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7 October 2013

Recently published feature articles

  • Esther Fox: Distinctive Not Alien

    My practice is concerned with the fabric of life, the DNA of our personal and cultural experiences. I am a processed based artist who uses a range of media to explore issues relating to genetic screening and future representations of self. 'Distinctive Not Alien' is a research and development project funded by Arts Council intending to explore how socially engaged arts practice can create opportunities for public debate about genetic screening.

  • Lloyd Coleman: The Sound of Disability v-blog

    Lloyd Coleman is a composer, conductor and clarinettist, who recently graduated from the Royal Academy of Music. He's been a member of the British Paraorchestra since it was formed in 2012, and is now writing a major new piece for them. You can follow his progress here on this blog.

  • Neglected Voices - a cycle of poems by Allan Sutherland

    ‘Neglected Voices’ is a work about disabled people’s experience, consisting of four cycles of transcription poems telling the life stories of Jennifer Taylor, Catriona Grant, Peter Moore and Wendy Bryant.

  • Profile: The Knitting Circle by Julie McNamara

    Having a first outing at the Soho Theatre, London, from 21-23 February, The Knitting Circle is an exciting new work in progress, reuniting director Paulette Randall and writer / producer Julie McNamara. Based on the testimonies of people who survived the asylums closed in the 1980s and 90s.

  • Profile: StopGAP Dance Company present a new double bill - Trespass

    Autumn 2010 see StopGAP Dance Company embarking on a tour of their latest double bill - 'Within' choreographed by Thomas Noone and 'Splinter' choreographed by Rob Tannion. Lucy Bennett provides a dancers' insight into this exciting development in StopGAPs work

  • Profile: Accentuate

    Over the coming months DAO intends to report on a range of events taking place under the Accentuate banner. Accentuate is funded by Legacy Trust UK which is creating a cultural and sporting legacy from the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, SEEDA and the regional cultural agencies. Screen South is the home of Accentuate.

  • Profile: The Way Out: The Disabled Avant-Garde

    Performance artist Aaron Williamson presents a feature on BBC Radio 4 on Tuesday 15 March at 11.30am, exploring whether performing arts practice can do what political agitation never has?

  • Attitude is Everything goes to Glastonbury

    Attitude is Everything is delighted to announce their third Club Attitude showcase at Glastonbury 2011 featuring beauteous acoustic bards, street folk poetics and punk rock legends inter-spiced with beats, bleeps and signed rap!

  • 'My Song': diary of a scriptwriter

    Charlie Swinbourne gives an account of writing My Song - a seminal film directed by William Mager that premiered at Deaffest in May.

  • Preview: Revealing Culture: HeadOn - Portraits of the Untold by Tanya Raabe

    Garry Robson Artistic Director DaDaFest International 2010 reflects on the impact of the work of award-winning visual artist/disabled artist Tanya Raabe as she launches a major touring show at Solihull Gallery.

  • Liberty 2011: London's Disability Arts Festival

    Liberty is a platform for amazing new work from deaf and disabled artists. Come and enjoy an afternoon of music and cabaret, outdoor arts and dance, and fun for children at the Southbank Centre and National Theatre.

  • Vital Xposure present 'The Knitting Circle'

    The End of an Era: Cochrane Theatre’s parting performances on 21st and 22nd September will premiere Vital Xposure’s The Knitting Circle’, exposing the hidden stories of Britain’s madhouses.

  • Disabled Avant Garde: Stage Invasion

    Disabled Avant Garde have published a four minute film on youtube of their protest at the Liberty Festival on London's South Bank on 19 August 2011.

  • Five Needles a short film by Deaf Director Julian Peedle-Calloo

    Five Needles is a short film by Deaf Director Julian Peedle-Calloo, which follows the story of four Deaf women in the concentration camps during WW2 who are hiding their Deafness to stay alive.

  • News: 'Loud and Proud' Lizzie Emeh wins AMI award

    Showstopping Lizzie Emeh wows crowd at the London Studios as she wins the Champion Award at the Ability Media International (AMI) awards 2011.

  • News: Benjamin Zephaniah takes up chair of Creative Writing at Brunel University

    Poet Benjamin Zephaniah tells his rags to riches story, as he prepares to take up the post of chair of Creative Writing at Brunel University

  • News: Attitude is Everything publish State of Access Report

    UK’s first comprehensive study of venue access is to be published by Attitude is Everything, providing key information about the main barriers to access at music venues and festivals

  • News: Paralympic Torchbearer nominations

    The next stage of the London 2012 Paralympic Torch Relay Torchbearer nomination process started this week. BT, one of the three Presenting Partners for the London 2012 Paralympic Torch Relay, launched their public nomination campaign on 13 December 2012.

  • Hare-raising news about Disability Arts organisation

    The nationally respected development agency for disabled and Deaf artists, Dada-South, starts the new year proud to announce their change of name. From 1st February the organisation will be known as Ardent Hare.

  • News: Launch of InSync

    Diversity should be about opening up and expanding our thinking, with everyone benefiting from different perspectives and alternative points of view. That’s why this week Sync - a leadership development programme funded by Arts Council England – is expanding its membership to everyone interested in leadership and diversity through a strand called InSync.

  • News: First Quarter of Shape Diamonds Programme Announced

    Disabled Londoners are set to benefit from Shape Diamonds in 2012, a year which includes the Cultural Olympiad and Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

  • News: National Lottery seek nominations for best arts project

    The search is on to find the UK’s favourite National Lottery-funded arts projects

  • News: DaDaFest Wins The Lever Prize 2012!

    DaDaFest 2012, the UK’s largest Disability and Deaf Arts Festival, has scooped this year’s prestigious £10,000 Lever Prize award.

  • New Gold set to enjoy two-week theatre run

    Critically-acclaimed dance theatre company Signdance Collective is to perform its show New Gold at Warehouse Theatre in London for two weeks in April, as part of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad, a cultural celebration inspired by the Olympics and Paralympics.

  • Ten years on and Electroboy comes to the screen

    Ten years ago this month, 'Electroboy: A Memoir of Mania' was published by Random House. Author Andy Behrman, talks about the journey, as the book moves towards being made into a film.

  • News: Unique Wheelchair Dance project awarded London 2012 Inspire mark

    Folk in Motion, a unique new folk dance project for wheelchair users, has been granted the Inspire mark by the London 2012 Inspire programme. The London 2012 Inspire programme recognises innovative and exceptional projects that are directly inspired by the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

  • News: Arts Council England announces successful capital application in the East Midlands  

    Arts Council England has announced that Embrace Arts (Richard Attenborough Centre at Leicester University) has been successful in the first stage of its new large-scale capital funding programme with a proposed award of £600,000.

  • News: DaDaFest 2012 presents Niet Normaal - Difference on Display

    From Fri 13 July – Sun 2 September, the Bluecoat will be given over to this landmark exhibition, which will feature the work of over 30 internationally renowned artists including new commissions, each addressing a definitive question of our time: ‘what is normal and who decides?’ specifically focussing on language as freedom and language as imprisonment.

  • News: Unlimited: Ready, steady, go!

    Marian Cleary, DAO's new sub-editor, introduces the Unlimited commissions

  • News: AMIs 2011: Royal College of Physicians and Shape win prestigious award for ‘inspired’ exhibition

    The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) and partners, Shape, have won a top award with their ‘challenging’ exhibition of RCP portraits Re-framing disability: portraits from the Royal College of Physicians.

  • News: Channel 4 unveils new ‘Big 4’ installation

    To celebrate broadcasting London 2012 Paralympic Games Channel 4 have commissioned 'Monument to the Unintended Performer' created by Tony Heaton

  • News: Tin Bath Theatre presents Bee Detective

    Part of the Unlimited Cultural Olympiad programme and the London 2012 Festival, Tin Bath Theatre's 'Bee Detective' is 
an outdoor theatre show for deaf and hearing children. Created by Sophie Woolley, it will be touring parks and squares across the UK this summer.

  • News: Technophonia: New Music for a Unique Ensemble

    A unique piece of music has been commissioned by Drake Music Scotland to highlight the musical talents of young people with disabilities and feature centre stage at the 2012 Cultural Olympiad.

  • News: DaDaFest gets a makeover!

    Innovative Liverpool-based disability and deaf arts organisation Disability and Deaf Arts will now be known as DaDaFest – taking on the name of its best known event, the critically acclaimed international festival. In line with this name change, the entire DaDaFest brand has received an overhaul including a vibrant new image and website design.

  • News: Turning Points by Chris Tally Evans

    Turning Points is a ten minute film being screened as part of the London 2012 Festival, the spectacular 12-week nationwide celebration running from 21 June until 9 September 2012 bringing together leading artists from across the world with the very best from the UK.

  • News: Unity Festival International Disability Arts Festival in Cardiff

    The Unity Festival, created by Hijinx Theatre, is taking place between 21 – 30 June and will showcase and celebrate the best in inclusive, disability and learning-disability arts from Wales, the UK and around the world, promoting positive images of disability and social inclusion to audiences

  • News: DaDaFest 2012 commissions North-West based artists for Niet Normaal: Difference on Display

    Niet Normaal: Difference on Display, a major international contemporary art exhibition, comes to the Bluecoat, Liverpool this summer as part of DaDaFest 2012 and is set to include two new commissions from influential North West artists

  • News: DaDaFest 2012 Announce Full Festival Line Up

    DaDaFest 2012 is proud to announce the full programme of events for this year’s festival with an eclectic mix of music, art, comedy, theatre, poetry, performance, workshops and seminars.

  • News: Southbank Centre launches Unlimited festival of groundbreaking new works by Deaf and Disabled Artists

    London's Southbank Centre will present an unprecedented programme of commissions by Deaf and disabled artists in an 11-day celebration between 30 August – 9 September. All 29 Cultural Olympiad Unlimited commissions will feature at Southbank Centre as part of the London 2012 Festival

  • News: Jon Adams exhibits 'Look About' at Pallant House Gallery

    Opening today at Pallant House Gallery in Chichester, West Sussex, is a studio exhibition showcasing the results of ‘Look About’, a two year mapping and collecting project by Portsmouth‐based artist Jon Adams in response to the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad.

  • News: Together 2012 Festival to continue during Disability History Month

    The UK Disabled People's Council (UKDPC) organisers of the Together! 2012 festival in Newham announce their successes, after the disappointment of venue closure at the last minute.

  • News: DaDaFest organisers reflect on festival’s 2012 success

    DaDaFest 2012 has drawn to a close and has been hailed a great success, with audiences from near and far coming together to enjoy this internationally renowned festival of disability and deaf arts, the largest festival of its kind in the world.

  • News: Online launch of DaDaFest commission 'Rhapsody for Clarinet and Wheelchair Basketball Team'

    Created by Jonathan Hering and Jack Whiteley 'Rhapsody for Clarinet and Wheelchair Basketball Team' is a groundbreaking audio-visual work, that combines music, sound design, film and sport. Commissioned by the Bluecoat, and premiered as part of DaDaFest 2012 the film has now been launched online.

  • News: Liz Crow's latest work to be featured at SPILL Festival

    Trish Wheatley talks to Liz Crow about her new work 'Bedding In' which is one of the eight Diverse Perspectives commissions funded by Arts Council Grants for the Arts programme.

  • News: Birds of Paradise Theatre Company announces its new creative team

    Birds of Paradise are planning the appointment of a triumvirate of outstanding talents - Garry Robson and Robert Softley Gale as Artistic Directors and Shona Rattray, currently Company Manager, promoted to Creative Producer.

  • News: ITV launches world’s first children’s storybook app with sign languages

    ITV today announced the launch of the world’s first animated storytelling app with British and American sign language. The Signed Stories app is designed to make reading fun for all children.

  • News: British-Bangladeshi artist Sanchita Islam presents The Rebel Within at Rich Mix, London

    The London based social charity Rich Mix is hosting the first ever mid-career retrospective of a living British-Bangladeshi female artist – Sanchita Islam. The exhibition, entitled ‘The Rebel Within’, runs from 6 March - 28 April 2013

  • News: DaDaFest joins Go ON Gold

    Liverpool based disability arts organization, DaDaFest, has become the latest group to join a national campaign to help disabled people overcome the challenges of using the internet.

  • News: B.Right.On Festival celebrates Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transexual History Month with poetry, art and culture

    This February sees the launch of a new festival that aims to celebrate Brighton's vibrant Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transexual (LGBT) culture and history, spearheaded by Norfolk poet, artist and campaigner Vince Laws.

  • News: Six Deaf Explorers embark on journeys to support arts development and cultural exchange

    The Deaf Cultural Centre, based in Birmingham, West Midlands, are inviting arts organisations, promoters and venues to collaborate with Deaf practitioners

  • News: The Basement presents Sick! a Festival of Contemporary Performance

    A new festival starts in Brighton this weekend. John O’Donoghue looks into the background of Sick! and highlights some of the must-see events happening from 1 - 16 March.

  • News: filmpro presents 'COnscription'

    A multimedia installation by Caglar Kimyoncu exploring the politics of compulsory military service. Produced by disabled-led digital art agency filmpro, the work will show at the Old Truman Brewery, London from 2 May.

  • Catalyst Arts success for DAO and StopGap

    Arts Council England has announced the 62 successful applicants to the ‘Catalyst Arts: Building Fundraising Capacity’ scheme. Disability Arts Online and StopGap Dance Company are part of a consortium celebrating success.

  • News: Welsh short film screens at the Middle East’s first ever Arts & Disability Festival
    Disabled Welsh filmmaker Chris Tally Evans is about to have his film Turning Points screened at the Middle East’s first ever arts & disability festival in Doha, Qatar.
  • Blue Apple Theatre take their production Living Without Fear to the Houses of Parliament

    Jane Jessop, founding director of Blue Apple Theatre, tells Sheila McWattie about raising awareness of disability hate crime and taking Blue Apple Theatre to the Houses of Parliament

  • News: Lisa Simpson uses the Simpson Board to set up a pilot course to support disabled choreographers in collaboration with Merseyside Dance Initiative

    Lisa Simpson is seeking funding to  support disabled choreographers using new technology developed by Adam Benjamin. Lisa and her colleague, Ray Rooney, have set up a social enterprise company to help disabled dancers and their teachers unlock similar potential. Sheila McWattie reports on the initiative

  • News: Driving Inspiration win Hollywood animation award with ‘Light Up the World’ – a global collaboration for Paralympics London 2012

    Now in its 18th year, the 2013 International Family Film Festival was held (May 1st - 5th) at Raleigh Studios in the heart of Hollywood. Creative Bucks project Driving Inspiration entered an animation created last year and came first in the Youth Animation Class.

  • News: Graeae shines a light on rights at the Greenwich+Docklands International Festival (GDIF)

    Ground-breaking Graeae returns to Greenwich+Docklands International Festival (GDIF) this coming June, for the fifth year with its world premiere of The Limbless Knight - A Tale of Rights Reignited, which reunites the creative team behind The Garden and Against The Tide.

  • Heads Up Film Series Launches

    Heads Up, a series of films which have been produced as part of the Creative Case has been published today by Arts Council England through the Creative Case website which is managed by DAO. The 8 films feature a number of arts professionals and arts organisations who discuss their involvement with the Creative Case and what it means to them and are being released in two batches with the first four live now.  

  • News: Pallant House Gallery’s innovative project, Outside In, wins prestigious Charity Award

    Pallant House Gallery is delighted to announce that Outside In, its pioneering project aimed at those facing barriers to the art world, has won the Charity Awards 2013, the highest profile event in the charity calendar.

  • News: Yinka Shonibare announced as patron and selection panel judge for the Shape Open 2013

    Shape are delighted to announce the appointment of Yinka Shonibare, one of the UK’s leading contemporary visual artists, as patron to the Shape Open.

  • News: Jos Boys to publish 'Doing Disability Differently' - a new book on Disability and Architecture

    Jos Boys invites DAO readers to suggest buildings they like for a book aimed at architects, exploring how they can be more engaged and creative around disability in their design work; so that accessibility and inclusive design become integral to their design thinking and doing, rather than as just an afterthought at the end of the architectural process.


  • News: 900 Years of Light: Multimedia performance at Exeter Cathedral

    Exeter Cathedral will be the setting for a multimedia response to the building’s 900 year history and the contributions that craftspeople have made during that time. 900 Years of Light is the culmination of Cathedra 900, an Arts Council England funded project by visual and multimedia artist Mark Ware. For the last 18 months, Mark has been exploring the Cathedral and interpreting its art and architecture through photography, abstract photomontages, 3D artwork and sound.

  • News: Groundbreaking Performance Making Diploma at Central School of Speech and Drama

    In a pioneering move for accredited theatrical training, Access all Areas and the Central School of Speech and Drama are launching a new one-year Performance Making Diploma for adults with learning disabilities. 

  • News: Touch Art Fair pioneers a new approach to presenting visual arts

    The Touch Art Fair is the first ever tactile art fair in the UK. On exhibition at 35 Marylebone High Street, London W1 from 17 - 20 October the fair is organised by pioneering french artist Scratch Adelia. Jake and Dinos Chapman have created a gigantic new piece of  work especially for the event amongst fifteen other international artists working in the haptic arts.

  • News: CoolTan Arts wins Innovation Award

    Arts in mental health charity CoolTan Arts has won an ‘Innovation Award’ for its Mental Health Wellbeing Advisers Project.

  • News: Arts Council England announces national delivery partnership for Unlimited II

    Arts Council England have awarded Shape and Artsadmin £1.5m to act as national delivery partners for the Unlimited II commissioned grant programme.

  • News: Shape announce winner of Adam Reynolds Bursary 2013

    The winner of the 2013 Adam Reynolds Memorial Bursary is artist, photographer, sculptor and film maker Aaron McPeake.

  • News: Jodi Mattes Trust announce the winners of the JODI Awards 2013

    A major national museum and an innovative audio description charity are both winners of a prestigious Jodi Award, presented this year in a high profile ceremony at the Museums Association Conference, which took place in Liverpool on 11 November.

  • News: Winston Churchill Fellowship is awarded to Artistic Director of Spare Tyre

    Ms Arti Prashar, Artistic Director at Spare Tyre, has been awarded a Winston Churchill Fellowship 2013 in the Arts and Older People / Creative Ageing Category.

  • News: Zinc Arts' Kindness Flashmob bring smiles to Southend

    When Zinc Arts arrived in Southend-on-Sea to perform a Kindness Flashmob, unsuspecting shoppers were in for a rather pleasant surprise on a cold, soggy Saturday morning. 

  • News: Yinka Shonibare helps Disabled Artists get into Shape this Christmas

    Internationally renowned artist Yinka Shonibare MBE (RA) and patron for Shape the disability-led arts organisation, is helping to raise vital funds to open doors for disabled artists this Christmas.

  • News: Attitude is Everything announces new Patron Paul Maynard MP

    Paul Maynard MP and Chair of the Young Disabled People’s All Party Parliamentary Group has agreed to support Attitude is Everything in representing the needs of young disabled and Deaf people.


  • News:Four Deaf Yorkshiremen cast rehearse new comedy!

    Inspired by the Monty Python's 'Four Yorkshiremen' sketch Writer/ director Charlie Swinbourne's sign language version for a deaf cast, became a Youtube hit in 2007. The cast of 'grumpy deafies' are now preparing for a day out in Blackpool for their third get together.

  • Obituary: In Memory of Sandy Easton

    Rita Ferris-Taylor and Tam Reid remember Alexander Cooper Black (Sandy or Sulieman) Easton who sadly died on 25th January 2014. Dao remembers him as a valued member of the disability arts community and would like to offer condolences to his family and wife Kirin.

  • News: UK's Cultural Legacy 'Unlimited' sets a precedent with Disability-led Selection Panel

    ‘Unlimited’, the three year UK commissioning programme supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England which supports disabled artists in developing and showcasing ambitious and high quality work across the UK and internationally, has announced the recruitment of a selection panel with over 75% of quality candidates elected being disabled people.

  • News: Shape’s Great Art Auction Goes Live At Bonhams!

    Shape are incredibly excited to announce that they will be taking part in Bonhams' first contemporary art auction of the year in order to raise money to continue developing opportunities for disabled artists.

