Founder & Artistic Director of National Disability Theatre
As an autistic and legally blind person living in a society designed by and for non-disabled people, it was always made clear to Mickey Rowe the many things he was apparently incapable of doing. But Rowe did them all anyway—and he succeeded because of, not in spite of, his autism. Read More >
Actor With Autism Takes Center Stage | Great Big Story
Fearlessly Different: Seattle Actor and Author’s Journey to Broadway | KING 5
Autistic Actor Finds His Place at Center Stage | Sunday Today
Why Autistic Actors Should Be Cast In More Roles | Huffington Post
Mozart Meets the Emperor and Salieri | Amadeus
Sometimes just one small action can change a life. For Mickey Rowe, Founder and Artistic Director of National Disability Theatre, it began when he was introduced to Seattle Children’s Theatre by his grandmother. Rowe, who is autistic and legally blind, was told that he could never enter the mainstream world. Acting changed all of that. In this keynote, Rowe shares his deeply personal and inspiring story of growing up autistic and pushing beyond the restrictions of a special education classroom to shine on Broadway. The talk is based on his new memoir: Fearlessly Different: An Autistic Actor's Journey to Broadway's Biggest Stage. He shows all of us that whether disabled or not, the things that make us different are often our biggest strengths.
Right now, disabled students across America are still segregated from non-disabled students--often hidden away from the rest of the school in their own classroom in the back of the building. In this keynote, Mickey Rowe, Founder and Artistic Director of National Disability Theatre, speaks from his personal experience on how segregated education doesn't benefit anyone. He empowers educators with the best practices of Universal Design and emboldens all students to succeed regardless of their challenges.
Not only is a diverse and inclusive workplace morally right, but it is also just good business and makes the most financial sense. Right now, many companies, Microsoft included, have discovered the advantages of hiring disabled employees. As one of the leading experts on autism in our country and as an autistic person himself, Mickey Rowe, Founder and Artistic Director of National Disability Theatre, shares the undeniable business and problem-solving benefits of hiring for diversity and the power of diversity in our workplaces and our world.
Mickey Rowe, Founder and Artistic Director of National Disability Theatre, is not only an expert in the fields of disability, Universal Design and autism but is also an autistic person himself. In this insightful talk, Rowe articulates to parents and medical professionals what autism is like from the inside and “the why” behind many previously not understood autistic behaviors in a way that few can. Rowe helps medical professionals understand the differences between the medical model of disability and the social model and how they can benefit from learning about both.
As an autistic and legally blind person, Mickey Rowe knows what it’s like to feel different and excluded. Like a lot of other disabled students, he was segregated from the rest of the school’s population. But that didn’t stop Rowe from achieving his dreams and helping others. Rowe not only became an advocate in special education, but also an activist for industry-wide change on Broadway. He became the very first autistic actor to play the autistic character Christopher Boone in the Tony Award-winning play “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.” In this inspiring talk, Rowe, Founder and Artistic Director of National Disability Theatre, shares his story of advocating his way all the way to performing on Broadway's biggest stage. He’ll also will disclose the steps you need to take to advocate for yourself and others and make the changes you want to see in the world a reality.
Mickey Rowe had to overcome so many barriers to live his dream of becoming a professional actor and director. In a time when disability was not valued, Rowe, who is autistic, carved his own path and educated others on his own value. His tenacious pursuit of his goals got him all the way from special education (autistic and legally blind) to Broadway's biggest stage. In this motivational talk, he’ll share his story and how you, too, can live your dreams. If he can do it, so can you, Rowe says.
As an autistic man, Mickey Rowe has carved his own path communicating with people very different from himself professionally as a director at some of the nation's largest Tony Award-winning theaters, as a husband, romantic partner, as an award-winning author and as a father. People often compare the challenge of communicating with an autistic person to that of breaching the Mariana Trench or the Dark Side of the Moon. We all often need to communicate with people who seem very different from us. As someone who has broached the biggest communication bridges daily, Rowe shows you how.
"Mickey was amazing, I have heard nothing but compliments for his talk and the Q&A session. He was the perfect kickoff to a wonderful day of learning."
“My father was a preacher and Mickey was preaching! Mickey just changed hundreds of lives with that speech.”
“Mickey's speech moved one of the attendees so much that he gave us a check for $10,000 on the spot and promised to pay all of the expenses to bring Mickey back next year.”
“Mickey's warmth and grace instantly put our guests at ease. All of the guests I spoke to said that this was the best Gourmet Lunchbox Event we've ever had, and last year our speaker was Maya Angelou, so that is saying a lot. He gave parents the ability to understand their own children and feel hope for the first time.”
"Mickey Rowe was wonderful! What a great presentation. He provided our audience with a great keynote. Had the entire audience loving his presentation. He was authentic. Love to have him come back again!"
"Mickey Rowe is a living example of overcoming adversity as an activist and leader for change. Fearlessly Different sends you on an immersive journey of one's own courage, determination, strength, and self-awareness.
"Mickey Rowe is a gracious, wise, and yes, fearless guide as he enables us to experience the world as he does and more importantly, helps us to envision new possibilities. Mickey is not just an accomplished actor who can command a stage, he’s a thinker who can expand our understanding of ‘difference’ and ‘normal.’ He’s also a generous writer with a distinctive voice and the skill to make ‘Fearlessly Different’ a deeply personal reading experience—like a good conversation with a smart and kind friend who has a lot to share."
"Mickey Rowe’s Fearlessly Different is fascinating, educating, elucidating, and sometimes enraging. It is inspirational and eye-opening. It is insightful and, hopefully, inciting — a call for action, for necessary and overdue change, for a vital, urgent reframing and rethinking of disability. But mostly, Fearlessly Different is a very good story — several of them, in fact — of resilience and courage and the strength and power of being two things: different and who you are."
"Mickey is the definition of a ‘trailblazer’, and blazes with such grace and effervescence, through the highs of success and rollercoaster of life he remains grounded and relatable. This book is personal, charming, important and touching. No matter one's lived experience it is incredibly pertinent."
“Fearlessly Different is a powerful story about succeeding because of—rather than despite—one’s disability. Rowe paints an authentic picture of navigating our oftentimes ableist and inaccessible world with determination, humor, and love. His story is vital.”
"Mickey overcomes so much to set such an amazing example of what is possible for all of us who struggle to overcome barriers and obstacles, his story will have a powerful impact on all of us in raising our belief and confidence to go after our dreams. Thank you Mickey."
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