Round-up: Disabled artists lead the debates at Unlimited Festivals 2016

Tags: Arts and disability Festivals

What are the big issues in disability arts right now? Catch up on coverage from us and others exploring the conversations at Unlimited Festivals 2016 and profiling the festival artists


Image 1 photo Rachel Cherry for Unlimited Southbank Centre Unlimited Festival 2016

Will we always need disability arts festivals?

Are disability arts festivals the best way to see work? And what are the pros and cons of identifying as a disabled artist? Jo Verrent explores these arguments with Unlimited Festival artists.
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Video: Disabled leaders in dance

How are disabled dance artists challenging the world of contemporary dance? Who are the disabled choreographers at the foreground of artistic innovation? Why is it important that disabled dance artists author their own work as choreographers and artistic leaders? Emma Gladstone of Dance Umbrella presents this short film from Disability Arts International with artists including Janice Parker, Claire Cunningham and Dan Daw.
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 Tim Barlow by Hugo Glendinning 21 700x455

Tim Barlow: "I didn’t like admitting I was deaf, so I pretended I could hear"

After an acting career spanning 40 years, the former soldier has put together a piece of theatre about his eventful life with director Sheila Hill. He tells David Hutchison at The Stage about the challenges of acting when hard of hearing.
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Bangladesh A Different Romeo and Juliet photographer Tanvir Murad Topu

Video: The making of A Different Romeo and Juliet

Graeae’s Jenny Sealey spent two years working with a group of young disabled Bangladeshis. Watch our documentary of the young peoples’ journey as they prepare to perform on stage for the first time.
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Image of (Alba long white hair covering face) photo credit manuel vason

Are some more equal than others?

Are there more opportunities open to disabled artists working in particular artforms? Disability Arts Online (DAO) reviews a talk at Southbank Centre's Unlimited Festival with speakers including choreographer Claire Cunningham and visual artist Rachel Gadsden. This is part of DAO's Unlimited series, which offers comprehensive coverage of the talks in the programme and the work shown at the festival.
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Image of artist Robert Softley on ground next to wheelchair photo: Niall Walker

How I became an artist

Rejected from theatre courses, recovering from injury and falling in love with a poet. Robert Softley and other Unlimited Festival artists, past and present, tell us about their personal journeys and offer advice to aspiring creatives.
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Images of Ramesh Meyyappan in performance holding a butterfly puppet

Ramesh Meyyappan: To sign or not to sign?

Performer and director Ramesh Meyyappan explains why he doesn't use sign language in his performances in Kim Simpson's blog, which has lots of insightful pieces exploring the Unlimited Festival programme at Tramway, Glasgow.
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 Image of hands holding on to wooding cane. Photo. DISABILITY BENEFITS

Disability and the arts: a radical act?

"We’ve always not quite fitted in." In the Huffington Post, Jo Verrent asks: Why are disabled artists seen as radical?
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 Image of actor Jess Thom. Photo: Laura Page

Video: "Being a disabled person feels a political act"

Challenging comedians and campaigning to improve access to performances. Watch our conversation with Unlimited Festival artist Jess Thom and see excerpts of her first stand-up comedy show.
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Meet the Superhumans

Meet the superhumans

In Exeunt, Amelia Cavallo looks at the new Channel 4 advert for the Rio Paralympics and explores the notion of casting disabled athletes as “superhumans”.
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Image of playwright Kaite OReilly. photo: British Council

Video: “Disability culture brings extra richness”

Kaite O’Reilly has just published a new collection of plays for disabled actors. In this video and the accompanying blog, she tells us about the time she lay in front of a bus during a demonstration and explains why we need to push for cultural change.
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Image of panel at the Generation Gap talk at Unlimited Festival. Photo SBC

How can we improve provision for young disabled artists?

Kate Lovell at DAO on what it means to be a young disabled artist working now and current UK initiatives seeking to make the theatre industry more accessible to disabled people.
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Video: 2 minutes with Liz Carr

Liz Carr speaks about her new work, Assisted Suicide the Musical – a unique theatrical experience. Part of a series of short films from Unlimited in which artists introduce their work.
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Hiraeth Homesick inclusive performance premiere. Photo: Photolure

Podcast: Putting marginalised cultures centre stage

From Armenia to Belfast to Africa. We speak to an Armenian theatre director and artists from Candoco Dance Company and Kabosh Theatre Company about their experiences placing trauma and hidden voices at the heart of their work.
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Indonesian delegates at Unlimited Festival Glasgow

What did they think?

Mariska and Belinda are the founders of, an organisation that aims to develop ballet and dance in Indonesia. They visited Unlimited Festival to explore the UK's disability arts scene. British Council Indonesia catches up with them to find out about their experience in the UK.
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Claire Cunningham and Jess Curtis by Sven Hagolani

Claire Cunningham and Jess Curtis in The Way You Look (at me) Tonight. Photograph: Sven Hagolani

Unlimited - who attends these festivals and what happens after?

A personal blog by Maria Vlachou, Executive Director of Access Culture, Portugal, attended Unlimited Festival in Glasgow. She asks: what's the purpose of a disability arts festival in a country like the UK? Is there something in it for disabled artists? Is there something for audiences?
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Liz Carr Assisted Suicide

What's changed?

Writer and performer Penny Pepper looks back at the disability arts scene in the 1980s and reviews the inspirational changes that Unlimited has set in motion. This is on the Unlimited Impact website, which includes discussions with artists and the people behind the newly commissioned work at Unlimited.
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