  • News: Signdance Collective International visualise radio in their musical BAD ELVIS

    Bad Elvis - a sign-dance-theatre musical premieres on Friday 21st March at Salford University, MediaCity, and is being filmed by students; the film will then be shown live at the BBC Festival of Characters on the big screen at MediaCity on Saturday 29th March.

  • News: Fittings Multimedia Arts are awarded funding for Missing!

    Liverpool based Arts Company Fittings Multimedia Arts have received very welcome news this week as their application for funding to support a two-year project working with young people across the North and Midlands has been approved by Arts Council England.

  • News: Unlimited Programme Launched in Glasgow’s Centre for Contemporary Arts

    A new programme celebrating and supporting disabled artists and disability art was launched last Monday in Glasgow. Paul F Cockburn was there.

  • News: Attitude is Everything announces new Patron, Lord Tim Clement-Jones CBE

    Attitude is Everything improves Deaf and disabled people's access to live music by working in partnership with audiences, artists and the music industry. The organisation is delighted to announce the appointment of a new Patron.

  • News: Latitude Festival awarded the Silver level of the Charter of Best Practice

    Attitude is Everything is very pleased to announce that Latitude Festival(17th- 20th July) has been awarded the Silver level of the Charter of Best Practice. The Silver award is in recognition of the ongoing efforts of Festival Republic, the festival organisers, to build upon event access and inclusion at the site on a yearly basis, which has resulted in a loyal Deaf and disabled customer base.

  • News: International artist brings Gift to Bradford Festival

    International musician and composer Jez Colborne has been commissioned by PRS for Music Foundation’s New Music Biennial to create an original music piece – Gift, which is set to immerse audiences in a wave of new sounds.

  • News: Staff Benda Bilili to perform at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall for DaDaFest International 2014

    Congolese band Staff Benda Bilili’s exuberant live shows and extraordinary story have caused a stir across the globe and DaDaFest are pleased to bring them to Liverpool.

  • News: Unlimited launches T-shirt design competition and exhibition opportunity for young disabled people

    Unlimited today opened submissions for its ‘Your Slogan Here’ competition, offering young disabled people under 26 living in England and Scotland the opportunity to design a slogan and/or image for a T-shirt that will be exhibited at the Southbank Centre during Southbank Centre’s Unlimited Festival in September 2014.

  • News: Announcing Southbank Centre’s second Unlimited Festival 2014

    Exceptional performance, dance and visual art from disabled artists from Tuesday 2nd to Sunday 7th September 2014 across Southbank Centre’s indoor and outdoor site, London SE1.

  • News: Mayor announces plans for Liberty Festival

    UK's groundbreaking showcase of Deaf and disabled artists returns to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park as cultural centrepiece of National Paralympic Day

  • Sue Austin’s Underwater Wheelchair Team Needs Your Vote!

    ‘Creating the Spectacle!’ is through to the finals of this year’s National Lottery Awards and needs your vote to win.

  • News: Channel 4: Does It Matter? World War 1 Shorts

    With two million British servicemen disabled by World War One, society's attitude to disability had to change. Co-produced by Artsadmin and Xenoki and co-commissioned by Channel 4 and 14-18 NOW, WW1 Centenary Art Commissions, five disabled artists present unorthodox takes on the legacies of war and disability through a series of short films.

  • News: From sea to sky: Artist Sue Austin takes wheelchair to dizzy new heights

    A new documentary has launched charting multimedia, performance and installation artist Sue Austin’s journey to create her upcoming artwork, Creating the Spectacle!: Flying Free.

  • News: Disability Arts Touring Network: Krip-Hop Nation bring a unique international platform for disability Hip-Hop artists to the UK

    International Hip-Hop collective Krip-Hop Nation return to the UK, uniquely blending lyricism, activism and break beats. Presented as part of a tour to develop disability arts. 



  • News: DaDaFest International 2014: Art of the Lived Experiment exhibition announced

    Conceived by DaDaFest, curated by Aaron Williamson and delivered in partnership with the Bluecoat, Liverpool. The exhibition runs from 8 November 2014 to 11 January 2015 as part of DaDaFest International 2014.

  • News: Disability Arts Touring Network: One Of Us Will Die: A hilarious new take on love

    What happens when a British comedian and an Australian Actress meet, fall in love, get married and combine their skills and sharp wit? Find out at this funny and bold stand-up show that smashes conventions in every way. Presented as part of a tour to develop disability arts.

  • News: Disability Arts Touring Network: The Ugly Girl Tour

    A wildly comic twist on the stereotype of a queer, disabled, intellectual trouble-maker, featuring an international cast of disabled actresses including Liz Carr (Silent Witness) and Julie McNamara (Let Me Stay). This no-holds barred musical about what it means to be the quintessential Ugly Girl adrift in a comically hostile universe is full of slapstick, music and dark humour. Presented as part of a tour to develop disability arts.

  • News: Adam Reynolds Memorial Bursary 2014 Shortlist Announced

    Shape is delighted to announce the four artists shortlisted for the Adam Reynolds Memorial Bursary.

  • News: Inclusive theatre company Taking Flight tackles Disability Hate Crime with tour of secondary schools in Wales

    This Autumn, Taking Flight Theatre Company will tour a specially commissioned play, Real Human Being, to secondary schools across Wales, to educate young people about the impact of Disability Hate Crime (DHC) on the lives of disabled people. The project is funded by the Welsh Government under the Equality and Inclusion grant.

  • News: Johnny Crescendo's Piss on Pity Complete available on digital media

    The complete library of songs from one of the strongest voices for Disability Rights in both spoken word and music, has released all his works through iTunes and CD Baby

  • News: Adam Reynolds Memorial Bursary 2014 at the V&A - Winner Announced

    The winner of the 2014 Adam Reynolds Memorial Bursary, which will be hosted by the Victoria and Albert Museum with support from The Helen Hamlyn Centre of Design at the Royal College of Arts, is multidisciplinary artist Carmen Papalia. 

  • News: Stopgap Dance Company and The Point launch the iF Platform

    The iF Platform (Integrated Fringe) is a unique opportunity for companies and artists producing work with disabled and non disabled artists. It will showcase the best integrated work from the UK at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe from 23rd – 30th August 2015 to coincide with the British Council Showcase year.

  • News: Together! 2014 Disability History Month Festival

    Following a busy summer Together! are delighted to announce the programme for the Together! 2014 Disability History Month Festival. Highlights include the festival launch and private view of the Open Exhibition; Krip Hop Nation's workshop and performance; The Hands Project on International Day of Disabled People; the Together! Disability Film Festival and the launch of a poetry anthology and end-of-festival party.

  • News: Jon Adams wins award for Democracy Street

    Digital public art project to create unique maps of the UK as part of Parliament’s 2015 Historic Anniversaries programme.

  • News: Welfare Reform threatens Graeae Theatre Company

    In the wake of the scandal of Lord Freud's comments about wages for disabled workers Graeae Theatre Company have issued a statement on the realities of the impact of the changes in Access to Work and other disability-related employment policies on the work of the company.

  • News: Artists Commissions Announced to commemorate historic anniversaries in 2015

    Parliament in the Making is a year-long programme of UK-wide events and activities which will commemorate significant historic anniversaries that underpinned the establishment of Parliamentary democracy and the legal system in the UK and around the world. 

  • News: Heart n Soul’s Allsorts: The Listening Season

    Heart n Soul is delighted to announce that they are working with Emmy award-winning ‘Sherlock’ composer Michael Price to co-produce ‘Allsorts: The Listening Season’, our creative arts project for adults with learning disabilities.

  • News: FACT in Liverpool support exciting upcoming project Madlove by artist James Leadbitter

    FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology) has been successful in an application for £29,870 of funding from the Wellcome Trust. The money will allow FACT to realise an exciting participatory installation called Madlove by artist James Leadbitter as part of next spring’s Group Therapy exhibition. 

  • News: flip announce launch of support for nine Disabled Artists in Scotland

    A new initiative to support the next generation of disabled artists in Scotland is being launched by flip - disability equality in the arts  - and other National Arts organisations offering 9 opportunities for disabled artists across Scotland to develop their artistic practice or career through an individualised programme of mentoring and support.

  • News: iF Platform Artists Announced

    Stopgap Dance Company and The Point announce the final programme for the iF Platform (Integrated Fringe). A ground breaking showcase featuring the best integrated arts companies from the UK as part of Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2015.

  • News: Shape Open 2014 Winner Announced

    Trish Wheatley reports on news from the Shape Open closing party on Thursday 29 January 2015

  • News: Accessing London Theatre

    In a joint-funded initiative, as part of the Visit Britain access project, The Society of London Theatre (SOLT) has launched a promotional video to highlight the wealth of access initiatives available across London theatre. Watch it here...

  • Unlimited Celebrates A Year Of Supporting Outstanding Disabled Artists

    "A programme that's bucked stereotypes and packed a powerful creative punch" Bella Todd, Time Out

    UNLIMITED, the £3million programme delivered by Shape and Artsadmin, has concluded its first year supporting outstanding work by disabled artists, making an unprecedented impact on the cultural sector. Here's the round up...

  • News: Spirit of Achievement Arts and Culture Challenge Fund is now open

    Spirit of 2012 (Spirit) has launched the Challenge Fund to empower and enable disabled people’s participation in arts and culture. The Open Grant round is looking for project applications across the UK, which create participatory opportunities for disabled people of all backgrounds, individually and with their families and friends.

  • News: Tanya Raabe-Webber takes up residence at Project Ability

    Acclaimed artist Tanya Raabe-Webber has been awarded a Grants for The Arts, supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, to be an artist in residence with visual arts organisation Project Ability, Glasgow as part of their International Summit for learning disability artists and their supported studios, 23 Feb - 25 March 2015.

  • News: Deafinitely Theatre to tour new children’s production: Something Else

    In the week the country celebrates National British Sign Language Day, British Deaf-led theatre company Deafinitely Theatre will open their new children’s production based on the book written by Kathryn Cave and illustrated by Chris Riddell.


  • News: Unlimited Launches New Commissioning Round with Nine Highly Ambitious and Diverse New Works

    UNLIMITED today announced nine new commissions spanning a wide range of disciplines by some of the most talented and ambitious disabled artists from all over the UK. 

  • News: Unlimited 2015 - Round Two Commission Launch

    Tom Wentworth attended the launch event for the second round of commissions for Unlimited, at Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff on 26th March. 

