The Royal Shakespeare Company has unveiled plans to “level the playing field” for disabled actors by casting them in new productions in what one said marked “another massive crack in the glass ceiling”.

Gregory Doran, the RSC’s artistic director, has picked Karina Jones, who is visually impaired, Charlotte Arrowsmith, who is deaf, and Amy Trigg, who is a wheelchair user, among 27 actors for forthcoming productions of As You Like It, The Taming of the Shrew and Measure for Measure.

Doran told the Observer: “I wanted to really reflect the nation… from the point of view of Hamlet holding the mirror up to nature.” He added: “It’s also about working with the rest of society – not just, as it were, a white middle-class elite.”

Trigg, who was born with spina bifida, said: “Many theatre companies have been championing diverse work, including that of brilliant deaf and disabled artists, for years. But having a high-profile theatre company like the RSC welcome deaf and disabled artists feels like another massive crack in the glass ceiling. This will hopefully encourage other theatre companies, as well as the TV and film industry, to take more steps towards being truly diverse.”

Trigg will play Biondella (a feminised Biondello) in The Taming of the Shrew and Juliet in Measure for Measure. “Biondella is a servant and Juliet is pregnant, so I’m pretty thrilled that you’ll see a working disabled woman on stage in one play and a pregnant disabled woman in another,” she said.

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