogs can go everywhere, and share cheeky ‘five-paw’ reviews and exclusive backstage videos on social media at @guidedogsaustralia and @guidedogseva.
“It’s fabulous to see our beautiful city come alive again after the past year. It’s time we all well and truly had a laugh. But we want everyone to have that same opportunity - and to feel welcome and included. Thanks to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, we hope more people will understand and gain awareness of access rights for people with low vision or blindness,” said Karen Hayes, CEO of Guide Dogs Victoria.
“We are thrilled to be collaborating with Guide Dogs Victoria to highlight inclusion for patrons with low vision or blindness. Comedy is a broadly accessible artform and I hope this initiative with the wonderfully funny Michelle Brasier and her adorable Ambassador Dog Eva will shine a spotlight on Guide Dog access rights to even further promote accessibility at our Festival and across the community” said Damien Hodgkinson, Executive Director of Melbourne International Comedy Festival.
To coincide with the Festival, Guide Dogs Victoria has launched a new Access All Areas campaign, led by a Brasier-directed video, that features herself and Broden Kelly of Aunty Donna fame. The awareness video uses humour to highlight the unreasonable nature of Guide Dog refusals.
“The special bond and partnership between a person and their Guide Dog opens up opportunities and experiences. Nobody should be shut out from having a laugh or enjoying a night out and that’s why Guide Dogs, and their Handlers, have access all areas,” said Michelle Brasier.
“This campaign is very close to my heart. Accessibility in the arts is becoming more and more of a priority but we have a long way to go before everyone can enjoy a night out at the theatre. I'm working with Guide Dogs to help spread the word on how we can all be more inclusive. The arts are for everyone to enjoy and to work in. We need our practice to catch up to our ideas so that the arts are truly accessible for everyone. Being inclusive makes it better for everyone.”
About Guide Dog Access Rights
Guide Dogs with their Handlers have the legal right to access event spaces, businesses, and public transport including taxis and rideshare vehicles. It is discriminatory and unlawful to deny these rights to a person with low vision or blindness, or treat that person less favourably, solely because the person is accompanied by a Guide Dog. For more information visit www.guidedogs.com.au
Eva’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival Schedule
Ambassador Dog Eva will be attending shows including: