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DAFT Code of Conduct

This page contains DAFT's Kaupapa, Code of Conduct and information on disability ettiquette.

Disabled Artists Festival of Theatre Kaupapa

Our purpose is to showcase the vast amount of talent in the Disabled, d/Deaf, and Neurodivergent communities, and to up-skill our community by offering opportunities for performance and for development. 

We also want to increase access to quality shows and workshops for those who are often excluded, and to create a public showcase both of what we can do, and of what accessibility can look like.

Disabled Artists Festival of Theatre is Disabled, d/Deaf, and neurodivergent led, embodying “nothing about us without us” principles, and the social model of disability.
We are devoted to intersectionality, inclusivity, and a human rights based approach. 

Disabled Artists Festival of Theatre is dedicated to creating a welcoming, supportive, and above all accessible, platform for DDN (D/deaf, Disabled, and/or Neurodivergent) performing artists, creatives, technicians, and all the other aspects of performing arts.

Accessibility is at the heart of what we do, not only for audiences, but for performers, creatives, and festival organisers.
We aim to fill contracts with disabled people wherever we have the option, and support each other to thrive. 

We respect people’s spoons, selves, and authentic ways of being. We want everyone to be able to bring their whole selves to the festival, and the surrounding mahi. 

Our main goal is always to do better next year than last year. No festival is perfect, no group is perfect, and there is no such thing as completely accessible for everyone. Through community and festival feedback, community engagement, observation, and a fair amount of trial and error, the goal is to continually improve and evolve to meet the needs of our communities.



Audiences and Volunteers

Everyone is welcome in our audiences, and as volunteers, we welcome non-disabled, hearing neurotypical allies, and of course d/Deaf, disabled, and neurodivergent people are welcomed as audiences and volunteers too!


Workshop Participation and Performing

Workshops and performance opportunities are reserved for Disabled, d/Deaf, and Neurodivergent people, and those with personal lived experience (please see the FAQs for more info).

Wellbeing Wingpeople

Our Wellbeing Wingpeople will be available at every in person event. They will be wearing pink fluoro vests and badges that say DAFT Team. The badges have little bells on them so that blind and low vision people can also find them more easily. 

If you need assistance, have a question, can’t find something, have an access need, or generally need a friendly face, our Wellbeing Wingpeople will be there to support you, and if they can’t provide what you need, they can fetch either a member of the core Festival team, or a member of BATS staff, depending on the need.



The rest of the DAFT Team will also be wearing “DAFT Team” badges with little bells on them. You can ask a DAFT Team member anything you would ask a Wellbeing Wingperson, so it's all good if you are going off the sound of bells alone. 


For existing access information please see our Venues and Access tab at


Access Needs

We are a small, local festival, in its second year, run by and for disabled, d/Deaf, and neurodivergent people. 

DAFT undertakes to meet as many access needs as we can, if you have an access need that is not listed, or is not being met, please do get in touch with us, we will do our best to meet it.

Disabled Artists Festival of Theatre Code Of Conduct

We are a young festival, in our second year as of 2023. 

The Festival Team reserves the right to update this code of conduct, and will consider all requests for changes to the code of conduct.

What it is

What it is

The Disabled Artists Festival of Theatre Code of Conduct is a set of instructions to help keep everyone safe and well. It will help us all to look after each other and make Disabled Artists Festival of Theatre a welcoming place for everyone.

Who it is for 

Everyone who is part of running DAFT, or who signs up to be part of DAFT2023, has to follow this Code of Conduct.

For example:

  • Performers

  • Workshop participants

  • Festival coordinators and contractors

  • Teachers

  • Show Directors

  • DAFT Co-directors.

Who it is not for

We cannot ask BATS staff to sign our Code of Conduct, however they already have their own Code of Conduct they will be following, we ask that everyone at DAFT also follow the BATS code of conduct.
Audiences are not asked to sign our code of conduct, BATS are responsible for handling inappropriate audience conduct, and DAFT will work with BATS to bring any issues to their attention.  Our audiences are usually lovely, warm and supportive.
At 2/57 Willis Street, and online, the DAFT team will be responsible for handling inappropriate audience conduct. 


Short Summary of the Code of Conduct

Be a decent human, treat everyone with respect, agency, kindness and dignity. 

If you have Covid, have symptoms, or are a household contact, stay away, everyone else mask up if you can. 

No bananas allowed due to allergies. 

This is a safe space to be your authentic, disabled, d/Deaf, neurodivergent, human person self, so long as it doesn’t restrict someone else's safety, wellbeing, and rights, please follow the needs of your brain, body, and spirit, and allow others to do the same. 

Always obtain consent before touching a person, or their mobility aids, or asking personal questions.
Be professional, while also being your safe, authentic, disabled self. 

Disabled Artists Festival of Theatre does not tolerate harassment, bullying, ableism, racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, fat-phobia, discrimination, hate speech, stalking, unwanted sexual advances, unwanted physical contact (including unwanted touching of mobility aids and assistance animals), and similar behaviours. At DAFT, at any of the venues or online spaces, or from those involved in the festival. 

If you need assistance, the sound of bells, and sight of a fluoro pink vest, will guide you to a Wellbeing Wingperson. 

If you need anything please email

Short summary

Full Code of Conduct

Covid Safety  (Last updated September 13th 2023)


Many members of our community are vulnerable to Covid and other illnesses.

Our Covid policies are stricter than the government’s to keep everyone safe. 

If you have Covid stay home. 

If you have symptoms of a cold, flu, or Covid, stay home.

If you have Covid

If you have tested positive for Covid, please do NOT attend DAFT in person for at least 7 days. If it is more than 7 days since you tested positive, please continue to test and monitor for symptoms, you may return to attending in person 2 days after you test negative and stop displaying symptoms of active infection. (We understand that there may be post-covid symptoms for a long time after, so long as the acute symptoms of illness are gone, and you have tested negative for two days, you may return).


If you are a household contact

If someone you live with has Covid, and you cannot reliably isolate from them, please stay home for 7 days from when they tested positive. If at that point you are still testing negative, you may return to DAFT.


If you are a close contact

Test daily and monitor for symptoms

Please consider the circumstances, how close you were, how long for, whether you were both wearing masks, etc. If you were exposed in a high risk way, please stay away for at least 3 days and test before returning. 


If you test positive at the festival

If you discover you have Covid after you attend an event, please email and let us know when you tested positive and what events you attended before that.



Please wear a mask when not performing, unless you are unable to wear one. If you need to talk to anyone who needs to see your face for communication reasons then you are welcome  to remove your mask, please put it on again afterwards. 

It is assumed if someone is not wearing a mask, they are unable to, please respect this and do not hassle them about it, and wear your own mask to help protect them too. If you are concerned about someone not wearing a mask please check in with a member of the festival team, rather than asking them yourself, to prevent those who can’t wear a mask being constantly questioned about it.


For Performers and Contractors

If you cannot perform or fulfill your contract due to following these Covid safety requirements, you will still be paid as if you had fulfilled them, and following these requirements will not negatively impact any future work with us. We will thank you so, so much for taking one for the team and keeping everyone safe and well.


For Audiences

If you cannot attend a show you booked for because you are following these safety requirements, please let us know as far in advance as possible. Provided you let us know the reason at least 1 hour before the show, we will work with BATS to secure a refund of your ticket. 


If there is a disability reason that prevents you from following the code of conduct, then we will take things on a case by case basis, there is a difference between wilful misconduct, and a disability or access need. For example you can respectfully watch a show, and still move around, stim, and tick during it, because existing while disabled is not disrespectful.  



Absolutely NO BANANAs, or banana products, at any DAFT event, a team member is severely allergic.


If you have a serious allergy to anything please email, and we will do our best to keep that item out of the spaces we are using. However there will be a large number of people across our events, and not everything can be under our control, we can’t make any promises, we cannot ensure any space is completely free of anything, but if we know about it we can add it to the above list and alert the team.


Assistance Dogs

Assistance dogs are welcome at all our events and venues, this is literally the law, and a law we are very happy to actively uphold. 



If you can access the inaccessible toilets and accessible toilets equally, with ease, safety, and dignity, then please use the inaccessible ones. 

Presume competence

Please treat everyone as an individual with the right and ability to make their own decisions, and to be responsible for their own actions and choices. 


Consent must be obtained for any physical interaction, touch, hugs, handshakes, guiding blind people, whatever. 

Do not touch mobility aids (wheelchairs, walkers, walking sticks, white canes, etc), assistance dogs, assistive devices (AAC devices, braille displays, hearing aids, phones and tablets, stim toys, etc), without first obtaining the person’s consent. Many of us view these items as a part of our bodies or our selves, and they are often expensive, delicate, and very important. 

We all vary greatly in the levels of touch we like, some people may want to form a cuddle pile, others may want three feet of personal space at all times, both are valid, consent is key. If you want to touch someone, get consent first.

Consent for questions

Many d/Deaf, Disabled, or Neurodivergent people face a lot of questions in our day to day lives, please be aware of this, and ask for consent to ask about someone’s identity, disability, assistive device, mobility aid, etc etc. 

Many of us enjoy connecting with each other and asking each other questions, and many of us enjoy educating allies, but not everyone does, and even those of us who do get tired sometimes, so please always ask first and respect the answer. 

Ignore Assistance Dogs

If a disability assistance dog is in harness, it is working, let them do their jobs. Do not stare at, pet, talk to, say the name of, or otherwise distract a working assistance dog, it is important that they can focus on their human and the important job they are doing.
If the dog isn’t in harness ask for consent from the human before interacting with the unharnessed dog. 


We’re Not Doctors

No unsolicited medical advice. If you want to share with others anecdotes of what worked for you personally, then, so long as they agree, go ahead. But please do not offer medical advice to others attending the festival. 



No gatekeeping or ‘policing’ disabilities. Absolutely no accusing anyone of ‘faking’ their disability. We do not ask for ‘proof’ of disabilities. We know there are many barriers to diagnosis in our society, and we accept those who are self diagnosed or questioning. 



Identity and disclosure are deeply personal things for many disabled, d/Deaf, and Neurodivergent people. Some people are happy to share their identities, others are not. No one is required to disclose their disability, condition, neurotype, weather they are Deaf or hearing, etc.
Some opportunities and events are only open to those with lived experience, in this case, it is expected that people disclose whether or not they have that lived experience, but not what that experience is.
It will be public knowledge that all performers and workshop participants and performers have lived experience of some kind, so please be aware that the fact you have that experience will be public, but not what it is, unless you want it to be. If you want to disclose, or shout it from the rooftops, then you are absolutely welcome to!

Alcohol Licensing

Do not bring your own alcohol into any of our venues.

Although there is alcohol available at BATS, BATS is a licensed venue and you cannot bring your own alcohol. If for some reason you have alcohol with you take it to the bar immediately, the staff will look after it until you leave. There is a hefty fine for alcohol brought into bats by those using the space, which bats will pass on to you. 



Respect people’s gender identity, use correct pronouns and names, if you are unsure or have memory issues it is okay to ask someone’s name or pronouns multiple times. 


Be Kind

Be open to, and respectful of, different communication styles, social behaviours, cultural backgrounds, languages (including voiced, signed, and written languages), neurotypes, and ways of being.

Content (for performers)

If you are performing at DAFT, or presenting a show, it is expected that you will:

Provide appropriate trigger warnings for content that may be upsetting, a common PTSD trigger, or inappropriate for young audiences. 

We all use our lived experiences in our work, and it is expected our work may include references to ableism, and we have the right to tell our stories, and to find the humour and story within them. Making fun of our own disabilities, struggles, lives, and experiences in a world not built for us is not only fine, its often very empowering. This is different to making jokes about minority communities we do not belong to, which have the potential to make people within that community uncomfortable, or even unsafe. 

It is expected that we follow the comedy rule of “always punch up”, meaning making fun of those with social power over you is all good, as is self-deprecating humour, and generally humour about minorities you belong to. 

If you aren’t sure if material is appropriate for the festival, please check in with the team. 


Teachers, performers, directors

If you are presenting work or teaching at DAFT we will provide a lot of the access for you, there will be things we need from you to support this, such as scripts for NZSL translation, information for our community audio describers, etc. If you need to provide materials to the festival, or participants, please ensure they are available in advance in accessible formats, we are happy to work with you to achieve this.

Email all materials to


Conflicting access needs

Conflicting access needs happen when what one person needs is in direct conflict with what another person needs. For example an Autistic person may stim (self sooth) by chewing, and someone with a sensory sensitivity to chewing sounds may find that unbearable. 

When conflicting access needs arise the first step will be for the festival team to try to find a way to accommodate both access needs. In the given example, perhaps these two people just need to sit on opposite sides of the theatre.
It may also be a case of providing accessibility or assistance to meet needs in another way. 

If this doesn’t work then we will ask both parties to consider other options, and if they think they can cope without the need being fully met.

We will also consider if there are any applicable laws which require one or both of the needs to be met, and what role each person is performing within the festival.

If no agreement can be reached, and there aren’t laws making it clear, and neither person has a greater need to be there, the DAFT team will have to make a decision about which needs to meet, or whether to trade off events, with some meeting one need, some the other. 


Alcohol and drugs

Performers, festival team members, teachers, workshop participants, wellbeing wingpeople, ushers, volunteers, audio describers, interpreters, MCs and other people involved with performances and running the festival should remain sober until they have completed all their tasks and activities in that role for the day. 

For example you can have an alcoholic drink after your performance if you want, but not before please. Likewise, please do not teach, volunteer, perform, etc high on recreational drugs. 

Medicine is fine, including medical cannabis taken for a health condition or disability. We understand that some medicines, particularly pain meds can also get you high even taken as directed, that’s fine, please take your meds as you normally would, we don’t want anyone to be in pain. 

Please follow all laws and respect the requirements of our venues



If you are smoking or vaping in any outdoor areas where it is allowed that’s fine, let us know if you need a chair or anything, but please be respectful of those around you, and check in in case people have breathing conditions, asthma, sensory sensitivities etc. 



DAFT is dedicated to providing a harassment-free festival experience for everyone, regardless of gender, age, sexual orientation, disability, neurotype, hearing status, physical appearance, body size, race, or religion (or lack thereof). We do not tolerate harassment of any kind including sexual harassment. Harassment can be in any form such as:

  •  Offensive or intimidating verbal comments

  •  Deliberate intimidation

  •  Unwelcome physical attention (including to mobility aids and assistance dogs)

  •  Non‐consensual photography or recording

  •  Sustained disruption or heckling

  •  Unwelcome sexual attention

  •  Stalking

  •  And more.


We value your safety and security. If another participant is engaging in behaviour that makes you feel unsafe please advise a member of the DAFT team. You can also ask a Wellbeing Wingperson to fetch a DAFT team member or to pass on a complaint.

BATS staff are responsible for the behaviour of audiences at BATS, if inappropriate behaviour is coming from an audience member, please let a member of BATS Staff  know. If you don’t know if the person is a participant or an audience member please ask a DAFT Team Member.

If you do not feel it appropriate to alert the DAFT team at that time, email as soon as possible. Please note content sent to this email address is visible to the entire DAFT admin team. Any complaints will be treated confidentially. There will be no retaliation against any person who in good faith raises a concern, reports an incident and/or participates in an investigation under this policy. Any individual who believes that he or she has been retaliated against in any manner should report the matter to one or both of the co-directors: Kate Spenser and Susan Williams. 

The festival team reserves the right to deem a behaviour unacceptable, or against the spirit of the Code of Conduct, even if it is not explicitly listed here. We aren’t going to leap on the least little thing, but we also aren’t gods and can’t foresee every possible situation. Just be respectful to others, the spaces, and the spirit of the festival and everything should be fine. 

Procedure for Reporting

  • First step: Notify one of the DAFT Team members present at the event. (Wellbeing Wingpeople should fetch a more senior member of the team)

  • Second step: If step one is not appropriate, email with your complaint in writing. A member of the DAFT Team will respond

  • Final step: If step one or two is not appropriate, contact the Co-Directors directly. 

All complaints will be taken seriously

Persons violating the Code of Conduct may be asked to leave the venue at the sole discretion of the Daft Team or BATS staff. Payments for performance services or refunds of tickets may not be given.

The Daft Team will be happy to help find solutions and to assist those experiencing harassment to stay safe and feel safe for the duration of the event.
In case of a life‐threatening emergency, dial 1‐1‐1.
There will be no retaliation against any person who in good faith raises a concern, reports an incident and/or participates in an investigation under this policy.
All concerns and complaints will be treated with confidentiality to the extent practicable without compromising the investigation and/or resolution of the matter, and will be investigated thoroughly and promptly. Where possible, DAFT will attempt to resolve the issue informally (for example, by speaking to the alleged harasser and/or counselling the parties). However, this does not preclude more formal corrective or disciplinary action. 

Etiquette in Disabled, Neurodivergent, and d/Deaf spaces

No one is perfect, no one is expected to be perfect, we are all still learning, and will be for the rest of our lives. This is a guide only, and is intended to help everyone feel safe and comfortable in interactions. No one is expected to memorise this :) (smiley face)


Above all, we all have different preferences and experiences, if someone asks you to treat them differently from these guidelines, then please do as they ask.


Emotional Labour

Always check in first to see if someone has the emotional energy to answer questions about their disability, experiences, or life. 


Remember we don’t all know each other

Who are we kidding, it’s Pōneke, we all know each other, or at least a friend of a friend, but beyond all being in the very small performing arts community, we don’t actually all know each other. 


Identity and Language

Please always respect what an individual person identifies as. Please use the language they ask for to talk about them. Identity is deeply personal, and if someone’s identity is different from what is listed here, then you should use what they ask for. 


Disabled is not a bad word. 

A lot of us prefer what is called ‘identity first language’, so would use words like:

  • Disabled person (Not ‘person with a disability’, and definitely not ‘differently abled’)

  • Autistic person (Not ‘person with Autism’) 

  • Blind

  • Deaf

  • Neurodivergent.

This can vary from person to person, and community to community though. 


Assistance Dogs

Assistance dogs are welcome at all our events and venues, this is literally the law, and a law we are very happy to actively uphold. 


Etiquette for being around assistance dogs

Members of our communities may use assistance dogs for many different tasks, for many different disabilities, visible and invisible, and assistance dogs come in all sorts of sizes and breeds, they aren’t all guide dogs, and they aren’t all labradors, although there are plenty of guide dog labradors around too. 

If an assistance dog is in harness please do not distract the dog, do not pat them, do not stare at them, do not talk to them, do not say their name, just let the dog do their job, and of course always talk to the handler (the person with the dog) not to the dog. Never attempt to remove an assistance dog from their handler. 

If an assistance dog is out of harness always ask the handler if it is okay before petting or interacting with an out of harness assistance dog, just as you would with any other dog. 

Mobility Aids and assistive devices

We often consider our mobility aids, items like wheelchairs, white canes, walkers, prosthetics, walking sticks, glasses, hearing aids, assistive communication devices, crutches, and other similar items to be a part of our body, or a part of ourself. Please treat them as such. 

Never touch a mobility aid or assistive device without permission, whether the person is using it or not. Even if you have permission to touch a person, do not touch their mobility aid or device without explicit permission. Never push a wheelchair user without their express permission, its like picking someone up and moving them. 

Never ever pick someone up without being asked to, yes even if you are hugging them. 

Never ever touch a white cane while someone is using it, it's like you put a hand over their eyes. 



We get it, we are awesome! We’re all artists and most of us absolutely adore praise! Please do praise us for our work! Please be aware however that many of us feel uncomfortable being praised, or called ‘brave’ or ‘inspirational’, for just existing while disabled, d/Deaf, or neurodivergent. 

So please, praise us on our stunning performances, sparkling wit, fabulous dress sense, and glorious personalities ;) (winking face)


Prayers and ‘cures’

Unless specifically asked, don’t offer to pray for a disabled, neurodivergent, or d/Deaf person to be ‘healed’ or ‘cured’. Even if they share the same faith as you, it is still unlikely to be welcomed by a lot of people.

In fact, please don’t assume all disabled, d/Deaf, or neurodivergent people even want a ‘cure’. While some people would absolutely jump at the chance for a cure, many others have complex and conflicting emotions about the idea, and many more do not believe there is anything ‘wrong’ that needs a ‘cure’ at all, and find the idea of ‘curing’ a part of their identity offensive. 

Speak to Us

Some of us use interpreters, assistance dogs, support workers, etc. Some of us are just going places with friends or family. Sometimes its a mix. Please do address us directly, instead of talking about us to the person (or animal) we are with.


NZSL Interpreters

If you are talking to a d/Deaf person with the assistance of an interpreter, unless instructed otherwise, please talk to the d/Deaf person directly and normally, as you would to anyone else. You may need to pause at the end of what you are saying and wait for a reply. 


AAC (assistive communication devices)

Some people use assistive devices (high tech, low tech, or a human) as well as, or instead of, their voices. This may take time, please be patient and pause the conversation to wait for a reply, and speak to the person directly, rather than the person or object they are using to communicate. 


Blind People

If you know or suspect someone may be blind or have low vision please introduce yourself (“Hello I’m (Name), I’m an audience member”). Please say your name each time you walk up to them, or each time you are talking in a group. Please do not expect blind people to recognise you on voice alone. Please also let blind people know when you are leaving so no one is left talking to thin air. 


‘Invisible’ disabilities

Not all disabilities may be immediately visible to you, ‘invisible’ disabilities are just as valid as ‘visible’ ones.

Many people also have what we call dynamic disabilities or conditions, this means that a person’s abilities can change from one day to the next, from one task to the next, and even from one moment to the next. Just because someone could do something yesterday, doesn’t mean they can today. Just because someone couldn’t do something yesterday, doesn’t mean they can today. 


Ways of Being

People move, talk, engage, listen, and behave in many different ways. Some people can’t listen while making eye contact, some flap their hands and bounce instead of smiling, some walk around, or lie on the floor, or hum, or fidget, or all sorts of things, this is all perfectly normal and awesome, and nothing to worry about.



You are likely to hear terms like ’spoons’ and ’spoon theory’ and ’spoonie’. If you want a proper explanation, google spoon theory. In short, a spoonie is anyone with limited spoons, spoons are a measure of a disabled, neurodivergent, chronically ill, etc person’s ability to do stuff at the time, it’s not quite the same as energy, but if you think of spoons as measures of energy and ability to do stuff, then its a close enough approximation of what it means.



Where there are seperate accessible and inaccessible toilets please use what you need. If you can access the inaccessible toilets and accessible toilets equally, then please use the inaccessible ones. 

There are many ‘invisible’ disabilities that can mean someone may need to use the accessible toilet, gender diverse people may also be uncomfortable in gendered toilets, and of course wheelchair users will need the accessible toilets, if you need them (for any reason), or would be more comfortable and safe in the accessible toilets, please do use them, if you do not need them (for any reason) then please use the inaccessible ones.

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