A New Kind of Listening Logo

A New Kind of Listening is an award winning documentary that takes us inside the creative work of the Community Inclusive Theater Group, as director Richard Reho inspires cast members, some with disabilities, to be writers, actors and dancers in an original collaborative performance. Together they prove that a small community arts project has the power to transform lives.

Documentary  •  2009  •  57 minutes   •  HD  •  English/with English Subtitles

A New Kind of Listening follows the work of an experimental theater group that includes people who are non-speaking related to significant disabilities. The group meets weekly for a year;  together they create an original and compelling performance piece.  The film also tells the story of one member’s intense life-long struggle to communicate.  A New Kind of Listening is a resource and catalyst for building more inclusive communities through the arts. The film demonstrates how people with and without disabilities can work together creatively and have deeply meaningful friendships.

Advocates, artists, educators, non-profits, service-providers, and families can use the film and screening events to promote new ways of thinking about how the arts can connect people of all abilities.


This beautifully successful plea for the inclusive arts movement is strongly recommended for collections serving special populations and those in the arts. Difficult to forget, it should offer inspiration for parents and teachers of special needs children.

Library Journal, August 2011

TASH is an international organization seeking equity, opportunity and inclusion for people with disabilities. A New Kind of Listening was selected for the 2010 TASH Positive Images in the Media Award because it demonstrates new possibilities for community inclusion, communication and friendship. The film is a valuable film for educators, students and service providers in the disability field.

Barb Trader, Executive Director, TASH

Poignant and Sensitive.

Raleigh News and Observer

The most remarkable participant is Chris, a young man who was mislabeled as profoundly mentally retarded before being diagnosed with cerebral palsy. After years of having no means of communication, Chris is given the tools that enable his thoughts to be heard. . . A daring attempt to address—and correct—harsh stereotypes regarding the developmentally disabled, this is highly recommended.”

Video Librarian, February 2012

I know it’s crucial for students with disabilities to join inclusive communities when they become adults. This film shows a practical, positive way to build more inclusive communities, one small arts project at a time. It should be required viewing for all student teachers. I strongly recommend this film as a media resource for all education professors and students.

Dan Habib, Filmmaker, "Including Samuel"

I was moved, inspired and enlightened. I feel strongly that every teacher in training and every professional operating in the field of education should see this powerful, insightful film. I use this valuable, multi-use resource in my classes and have strongly recommended it to hundreds of my colleagues.

Lou Brown, PhD, Professor Emeritus, University of Wisconsin

A New Kind of Listening shows that any form of expression, no matter how arduous or limited, can make a remarkable difference to the lives of people without speech.

Rosemary Crossley, A.M., Ph.D

A rare film that deepens our understanding of what it means to be human and that compels us to widen the circle so that we learn from and with a rich variety of humans with whom we inhabit this earth. Clearly, this film will be instructive and supportive in many learning and community contexts, including for practicing education, medical and human service professionals, pre-service and graduate programs for teachers, social workers, school psychologists, Allied Arts teachers, community education programs and many others.

Jennifer York-Barr, Ph.D, University of Minnesota

A surprising, beautifully made, heartfelt story. This film takes the life of a person some would over look and lifts it up in a simple and elegant film. I highly recommend this to teachers, administrators, and people working in the arts. Parents and family members will see their own journey reflected in this well crafted film.

Alice Elliott, Director, The Collector of Bedford Street and Body and Soul

A beautiful, graceful and tremendously powerful film.

Harlan Gradin, North Carolina Humanities Council

A memorable demonstration of the possibilities for community inclusion. I was moved by the social connections and meaningful interactions between the group members with and without disabilities. I recommend this film as a media resource for those in the arts and education.

Zach S. Rossetti, Ph.D. Special Education Program, Boston University

Powerfully demonstrates the way art enables people to blast apart the labels and limitations that get slapped on them and to evoke the creativity and life force that is at their core.

Kate Savannah, Artist and Advocate

Each one of us who live with a disability have our unique challenges but the hope lies in our abilities. The sounds of silence have never been heard more loudly than in this inspirational work of art.

Nancy Fudge, Mental Health Advocate and Consultant