  • News: The Stay Up Late campaign re-launches

    Stay Up Late is a charity promoting full and active social lives for people with learning disabilities. They are delighted to announce that they’ve been successful in receiving funding from the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation to develop the work they started with the launch of the Stay Up Late campaign back in 2006.

  • News: Internationally acclaimed artist Sue Austin launches “Immersed in 360”

    Following over 150 million views of her signature underwater wheelchair performance and powerful TED talk, internationally acclaimed artist Sue Austin curates new work, inviting you to become ‘Immersed in 360’ at the innovative Salisbury Arts Centre this Spring.

  • News: Arts Council England announces pioneering partnership for disability and diversity

    Led by New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich, ‘Ramps on the Moon’ will bring together a collaborative network of seven National portfolio organisation theatres including New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich and strategic partner Graeae Theatre - Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Theatre Royal Stratford East, Nottingham Playhouse, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse and Sheffield Theatres.

  • News: Creative Future: Nurturing Writing Talent At The Margins

    Brighton-based charity Creative Future has launched its second national competition, The Creative Future Literary Awards; championed by top poet and playwright Lemn Sissay and bestselling author Maggie Gee, to discover the best writers from disadvantaged groups.

  • News: Towards Harmony: Innovative Composition for the 21st Century from Young Graduate Lloyd Coleman

    Commissioned by Disability Arts Online, Lloyd Coleman, a young graduate of the Royal Academy of Music, has completed the first composition for the British Paraorchestra and the Southbank Sinfonia.

  • News: The Shape Arts Adam Reynolds Memorial Bursary (ARMB) 2015

    The Shape Arts Adam Reynolds Memorial Bursary (ARMB), set up in memory of sculptor Adam Reynolds to support mid-career disabled artists, is open for submissions until 27 July. This year’s successful recipient will be awarded £5,000 and a three-month residency at The New Art Gallery Walsall in January 2016.

  • News: Colston Hall takes the lead for BBC Music Day in Bristol

    Colston Hall will play a leading role on the first ever BBC Music Day on Friday 5th June 2015 in championing disability and diversity in music and the arts. BBC Music Day will see the Hall welcoming a unique disability youth concert. The day will be a nationwide celebration of music with the aim of connecting communities and generations.

  • News: Diversity and digital media at heart of new £107k programme from Disability Arts Online

    Disability Arts Online are today announcing the launch of Viewfinder, an 18-month commissioning, digital media and sector development programme funded by Arts Council England’s Grants for the Arts, to be run in partnership with Wikimedia UK, Sick! Festival, SPILL Festival, Carousel, the New Wolsey Theatre, Culture 24 and Goldsmiths Disability Research Centre.

  • News: Disabled artists take centre stage at this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe

    This year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe sees the first Unlimited exhibition, showing work by exceptional disabled artists at Summerhall’s Meadow Galleries from 5 August to 5 October. 

  • News: Artist Shortlist Announced for the eighth Shape Adam Reynolds Memorial Bursary

    Shape and The New Art Gallery Walsall are delighted to announce the four artists shortlisted for the Adam Reynolds Memorial Bursary.

  • News: Ignite prepares to light up the Cork City centre with a spectacular event

    Since November 2013 Simon Mckeown has been working with lead partners National Sculpture Factory and Create Ireland to develop ‘Cork Ignite’, which is premiering in Cork City centre on 18 September. As part of the process he has been working with partner disability organisations in Cork, such as Suisha Inclusive Arts at COPE Foundation and SoundOUT as well as individual members of the disabled community.

  • News: Baluji Music Foundation Re:Imagine India

    In January, the Baluji Music Foundation (BMF) will be undertaking a research and development project in India. Baluji Shrivastav who is Musical Director of the Foundation, will be searching for and making music with blind musicians from Bangalore, Chennai, Andaman Islands, Assam and other regions of India, representing different, and rarely heard, folk music traditions.

  • News: Mind the Gap actor, Liam Bairstow lands role on ITVs Coronation Street

    Bradford based actor Liam Bairstow, 28, has landed a role in the world’s longest running soap opera Coronation Street. Liam, who works with England’s largest learning-disabled theatre company Mind the Gap will be appearing in the ITV soap in the role of Cathy Matthew’s nephew, Alex Warner from September.

  • News: BBC See Hear Weekend 2015

    From 2- 4 October 2015, the BBC See Hear Weekend 2015 will celebrate all things in film and television related to sign language and the deaf community, led by BBC Bristol’s flagship programme See Hear. Join 'Doctor Who', 'Aardmann Animations' and Award-winning filmmaker, Bim Ajadi for a weekend of screenings and workshops at Watershed on Bristol’s Harbourside.

  • News: International artist Simon McKeown lights up Culture Night with stellar spectacle

    Up to 10,000 people gathered to see a historic riverside building brought to life with a stunning digital projection by Teesside University’s Simon McKeown.

  • News: Attitude is Everything partner with Venues Day 2015

    Attitude is Everything, the charity that campaigns for improved access to live music for millions of Deaf and disabled fans, has been announced as the latest partner for Venues Day 2015.

  • News: The 'wavelength project' investigates the brain's responses to sound and light

    The wavelength project is an ongoing exploration into the effects of artificial and natural sound and light on the brain with wide implications across arts and science. Produced and led by artist Mark Ware in partnership with the Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science and Kent Wildlife Trust the ongoing project aims to deliver a number of Arts Council England supported artistic outcomes.

  • News: Exhibition showcasing disability and political activism in art to launch Attenborough Art Centre's new gallery

    A major exhibition Art, Life, Activism which brings together acclaimed artists who make artwork informed by the politics of disability featuring sculpture, performance, film, drawing, and photography will be the inaugural show of University of Leicester's new gallery at the Attenborough Arts Centre, running from 18 November to 17 January 2016.

  • News: Sophie Partridge plans to get acclaimed production on the road in 2016

    Song of Semmersuaq is a lyrical, solo piece written and performed with puppets by disabled artist, Sophie Partridge.

  • News: Jessica Thom aka Touretteshero to feature in BBC's Live from Television Centre

    In partnership with Battersea Arts Centre and Arts Council England, the BBC is bringing live theatre back to Television Centre for Live from Television Centre. Jessica Thom aka Touretteshero will be performing a special rendition, Broadcast from Biscuit Land alongside four other 'genre-busting' theatre pieces live on BBC Four.

  • News: Oska Bright Film Festival: putting learning-disability film on the map

    The Oska Bright Film Festival will host a wide range of screenings and talks including music videos, comedy shorts, animations, drama and documentary films. Running from 9-11 November at the Brighton Corn Exchange the festival is run by a team of learning-disabled film-makers keen to promote the work of learning disabled people, behind and in front of the camera.


  • News: Stagetext celebrates 15 years with launch of first Captioning Awareness Week

    Stagetext, the leading captioning charity for the creative arts, is celebrating its 15 year anniversary with the launch of the first ever Captioning Awareness Week, from 9-15 November.


  • News: Winner of Adam Reynolds Memorial Bursary 2015/16 announced

    The successful recipient of the 2015/16 Adam Reynolds Memorial Bursary, hosted by The New Art Gallery Walsall, is digital and video artist Caglar Kimyoncu.

  • News: Disability Arts Online commissions new video works in partnership with SICK! Festival

    Disability Arts Online (DAO) is delighted to announce that filmmakers/curators Lisa Mattocks and Sandra Alland have been selected to work with SICK! Festival as part of a Viewfinder commission to explore the artistic practice of artists engaged with the festival.

  • News: Oska Bright winners announced with help of Oscar winner

    An Oscar winning director and leading figures from the British film industry have presented awards to six learning disabled film makers as part of the Oska Bright Film Festival.

  • News: Dance organisation for learning-disabled people wins business award

    Magpie Dance, a dance organisation for learning-disabled people has won top place in the Business Awards for their home town.

  • News: Collaborative art project re-imagines mobility, disability and access

    The Opulent Mobility project is a groundbreaking collaborative effort to re-imagine mobility, disability and access. Wheelchairs, walkers, prosthetics, crutches and other assistive technology devices are part of our lives, but they’ve been left in the dust when it comes to custom design innovation and personalization. There are hundreds of thousands of designs for glasses, chairs and technology of other kinds. Why not assistive technology?

  • News: Bristol’s Colston Hall shortlisted for South West Tourism Awards for Access and Inclusivity

    Bristol’s Colston Hall has been shortlisted as a finalist for a South West Tourism Award in the Access and Inclusivity category and will now go on to compete in the national Visit England Awards on behalf of the South West. 

  • News: Arts Council England announces £8.5m for diversity in the arts

    On Monday 7th December 2015 Sir Peter Bazalgette, Chair of Arts Council England delivered a speech that followed up on the one he made a year ago outlining the Arts Council’s commitment to the Creative Case for Diversity at a special event held in Birmingham. 

  • News: Exhibition to celebrate 35 years of placing Deaf and disabled artists centre stage

    Graeae Theatre and the Central Illustration Agency have announced a new exhibition, Reframing the Myth, which will take place at the Guardian's exhibition space in February 2016.

  • News: Wayne McGregor | Random Dance wins national charity award

    Celebrated choreographer Wayne McGregor CBE and his company Random Dance has won a national award by deafblind charity Sense in the category of ‘Art Partnership of the Year’.

  • News: Surrey-based theatre company has transatlantic film success

    A short film by Freewheelers Theatre Company, based in Leatherhead, was screened at the UN Headquarters in New York last week as part of the UN Enable Film Festival.

  • News: ‘Woeful’ arts diversity progress prompts call for ‘more power and influence’

    Mainstream arts organisations have “a mountain to climb” to ensure they have an acceptable proportion of disabled directors, artists and staff, according to leading disability arts figures. Disability News Service's John Pring reports from Arts Council England's conference in Birmingham on 7 December. 

  • News: New conference to encourage fresh thinking on work with young people with learning disabilities

    A new conference will take place on 9-10 March 2016 aiming to encourage fresh thinking on how to work with young people with learning disabilities (ypwld).

  • News: Yinka Shonibare to host Shape Open Exhibition

    Shape Arts’ annual open exhibition will be hosted by its patron, Yinka Shonibare MBE, at his Guest Projects space in Hackney, London, from 4 February 2016.

