RespectAbility Children’s Content Lab for Disabled TV Creators, 2022
Matt Opatrny is an award-winning playwright, screenwriter, performer, and teacher. He wrote eight episodes of DreamWorks Animation’s preschool series “Not Quite Narwhal” soon to premiere on Netflix, and several episodes of Moonbug Entertainment’s “CoComelon Story Time” podcast series out on Spotify. He is currently the head writer of “Daisy”, an independent production of a new science-based live-action preschool series. Matt writes stories that celebrate differences and show kindness, compassion, and thoughtfulness as superpowers to aspire to. He is visually impaired due to a degenerative retinal condition and is currently developing a preschool animated series with a visually impaired protagonist. As a playwright, he has won multiple awards including the 2018 New York Innovative Theatre Award for Outstanding Play for “The Snow Queen” (for children and family audiences, based on H.C. Andersen). His eleven full-length plays have been performed in New York City, across the country, and on international tours. He has taught numerous workshops to students from elementary school to university graduate level, earning a Special Commendation from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. He was a co-founder and Managing Director of Blessed Unrest, an award-winning physical theatre ensemble based in New York City. As a performer, he has appeared extensively Off-Broadway, on international tours, and on stage at The Moth storytelling events. He is a graduate of Clemson University, was selected as a 2022 RespectAbility Lab fellow, and owes much of who he is to the sea turtles of Costa Rica.
After an extensive search and interview process, 15 individuals were invited to participate in RespectAbility’s inaugural cohort of the Children’s Content Lab. This new Lab provides education and training for disabled writers, animators, and creative executives interested in preschool and children’s television and streaming content. Supported by Netflix’s Fund for Creative Equity, the Children’s Content Lab spans five weeks and includes in-person programming in New York City with production partners 9 Story Media Group and Silvergate Media, a part of Sony Pictures Television.