As stressed in the report of the Ombudsperson for Persons with Disabilities in 2014, despite a number of examples of rich and diverse cultural expression of many children and persons with disabilities, their artistic endeavours are not sufficiently supported in general nor are their activities sufficiently present in the media. Specific strategies to support people with disabilities as professionals in the cultural labour market are lacking as well as general policies related to this sector. Although the state finances and supports the cultural programmes and projects run by the DPO (Disabled People’s Organisation) and some institutions, the funding is still insufficient. DPO made significant efforts in making cultural activities from local to national level more accessible to persons with disabilities. However, participation of persons with disabilities in cultural events is still severely restricted due to inaccessibility of premises and lack of support in the way of accessible transport and assistance. Accessibility is just one example in a series of problems that persons with disabilities face if they decide to take part in a cultural or sports event or in accessing or creating media content (lack of adaptation of (cultural or audiovisual) materials for particular disabilities etc.). Compiling information in this field is complicated as data from a survey by the Disability Ombudswoman executed in 2014 shows. Of 148 art organisations and theatres surveyed to investigate accessibility of cultural activities they offer to persons with physical and sensory impairment, responses were received from only 24 theatres and 24 art organisations: only 7 of them noted they were accessible, while 10 reported partial accessibility (Ombudsperson for Persons with Disabilities, 2014: 56).
In order to tackle some of the issues related to the Ombudsperson’s assessment, in 2020 the Ministry of Culture and Media, in cooperation with the Ombudsperson for Persons with Disabilities, published a pilot Call for programmes that enable access and availability of cultural content for persons with disabilities and children and youth with developmental difficulties. Within this pilot programme, 26 programmes were supported with a total amount of 1 564 438 HRK (208 591 EUR) as the data from the Ministry shows. The aim of the legislator is to assess the implementation of this pilot programme in order to adjust it to the needs of the sector so as to make it a part of regular Calls by the Ministry of Culture and Media.
As an example of a theatre company led by people with disabilities one can mention the theatre ‘Novi život/New Life’ as one of the oldest theatres of who are blind in the world. It is led by the association of people who are blind and visually impaired, New Life, in Zagreb.