  • News: Festive Fundraising Fun with Hands & Voices

    York-based inclusive arts charity Accessible Arts & Media are celebrating Christmas this year with a festive fundraising video featuring the fabulous Hands & Voices singing and signing choir performing one of their favourite Christmas songs: I Want A Hippopotamus for Christmas.

  • News: Castlefield Gallery announce new multi-artist exhibition addressing the issue of Outsider Art

    Castlefield Gallery has announced Inside Out, curated in collaboration with David Maclagan artist, academic and writer; including new and existing work by artists from the UK, South Africa, France, Iran and the USA. Some of these artists for a variety of reasons are thought to be Outsider artists, whilst others may be seen to share methods of approaching their subject matter with this now established part of artistic study.

  • News: Southbank Centre launches Changing Minds, a new weekend festival about mental health and the arts

    In February Southbank Centre launches a new weekend festival for 2016, Changing Minds, looking closely at the topic of mental health through a packed programme of performance, music, comedy, design, talks and panel discussions. As the debate surrounding equal treatment for mental health grows in profile, the festival probes taboo subjects and explores the role of the arts in understanding and healing. 

  • News: SICK! Festival announces SICK! Lab: What Doesn't Kill Us...

    SICK! Lab is a collaborative exploration of identity and trauma that will take place in Manchester 9 – 12 March 2016. The four-day programme will include performances, presentations and discussions bringing together artists and experts from many fields.

  • News: Mind the Gap announce new tour dates for CONTAINED

    England’s largest learning-disabled theatre company, Mind the Gap have announced a new tour of CONTAINED, a vibrant, compelling and personal new project.

  • News: Unlimited goes International with ACE Ambitions of Excellence Award

    Unlimited, the commissioning programme that supports disabled artists develop ambitious and high quality work, today announced an Ambitions of Excellence Award of £759,949 from Arts Council England to build a three-year international programme. The award is also match-funded by the British Council.

  • News: Disability Arts Cymru celebrates poetry competition winners with launch of an e-book

    Last year Disability Arts Cymru (DAC) launched its first Annual Poetry Competition. Each of the poems was written in response to a piece of artwork from DAC's Annual Touring Exhibition 2015. The winning poems are accompanied by the artworks that inspired them in an e-book, which is now being made freely available to the public.

  • News: Award-winning writer Kaite O’Reilly tackles the last great taboo in new play, Cosy

    This darkly comic new work combines an unflinching examination of our attitudes to youth, ageing and death, with an often hilarious and moving encounter between three generations of women.

  • News: Kate Murdoch announced as Shape Open 2016 winner

    Shape Open patron Yinka Shonibare MBE announced artist Kate Murdoch as the Open’s fourth winner for her sculpture entitled, 'Bad Head Day'.

  • News: Disability Arts Online commissions new work exploring SPILL Festival of Performance’s video archive

    Disability Arts Online (DAO) is pleased to announce its latest Viewfinder commission, a collaboration with the SPILL Festival of Performance (SPILL) which will encompass a curated collection of SPILL’s video archive, a new video work and written reflections on the process. 

  • News: The CanCanCan Festival showcases solo performers and artists with learning disabilities

    A one-night festival showcasing solo performers with learning disabilities will take place at The Patrick Centre at Birmingham Hippodrome 10 March.

  • News: Heart n Soul's 'SoundLab' wins Best SEND Resource award at the Music Teacher Awards For Excellence 2016

    Heart n Soul’s innovative digital music making project SoundLab explores ways of using technology to encourage people with learning disabilities to create sound and music experiences. 

  • News: See Hear receives Special Award after 35 years on air

    See Hear, the TV programme focussing on the Deaf community received special recognition at the Royal Television Society West of England Awards which took place at the Bristol Old Vic on Sunday 6th March. 

  • News: Arts Council green lights a project looking at a new way of conducting

    Young disabled conductor/composer, James Rose who conducts using a head-baton developed in partnership with Drake Music, has been awarded Arts Council Funding to do a Conducting Development Week at The Royal Academy of Music this Spring The project will be documented and edited into a short film scheduled for release on YouTube in August this year.

  • News: Stopgap's 'Artificial Things' to be included on GCSE Dance syllabus

    The exam board AQA’s new specification for GCSE Dance, which was accredited last week, includes a focus on promoting excellence in dance to disabled and non-disabled young people. AQA signalled its intension by selecting Artificial Things by Stopgap Dance Company as one of six compulsory works to be studied by GCSE students. 

  • News: HOUSE and Outside In present Thompson Hall exhibition at Regency Town House

    HOUSE and Outside In have announced Home Away From Home, a newly commissioned set of paintings by artist Thompson Hall, to be shown at the Regency Town House. The exhibition, part of HOUSE – Brighton’s visual arts festival – will be open from 30 April -29 May 2016.

  • News: Colston Hall announce Fast Forward Music Festival with new British Paraorchestra commission

    After drawing attention to the quality and diversity of disability music making in 2015, Colston Hall’s Fast Forward is back on Friday 3rd June, this time with a contemporary twist featuring cutting edge music and circus performances from The British Paraorchestra and Extraordinary Bodies.

  • News: World premiere of Assisted Suicide: The Musical headlines third Unlimited Festival

    Southbank Centre has announced the first shows to be presented as part of Unlimited Festival 2016, a six-day festival showcasing the artistic vision of disabled artists.

  • News: Exceptional & Extraordinary: Unruly Bodies and Minds in the Medical Museum

    Unique film, dance, performance and comedy commissions draw on museum collections to explore our problematic attitudes towards difference.

  • News: Programme of international inclusive performances revealed for Hijinx Unity Festival 2016

    Hijinx have announced a line-up of inclusive and disability artists from Wales, the UK, Europe and beyond who will come to perform at the Hijinx Unity Festival in Cardiff from 27th June – 3rd July.

  • News: Young DaDaFest Expands into Trio of Events to Celebrate the Talent of Young Disabled People

    Following on from the success of last year’s sold-out event which saw 105 young people perform to an audience of 400 at the Liverpool Everyman, Young DaDaFest has now expanded to feature a music-focused event in the Music Room at the Liverpool Philharmonic, a performance event at the Liverpool Everyman Theatre and a fringe event “SandFest” at Liverpool John Moore’s University.

  • News: Intoart announces public fundraising exhibition with over 100 artworks by learning-disabled and autistic artists

    From the 21-25 June, Intoart will present a pop-up exhibition in Fitzrovia, central London, to fundraise for their ongoing studio programme that provides much-needed access to art education and exhibition opportunities for learning-disabled and autistic artists.

  • News: Disability Arts Online set to relaunch with new website

    Disability Arts Online is delighted to announce that it will be launching a brand-new website on 7 June, as part of its Grants for the Arts project, Viewfinder. The website will feature both new functionality and design, including a much-needed rebrand. 

  • Review: Fittings present Raspberry - based on the life and times of Ian Dury

    Garry Robson is Spasticus! Colin Cameron caught Fittings Multimedia music-theatre production ‘Raspberry’ at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh on 9 April, 2010 at the start of its UK tour.

  • Review: Contemporary Art from Iraq at Cornerhouse, Manchester

    Harry Matthews reviews Contemporary Art Iraq – the first comprehensive UK exhibition of work by Iraqi artists since the first Gulf War. Now on show at Cornerhouse until 20 June 2010

  • Review: Re-Presenting Disability - Activism and Agency in the museum

    Re-Presenting Disability: Activism and Agency in the museum is edited by Richard Sandell, Jocelyn Dodd, and Rosemarie Garland-Thomson. Colin Hambrook reviews this account of interpretations of disability within museum practice, in the UK and abroad.

  • Review: Are you having a laugh? TV and Disability

    BBC 2 recently aired a 55 minute documentary charting portrayal of disability on TV over the last 50 years. Narrated by David Walliams the programme looks at the journey from Ironside to Cast Offs, and from Monty Python to The Office and Little Britain. Colin Hambrook comments.

  • Review: DaDaFest International 2010

    DaDaFest – the UK’s leading and biggest deaf and disability arts festival celebrates its tenth year in 2010. In celebration, disabled and non disabled artists from all over the world will perform and exhibit at DaDaFest International 2010, a two week extravaganza of artistic wonder which showcases and celebrates the best in disability and deaf arts.

  • Review: The House of Vernacular

    Wendy McGowan discovers some new meanings behind our interpretation of everyday photographs in 'The House of Vernacular' - on show at Fabrica Gallery, Brighton until 28 November 2010.

  • Review: Mental: A History of the Madhouse

    Colin Hambrook reviews a BBC documentary which tells the story of the closure of Britain's mental asylums through testimonies from patients, nurses and doctors.

  • Review: Access All Areas

    Hosted by the Live Art Development Agency, Access All Areas was a two-day public programme, a showcase and inquiry into the work of disabled artists whose medium is Live Art, where the artist’s most important piece of kit is their own body. Debbe Caulfield investigates.

  • Review: RippleFest

    Plymouth’s very first disability arts event was a weekend packed full of creativity and learning. Kate Cotton went along to sample the workshops and performances.

  • Book review: The Shaking Woman by Siri Hustvedt

    Samantha Ellis reviews 'The Shaking Woman, or A History of My Nerves' by Siri Hustvedt (Picador 2010)

  • Review: 'Labyrinth of Living Exhibits'

    Simon Raven gives his impressions of 'Labyrinth of Living Exhibits' - a performance event curated by Aaron Williamson at the Hunterian Museum, London, presented by Shape and Arts Catalyst.

  • Review: Roger Waters performs The Wall Live at the 02 arena

    With a critical eye on venue access and performance Gini reviews Roger Waters performing The Wall Live at the O2 arena on Wednesday 18th May 2011.

  • Review: Up-Stream

    Up-Stream set out to showcase engaging, contemporary live and visual art works by disabled and Deaf artists - presented as part of Brighton Festival between 24-26 May 2011.

  • Book review: Disability and Social Change: Private lives and public policies

    Sophie Partridge reviews a socio-historical account of the changing treatment of disabled people in Britain from the 1940s to the present day, written by Sonali Shah and Mark Priestley.

  • Review: The Times Cheltenham Science Festival

    The Times Cheltenham Science Festival 2011, 7th – 12th June, held a huge mix of events on every subject under the sun, from stem cells to the psychology of war. Debbe Caulfield attended two linked events under the heading Alternative Ways of Thinking, curated by The Arts Catalyst and Shape focusing on Alternative Ways of Thinking.

  • Preview: The End by film-maker Ted Evans

    Melissa Mostyn-Thomas previews a chilling new film by Deaf film-maker Ted Evans. Premiered at Deaffest, The End can be viewed on Film4, the Community Channel; on the BSLBT website.

  • Review: Outside In Launch

    Outside In is now open for submissions. Liz Porter went along to the launch event at Pallant House Gallery in Chichester to soak up the excitement.

  • Review: Longcare Survivors: Biography of a Care Scandal

    Debbe Caulfield reviews John Pring's investigative study of abuse of disabled people in residential care: 'Longcare Survivors: Biography of a Care Scandal.' Published by the Disability News Service.

  • Reviews: The 5th decibel Performing Arts Showcase

    A team of DAO writers went to the 5th decibel Performing Arts Showcase in Manchester from the 12th - 16th September 2011. Here you can read reviews of a large selection from the 50 performances which happened during the week.

  • Liberty 2011: London's Disability Arts Festival

    Liz Porter reviews this years' Liberty Festival in its new home on London's Southbank

  • Review: Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2011

    Gary Thomas Visited Edinburgh Fringe for the first time this year. He gets about a bit! Here’s a couple of reviews, including the highlights.

  • Review: Vital Xposure presents The Knitting Circle

    Gary Thomas reviews the Knitting Circle, written by Julie McNamara. Performed at the Cochrane Theatre, London, 22 September 2011

  • Review: Channel 4's 'Seven Dwarves'

    Deborah Caulfield hates reality TV and really hates pantomime. She watched Seven Dwarves, a seven-part documentary, recently screened on Channel 4.

  • Review: Dementia Diaries by Maria Jastrzebska

    The Dementia Diaries has been touring the UK. The play, directed by Mark Hewitt tackles the impact of living with dementia. John O'Donoghue saw a performance which was hosted by Brighton and Sussex Medical School at the Sallis Benney, as part of their Ethics In Performance season.

  • Unsilenced Voices: Romani Voices

    Exiled Writers Ink support and give a platform to exiled writers from around the world. Nicole Fordham Hodges went along to one of their monthly readings on 5th December at the Poetry Cafe, London WC2. She heard some Romani voices, and they certainly hadn't been silenced.

  • Review: Rubix and Elephant - spoken word

    Rubix and Elephant two poetry collectives from Camden's Roundhouse came to Oval House Theatre on 14 January 2012. Nicole Fordham Hodges recalls some key moments at this spoken word event.

  • Review: Mike Leigh's play 'Grief'

    Charlie Swinbourne reviews Mike Leigh's play 'Grief' - in production at the The National's Cottesloe Theatre until 28 January.

  • Review: Pathways to the Profession Symposium

    Scottish Dance Theatre (SDT), produced the Pathways to the Profession Symposium which took place in Dundee, Scotland between 19-20 January. Jo Verrent airs her views on what was learnt.

  • Review: Kulunka Teatro's 'Andre & Dorine

    Richard Downes came away deeply moved by 'Andre & Dorine' by Basque company Kulunka Teatro - which played at the Purcell Room, Southbank from 26-29 January - as part of the London International Mime Festival.

  • Review: Death: Southbank Centre's Festival For the Living

    In the foyer of the Southbank Centre, a small group of toddlers were gathered around a cardboard coffin, decorating it with glitter and flowers. This was 'Death: a festival for the living,' which took place between 27-30 January. Nicole Fordham Hodges speaks the unspeakable.

  • Review: A Bigger Picture: David Hockney at the Royal Academy

    A Bigger Picture at the Royal Academy showcases David Hockney's landscape work. Included are oil paintings, photo-collages, charcoal drawings, watercolours, prints and film. With over 150 works displayed, spanning Hockney’s career of over fifty years, it is as much a celebration as an exhibition and, as such, it exudes generosity and abundance. Debbie Caulfield was profoundly affected.

  • Preview: Graeae’s Reasons To Be Cheerful

    A year on from its critically acclaimed run in Ipswich and London, the original cast of Graeae’s hit musical ‘Reasons To Be Cheerful’ have reunited for a new tour. Charlie Swinbourne visited their rehearsals.

  • Review: An Instinct for Kindness

    An Instinct for Kindness, written and performed by Chris Larner, tells a personal story of how the author took his ex-wife Allyson, to the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland, to commit suicide. Nervously and with some trepidation, Deborah Caulfield went to see the play at Swindon Arts Centre on Thursday 9th February.

  • Review: Lucian Freud Portraits

    The most ambitious exhibition of the work of Lucian Freud for ten years is now showing at the National Portrait Gallery until 27 May 2012. It is the first to focus on his portraits. Nicole Fordham Hodges went along, and took a friend.

  • Review: Graeae Theatre Company's 'Reasons To Be Cheerful'

    A national tour of Reasons to be Cheerful goes to Ipswich, Hull, Watford, Dundee, London and Nottingham. Written by Paul Sirett and directed by Graeae's Jenny Sealey, this acclaimed coming of age tale features the greatest hits of Ian Dury and the Blockheads. Deborah Caulfield caught the show at the Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich, on 16th February 2012.

  • Review: '1 Beach Road' by RedCape Theatre

    1 Beach Road is a new touring production by Turtle Key Arts working with RedCape Theatre - an intriguing drama which explores the metaphorical connection between Alzheimer’s and coastal erosion. Deborah Caulfield reviews a performance at South Street Arts Centre, Reading on 28 February 2012

  • Review: Bernadette Cremin tells tales about her Altered Egos

    Bernadette Cremin has brought her Altered Egos to the New Venture Theatre, Brighton. This follows its preview as a work-in-progress at Brighton Fringe 2010 where it was runner-up in the Latest Award for Best Literature Performance. Marian Cleary and Trish Wheatley review this new outing for six women with untidy lives.

  • Review: The Madness of George III

    Deborah Caulfield saw 'The Madness of George III' written by Alan Bennett, which is being re-run at The Apollo, London, until 31 March. She was greatly amused!

  • Review: One man’s weekend as a moth at Devoted & Disgruntled 7

    Improbable Theatre hosted their annual big Open Space event at York Hall in London from 25 - 27 February. Danny Braverman was there, taking part in dialogue about what should be done about theatre in the UK?

  • Review: Launching Rockets Never Gets Old

    'Launching Rockets Never Gets Old' looks at the artistic accidents generated by Raphael Hefti by interfering in industrial glass processes. Obi Chiejina assesses the impact of these accidents upon the artist and gallery visitor. The exhibition runs until the 18th March 2012 at Camden Arts Centre, London.

  • Review: Spare Tyre launch Picture Me as part of an International Women's Day celebration

    Outside the New Diorama Theatre, a huge electronic woman is projected onto a high commercial building. She sways as if on a catwalk, endlessly walking on. Inside, Spare Tyre is celebrating International Women's Day, with a series of performances focussed on violence against women. Reviewed by Nicole Fordham Hodges

  • Review: Picasso and Modern British Art

    Deborah Caulfield recently spent two glorious hours at Tate Britain’s Picasso & British Modern Art exhibition. She urges you to go, even if your passion for Modern Art is barely lukewarm.

  • Review: Jacob Bell and the Artists/Royal Pharmaceutical Society

    Obi Chiejina visits The Museum of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society's online exhibition, 'Jacob Bell and the Artists', from the comfort of her own home and asks is the online visitor experience as novel as it appears to be?


    Windows with a Difference presented a day of artists' talks at The New Art Gallery Walsall, on 29 February 2012. Tamar Whyte's personal and moving interpretation of this event on the theme of Art and Health, demonstrates the perspective of artists, and the enrichment of talking about our diversity.

  • Review: Rita Simons - My daughter, deafness and me (BBC1)

    This documentary about the Eastenders star Rita Simons and her deaf daughter is the latest instalment of the BBC's Beyond Disability season. Charlie Swinbourne gives us his view.

  • Review: We Won’t Drop The Baby

    Richard Downes reviews 'We Won’t Drop The Baby', featuring disabled comedian Laurence Clark and his family... and finds a four-fold joy. The documentary is part three of BBC1's Beyond Disability Series.

  • Review: Robert Softley presents If These Spasms Could Speak

    Writer/actor Robert Softley asked a simple question while preparing his new show, as part of the 2012 Behaviour festival at The Arches in Glasgow. Given how much their bodies define how others see them, what do disabled people think of their bodies themselves? The answers, as Paul F Cockburn discovered, might surprise you.

  • Review: Extant present Sheer

    Performing arts company Extant have blended a mix of burlesque, horror, comedy and magic to create an immersive experience. Deborah Caulfield witnessed 'Sheer' at Stratford Circus, London.

  • Review: Anatomy of an Athlete Elite sport, surgery and medical art

    'Anatomy of an Athlete' is showing at The Royal College of Surgeons’, Hunterian Museum until 29 September. Obi Chiejina put the exhibition of four new artworks from five medical artists under the microscope to discover that the boundaries between sport sciences and the illustrative arts are not as distinct as she thought.

  • Review: Shape Open

    The award ceremony for the Shape Open exhibition at Portobello Gallery, last night, was a crowded affair. Colin Hambrook went along to soak up Shape’s outing into a mainstream gallery space in West London.

  • Review: The Hunterian Museum present Anatomize

    ‘Anatomize’ a site-sensitive performance is the culmination of a creative partnership between The Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance and the Hunterian Museum and Archives. Obi Chiejina explores...

  • Review: Unlimited - David Toole's 'The Impending Storm'

    Acclaimed dancer David Toole has collaborated with Lucy Hind and Remix Dance Company from South Africa to create an Unlimited commission: 'The Impending Storm'. Jo Verrent caught this compelling visual feast at DanceXchange in Birmingham on 2 May.

  • Review: Unlimited - DaSH's M21 Live Art Festival

    DaSH's (Disability Arts Shropshire) M21 Live Art Festival was commissioned by the Unlimited programme, part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. Lynn Cox gives a Visually Impaired Person’s perspective on the event which took over the mediavel town of Much Wenlock in Shropshire from 5-6 May.

  • Review: Abnormally Funny People

    Abnormally Funny People have a run of gigs at the Soho Theatre Downstairs. Richard Downes went along on 24 April to find himself waking up to what comedy by disabled people is all about

  • Review: The International Symposium and Hippocrates Awards for Poetry and Medicine

    The International Symposium and Hippocrates Awards for Poetry and Medicine took place at Wellcome Collection, London on 12 May. Nicole Fordham Hodges was there to experience a mind-twisting variety of perspectives on the subject

  • Review: Abnormally Funny People

    Richard Downes strolls down to the Soho Theatre Downstairs on 21 May to spend yet more time with Abnormally Funny People

  • Review: Amadou and Mariam

    Richard Downes takes imagined journeys from a front room, that is a boat on top of the Queen Elizabeth Hall, at the Southbank Centre, where Amadou and Mariam appeared in a live, screened performance on 23 May.

  • Review: Southbank Centre's 'Festival of the World'

    Colin Hambrook witnesses the launch of the Southbank Centre's 'Festival of the World' - happening from 1 June to 9 September. Overwhelmed by the range, breadth and scale of the programme, he focuses on a couple of highlights.

  • Review: Deaffest 2012

    For the first time in five years, Charlie Swinbourne went to the UK's Deaf film and television festival Deaffest as a journalist rather than a filmmaker. He reviews the festival and this year's batch of films.

  • Review: Graeae present Prometheus Awakes

    DAO editor Colin Hambrook reviews Graeae's spectacular Prometheus Awakes event which opened the Greenwich+Docklands Festival at 10pm on 22 June.

  • Review: Unlimited: Janice Parker presents Private Dancer

    Janice Parker's intriguing choreography involves keeping her dancers in private rooms installed in the theatre. Paul Cockburn reviews a performance at the Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow on 21 June.

  • Review: Imagine... Theatre of War BBC 1 26 June 10.35 pm

    Author and ex-soldier Ray Hewitt reviews the first programme in this season's BBC's Imagine series which followed Bravo 22 Company as they developed and performed The Two Worlds of Charlie F.

  • Review: Yoko Ono 'To The Light'

    Richard Downes catches up with Cut Piece, from a major exhibition of Yoko Ono's work at the Serpentine Gallery, London until 9 September.

  • Review: Greenwich + Docklands International Festival 2012

    Liz Porter went with her family to soak up some of the Greenwich Fair at Greenwich + Docklands International Festival 2012. She offers a visually impaired person's view of the events on Saturday 23 June.

  • Review: the British Paraorchestra

    DAO Director Trish Wheatley saw the debut performance of the British Paraorchestra in the impressive grounds of Glastonbury Abbey on Sunday 1 July. World-renowned conductor and Somerset resident Charles Hazlewood introduced the ensemble to the crowd on the final day of his Orchestra in a Field festival.

  • Review: Damon Albarn presents Dr Dee

    Richard Downes reviews English National Opera’s London premiere of renaissance man Damon Albarn’s visionary new opera ‘Dr Dee’ at the Coliseum, with some thoughts on its relevance to current times.

  • Review: Priceless London Wonderground present Cantina

    Cantina is the headline act of Priceless London Wonderground, London's largest festival of Cabaret and Circus. Nicole Fordham Hodges obeyed the instruction to 'leave your real life at the door' as she entered the gorgeous 1920s Spiegeltent. Oh, except that she took her mother along.

  • Review: Niet Normaal: Difference on Display

    Adapted from a landmark Dutch exhibition, Niet Normaal (a popular phrase literally translated as ‘not normal’, but also meaning ‘cool’) features work in a variety of media. DAO is gathering a range of responses to the major DaDaFest exhibition on display at the Bluecoat Gallery, Liverpool from now until the 2 September.

  • Review: Simon McKeown's 'Motion Disabled: Unlimited'

    Motion Disabled Unlimited - the award winning exhibition and installation by Simon Mckeown - got a public outing at the torch relay celebrations, in South Park, Oxford on 9 July. Deborah Caulfield ponders the meaning of Disability Art writ large and loud at such a mainstream event.

  • Review: Edvard Munch: The Modern Eye at Tate Modern

    Tate Modern are showing a retrospective of the later works of reknowned Norwegian painter Edvard Munch until 14 October. Deborah Caulfield reviews the exhibition, which contains works from a period in the artists life when he became visually impaired.

  • Review: The Gershwins’ Porgy And Bess by Cape Town Opera

    Staged at the London Coliseum, Cape Town Opera’s production of Gershwin's 'Porgy and Bess' relocated the work’s enduring message by shifting the action to apartheid-era Soweto. Richard Downes went looking for something that is not missing.

  • Review: New Music 20x12 at the Southbank Centre

    New Music 20x12 brought twenty composers together with arts organisations to create exciting new music, which will be performed across the length and breadth of the UK. Richard Downes attended a celebration at the Southbank Centre on 15 July.

  • Review: Superhuman at the Wellcome Trust

    Superhuman at the Wellcome Trust gallery in London, looks at the history of humanity’s desire to be more than human. But John O’Donoghue came away uneasy about the whole idea.

  • Review: A Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

    The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time has been adapted by Simon Stephens, from the novel by Mark Haddon, and is playing at the National Theatre, London until 27 October. Nicole Fordham Hodges went to the preview earlier this month.

  • Review: Unlimited: Claire Cunningham presents Ménage à Trois

    Ménage à Trois explores Award-winning performer Claire Cunningham's 20-year relationship with her crutches. Paul Cockburn saw the performance at the Tramway, Glasgow on 25 August

  • Review: Unlimited: The Lawnmowers present 'Boomba Down the Tyne'

    Maggie Cameron caught The Lawnmowers at the Discovery Museum Newcastle with their Unlimited commission 'Boomba down the Tyne'

  • Review: Aylesbury Paralympic Flame Celebration

    Melissa Mostyn-Thomas reviews Aylesbury's Paralympic Flame Celebration on 28 August with StopGap Dance Company and Rachel Gadsden

  • Review: Fairport’s Cropredy Festival 2012

    Fairport Convention's Cropredy 2012 took place near Banbury in Oxfordshire from 9 - 11 August. Richard Downes tells a woeful tale about access provision at the festival.

  • Review: Unlimited: Mark Brew Company’s 'Fusional Fragments'

    Fusional Fragments is a fast-moving, athletic fusion of classical ballet and contemporary dance, featuring Dame Evelyn Glennie and the British Paraorchestra. Amardeep Sohi reviews the performance at Queen Elizabeth Hall, on 31 August, as part of the Unlimited Festival

  • Review: Unlimited: Sinéad O'Donnell's 'CAUTION'

    Sinéad O'Donnell's Unlimited commission CAUTION explores notions of identity, similarity and difference through journeys, actions and performance in real-time and online resulting in an exhibition of installation and performance. Colin Hambrook took part in the performance in the Royal Festival Hall on 1 September

  • Review: Unlimited: Maurice Orr's 'The Screaming Silence of the Wind'

    Maurice Orr's paintings are designed to be touched. His innovative use of dried fish skins as media, and the unusual access he gives to his paintings, makes this exhibition - on show in the Festival Village at the Southbank Centre until 9 September - a memorable experience. Nicole Fordham Hodges saw and touched these respectfully wild landscapes

  • Review: Unlimited: The Garden

    Amardeep Sohi reviews Graeae and Strange Fruit's Unlimited offering at the Unlimited Festival on the Terrace at the Southbank Centre.

  • Review: SOMEDAY ALL THE ADULTS WILL DIE: Punk Graphics 1971- 1984 at the Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre

    The Hayward Gallery's latest exhibition provides a comprehensive overview of punk graphic design, surveying imagery produced before, during and after the punk years. Richard Downes goes in search of links with Disability Arts

  • Review: Unlimited Global Alchemy: Rachel Gadsden and the Bambanini

    Rachel Gadsden's commission 'Unlimited Global Alchemy' was part of the Southbank Centre's Unlimited festival. Nicole Fordham Hodges was moved by the paintings' dance of 'fragility and hope'.

  • Review: Celebrating The Legacy of Woody Guthrie

    To celebrate the 100th anniversary of music legend Woody Guthrie’s birth, Billy Bragg curated a performance at Queen Elizabeth Hall on 16 September with singer-songwriters Joe Henry and Grace Petrie. Richard Downes responds to the songs and the legacy handed down by Guthrie - arguably one of the most influential musicians of the 20th Century.

  • Review: Free: Art by Offenders, Secure Patients and Detainees

    Curated by Sarah Lucas 'Free' marks the 50th anniversary of the Koestler Trust. It is showing at the Southbank Centre until 25 November. Nicole Fordham Hodges experienced this intense, wide-ranging exhibition.

  • Review: Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers

    Newly acclimatising to a cochlear implant, Susan Bennett reviews a performance by The Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall on 15 October.

  • Review: Outside In: National 2012

    The biggest visual arts treat of the year so far, has arrived in the form of Outside In: National which opened today at Pallant House Gallery in Chichester, West Sussex. Colin Hambrook extols the exhibitions virtues as a beacon for creativity.

  • Review: Changing Lives, Changing Times

    Sophie Partridge saw a recent performance of 'Changing Lives, Changing Times' by students from the Cathedral Academy of Performing Arts and Cockburn School, staged by the The Centre for Disability Studies and School of Performance & Cultural Industries at Leeds University. She sent the following review to DAO

  • Review: Playwriting Mentoring Project for new and emerging playwrights with Kaite O’Reilly

    The Ty Newydd Mentoring Scheme is led by playwright/ dramaturg Kaite O’Reilly. Over a six month period the eight selected writers on the course were supported throughout the process, from initial pitch to polished second draft. Tom Wentworth reflects on his experience.

  • Preview: Lets Make History Together 2012

    Richard Downes looks forward to a free festival timed to coincide with UK Disability History Month

  • Review: Marc Brew Company present a Triple Bill featuring Dame Evelyn Glennie

    Marc Brew is renowned for creating tender, precise dance that captures the beauty of shared moments. Sophie Partridge reviews a triple bill of the companies work, comprising 'Fusional Fragments', 'Nocturne' and 'Remember When' featuring Dame Evelyn Glennie, at the Tramway, Glasgow.

  • Review: Abigail McLellan (1969 – 2009): A Retrospective at Rebecca Hossack Gallery

    Abigail McLellan was an acclaimed artist when she was diagnosed with MS in 1999. She continued to produce and refine her intense, vibrant art for the last ten years of her life, often using ingenious techniques to outwit the effects of her illness. She died aged 40. Nicole Fordham Hodges went to the Rebecca Hossack Gallery to see the retrospective of her work on show until 1 December.

  • Review: Hijinx Theatre present The Adventures of Sancho Panza

    Hijinx Theatre recently performed a short run of The Adventures of Sancho Panza, inspired by the epic tale Don Quixote, to venues around the UK. Tom Wentworth saw the show at the Riverfront in Newport.

  • Review: The Lowry present The Makropulos Case: An opera in three acts

    Susan Bennett reviews a Captioned Performance of 'The Makropulos Case' by by Leos Janacek, produced by Opera North for The Lowry in Manchester.

  • Review: The World Press Photo Awards 2012 at the Royal Festival Hall

    The World Press Photo Exhibition returns to Southbank Centre, bringing together award-winning photographs from around the world which capture the most powerful, moving and sometimes disturbing images of the year. Richard Downes trips through the horrors to find glimmers of hope

  • Review: Together 2012 Festival Launched

    Richard Downes attends the launch on 21 November of 'Together 2012', Newham’s friendly Disability Arts Festival at The Hub, Star Lane, E16 4PZ

  • Review: Liz Crow presents 'Bedding In' as part of The Spill Festival

    Rosa Postlethwaite discusses Liz Crow's thought-provoking 'Bedding In', a live art performance, which took place at Ipswich Art School Gallery from 1-3 November, as part of the SPILL Festival

  • Review: Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet

    Currently being screened at a cinema near you, 'Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet' directed by Jason Vile, carries Independent Living messages spotted by Richard Downes

  • Review: Shape present The Adam Reynolds Bursary Shortlist Five and the First Four

    Richard Downes critiques the Adam Reynolds Memorial Bursary Shortlist 5 + The First 4 - on exhibition at Swiss Cottage Library until 6 January 2013

  • Review: Together 2012: 

Open Poetry Workshop with CoolTan Arts

    Richard Downes attends an Open Poetry Workshop in the Garden Café with CoolTan Arts and finds like minds and a sense of community

  • Review: Corali Dance present 'One of a Kind' and other new works

    Corali brought together its most recent work in a rare opportunity to see the breadth of the Company’s current practice in the foyer of Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank on 4 December. Sophie Partridge was there to review the programme

  • Review: The Lowry present Arabian Nights

    Set in the Turkish pink Quays Theatre, experiencing the Arabian Nights production by the Library Theatre Company at the Lowry in Salford was, says Susan Bennett like being in the kasbah itself. It brought together larger than life the stories of One Thousand and One Nights.

  • Review: CoolTan Arts: 'The Winter Edition'

    'The Winter Edition', the second in a series of exhibitions exploring the life, work and heritage of Charles Dickens, is showing at Southwark Cathedral until 14 January 2013. Nicole Fordham Hodges was at the private viewing, which illuminated a dark December night.

  • Review: ActOne ArtsBase present A Sense of Beauty

    ActOne ArtsBase are currently producing a dance and performance workshop called 'A Sense of Beauty' for schools, hospices, hospitals, theatres and outdoor venues across the East of England and surrounding areas. Katie Fraser discusses her experience of being part of the organisations training programme.

  • Review: Together 2012: End Of Festival Party

    Richard Downes reviews the end of festival event for 'Together 2012', Newham’s friendly Disability Arts Festival, held at The Hub, East London on 18 December

  • Review: Shape present 'Perceptions Of Balance'

    Nine artists, brought together as part of Shape’s Creative Steps programme, use varied media to illustrate and express their encounters with how they may or may not experience equilibrium. The exhibition is on show at Lauderdale House until 3rd February 2013. Review by Richard Downes

  • Review: Light Show at the Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre

    Light Show brings together sculptures and installations from 22 artists who use light to sculpt and shape space. Richard Downes is disturbed and illuminated by this exhibition of immersive environments, free-standing light sculptures and projections on show at the Hayward Gallery, London until 28 April 2013.

  • Review: Arc Dance Company perform A Sense of Beauty at The Place's annual Resolution event

    Sophie Partridge is a regular at the annual Resolution! dance event at The Place, London. On 23 January Arc Dance Company performed A Sense of Beauty, produced by Turtle Key Arts as part of the festival.

  • Review: TransAction Theatre present dIRTy

    Described as an explosive, visceral portrayal of disintegration, TransAction Theatre's 'dIRTy', written and performed by Joey Hateley and directed by Julie McNamara, was performed at the Contact Theatre, Manchester on 31 January. Mari Elliott reviews the experience

  • Review: Birds of Paradise present 'In An Alien Landscape'

    Glasgow-based theatre company Birds of Paradise is currently touring a new production that promises ‘an ironic and humorous journey entering the world of brain injury, consciousness, memory and creativity’. Paul F Cockburn asks: did it work?

  • Review: Spare Tyre Theatre present 'Scratches'

    Spare Tyre’s Associates join forces with their Company of Artists to showcase stories, imaginations and physicalities through spoken word, song, dance, movement and film. Nicole Fordham Hodges saw 'Scratches' at the Albany Theatre, London on 27 February. It was joyous, playful and rude.

  • Review: SICK! Festival presents Under Observation

    SICK! Festival of Contemporary Performance Art produced by contemporary performance organisation, the Basement plays in Brighton from 1- 16 March. Colin Hambrook went along to an afternoon of durational performance and film entitled Under Observation

  • Review: SICK! Festival presents Jochem Stavenuiter's Eleonora

    SICK! Festival of Contemporary Performance Art produced by contemporary performance organisation the Basement plays in Brighton from 1- 16 March. John O'Donoghue saw Jochem Stavenuiter’s tale of what happened when his mother Eleonora had a stroke

  • Review: All Eyes On Us by Eelyn Lee Productions and young people from the Olympic host boroughs

    'All Eyes On Us' is a short film and photographic exhibition that follows the journey of four disabled people in the run up, performance and aftermath of the opening ceremony for the London 2012 Paralympic Games. Nina Mühlemann went to a showing at the Free Word Centre, Farringdon, London on 28 February

  • Review: Shape In The City’s Pop-Up Gallery
    John O’Donoghue went along to Shape In The City’s Pop-Up Gallery at 40 Gracechurch Street, London. This is what he found.
  • Review: Arts & Disability Ireland and Fire Station Artists' Studios ‘Pathways to Practice’ symposium
    Sinead O’Donnell reviews ‘Pathways to Practice’ - a one day symposium exploring and celebrating visual artists’ practice and development through the Arts & Disability Ireland and Fire Station Artists' Studios ‘Studio Award for an Artist with a Disability’
  • Review: Criptease at Southbank Centre's WOW festival
    New York Legendary Nightlife Artstar Julie Atlas Muz guest-hosts Criptease, an outlandish, outrageous evening of neo-burlesque celebrating disabled women's bodies for Women Of The World 2013. Nina Muehlemann reviews this burlesque performance by deaf and disabled artists, at the Southbank Centre on 9 March
  • Review: WOW festival presents Claire Cunningham's Ménage à Trois
    Claire Cunningham makes work based on honing skills specifically created by her physical impairment and looking at perceived limitations as advantages. Nina Mühlemann was there to see this production created with choreographer/video artist Gail Sneddon at the Queen Elizabeth Hall for Southbank's Women of the World festival.
  • Review: SICK! Festival presents Bobby Baker's Mad Gyms and Kitchens
    SICK! Festival of Contemporary Performance Art produced by contemporary performance organisation the Basement plays in Brighton from 1- 16 March. John O'Donoghue sees Bobby Baker’s Mad Gyms And Kitchens and ends up having a nice cup of tea.
  • Review: SICK! Festival presents the vacuum cleaner's acclaimed show Mental
    SICK! Festival of Contemporary Performance Art produced by contemporary performance organisation the Basement, played in Brighton from 1- 16 March. John O'Donoghue went to see the vacuum cleaner's show Mental, which documents 10 years of being an outlaw, inpatient and artist activist.
  • Review: Side by Side Exhibition at the Southbank Centre
    The Rocket Artists, in partnership with the University of Brighton, present Side by Side - an international exhibition showcasing learning disability, art and collaboration. **Nicole Fordham Hodges** reviews the exhibition, on show in the Spirit Level, Southbank Centre, London until 5 April
  • Review: Taking Flight Theatre Company present Real Human Being
    Taking Flight is an inclusive youth theatre project based in Cardiff. Written by Matthew Bulgo, 'Real Human Being’ uses forum theatre to deal with the issue of disability hate crime. Tom Wentworth saw a performance at Corpus Christi High School on 22 March.
  • Review: SICK! Festival presents Sick Notes an online archive

    Sick Notes is part of SICK!, an ambitious, cross art-form festival that seeks out new ways of talking about and dealing with the experience of sickness. Sick Notes is an online video archive of sick jokes and funny stories about illness. John O’Donoghue likes a good laugh. But will Sick Notes deliver?

  • Review: CoolTan Arts presents 'Making it Happen' at the BFI

    CoolTan Arts film project let participants explore the process any individual needs to go through to access a personal budget, by expressing their experiences of the personalisation process through their own words, filmmaking and animation. Richard Downes attended a screening at NFT2, British Film Institute on 25 March

  • Review: PhotoVoice’s launch ‘Able Voices: Participatory photography as a tool for for inclusion’

    Richard Downes attends PhotoVoice’s launch of ‘Able Voices: Participatory photography as a tool for for inclusion’. His prejudice shatters like glass

  • Review: A Reflection on The Other Side of the Coin by Signdance Collective International

    Signdance Collective International performed their tale about Spanish poet Frederico Garcia Lorca at the 2013 NoPassport theatre conference at NYU Gallatin on 1 March 2013 in New York City. Writer, dramatist and director, Caridad Svich, responds

  • Review: The Everyman & Playhouse Theatres in Liverpool present A Day in the Death of Joe Egg

    ‘A Day in the Death of Joe Egg’ by Peter Nicolls is arguably one of the most controversial plays about disability of the last 50 years. