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"Telethon!" 2016: Pamela Sabaugh

Equity in the Arts
Pamela Sabaugh

"Telethon!" is a virtual, theatrical event taking place on The Lark's blog every Tuesday and Thursday this September, produced by The Apothetae and The Lark to raise awareness and support for The Apothetae and Lark Initiative and Playwriting Fellowship. Each week, The Apothetae and The Lark will publish new videos created by members of the community, inspired by The Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon, an event that has faced criticism not only for using Disabled people as a fundraising tool, but also for focusing the public's attention on medical cures to "normalize" people with disabilities. The Apothetae and The Lark see this as an opportunity for Disabled artists to begin to reclaim agency and ownership around their stories, images, and bodies.

Immaculate Degeneration

Video Direction and Content Management: Kristjan Thor
Special Thanks to the New York Conservatory For The Dramatic Arts

Pamela Sabaugh is a professional actor, singer, musician, and writer living in New York City. She is also a core company member and Artistic Associate with Theater Breaking Through Barriers (TBTB), an integrated company working to advance artists with disabilities.

Her critically acclaimed solo rock musical, Immaculate Degeneration, premiered in the 2012 New York International Fringe Festival, and is published under “Best of the Fringe,” at Indie Theater

Speaking to Jacqueline Lawton for TCG’s Diversity & inclusion Blog Series in 2014, she said:

For me personally, I have never liked to be categorized. I don’t believe in labels in general, and in my case I truly do fall through the cracks. When I was 14 years old, I was diagnosed with Juvenile Macular Degeneration, which caused me to lose sight in my central vision, and rendered me “legally blind.” This means my vision can’t be improved with corrective lenses, but I do not need to use a white cane to get around, and I use what vision I was left with to the best of my ability. Therefore on the surface, I may appear to be fully sighted. Ever since the diagnosis, I  have struggled with how exactly to explain what it is I do or do not see, deal with how I’m mistakenly being seen, or figure out where exactly I fit in. I wrote my solo show, Immaculate Degeneration, in part as an attempt to grapple with these complex issues of identity, and the failing of labels in  general when dealing with disability, especially this even lesser understood category of invisible disability.

I have acted in many more sighted roles than blind. And never have I seen a role written for someone whose vision is like that of my own. That’s why I wrote a play about it, to try to articulate and come to terms with being in-between.

The theme of “betweenness,” however,  resonates with me in ways that go beyond being somewhere between sighted and blind. It gives me a unique perspective. Things are not always as they seem; one’s life experience and identity can’t be boiled down into black and white generalities. Disability has shaped my point of view, but that does not mean I should only be viewed as someone who is disabled. And this has a lot to do with why I feel so passionate on the subject of integration and inclusion.

Thank you for tuning in to "Telethon!" 2016 on The Lark's blog!

The Apothetae and The Lark are eager to launch this new Initiative, and are ready to do so as soon as we have the funds in place! We are currently seeking major supporters to help us make our plans possible. If you are interested in helping us please contact Development Manager, Roni Ferretti at

Check back each week for new content, and get involved by sharing your thoughts in the comments section, or by signing up for The Apothetae and Lark Initiative's dedicated email list to receive updates. To donate, access The Lark's donation form and enter "The Apothetae" under "Notes Regarding Gift."

Other "Telethon!" Videos