In 2010, Judith Thompson, Artistic Director of Rare Theatre began working with 8 artists with Down syndrome to create a play for the Fringe. She resolved to give them a safe space to reveal who they were beneath the mask of Down syndrome. The play, which was called Rare, was the Hit of the Fringe. Rare Theatre was then invited to partner with Soulpepper for at least three years – it was at that time that Nick Hutcheson and Thompson decided that they were a theatre company with a future, and called themselves RARE Theatre. Their next production was called Borne, a raging, joyous play with a cast of 9 wheelchair users. The third play, Wildfire, was about forbidden love within the confines of a prison for people with differences.
RARE Theatre's current project features actors who are blind, deaf, brain damaged, and without limbs. One day, on a break, in one of their tell-your-truth workshops, one of the actors said to Thompson “Judith, you are a playwright, we are actors - for God’s sake, write us some kick ass scenes. Our disabilities should not be the point, they are only a small part of who we are!” - she shouted “yes,” and that was how After the Blackout was born.