RespectAbility Entertainment Professionals Lab, Summer 2022
Ayla Harrison is an LA-based playwright and screenwriter from the backwoods of Florida. From the moment she was born, Harrison’s life was a series of near-death experiences. A rare retinal disease caused her to spend three months in an ICU, and as a result of several complications, this left her blind with low vision before the age of one. Growing up alongside a disability rights/LGBTQIA+ political activist father and a blue-collar Oklahoma-bred mother, Harrison’s work often centers on low-income characters struggling with issues of class, disability, identity, and gender.
While coming up as a playwright, she earned her MFA in Playwriting from UCLA, assistant directed plays at The Geffen Playhouse, worked in the lit department of Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, and taught inner-city kids at The Shakespeare Theatre. Her plays have been produced around the country, with productions and workshops in Los Angeles, New York, Boston, DC, and Nashville. Recently, Harrison was selected to be part of the Women In Film Writers Circle, the Sundance Collab mentor collective, and she has written for TV on Hulu and Netflix.
After an extensive search and interview process, 20 individuals were invited to participate in the Los Angeles Cohort of RespectAbility’s 2022 Entertainment Lab taking place June 7 – July 14, 2022. This 6-week, 18-session Lab aims to further develop and elevate the talent pipeline of diverse professionals with disabilities working behind-the-scenes in television, film, and streaming. Participants include people with physical, cognitive, sensory, mental health, and other disabilities ranging in age from people in their 20’s through their 50’s. The Lab is a recipient of The Roddenberry Foundation Impact Award.
The Los Angeles Cohort of the 2022 Entertainment Lab is made possible with support by:
- Platinum Sponsors: Murray/Reese Foundation and Netflix
- Gold Sponsors: The Harnisch Foundation, Sony Pictures Entertainment, and The Walt Disney Company
- Silver Sponsors: Hollywood Foreign Press Association Charitable Trust, the National Endowment for the Arts, and NBCUniversal
- Location Sponsors: Bunim-Murray Productions, DreamWorks Animation, Endeavor, Lionsgate, Nielsen, and ROSIES Foundation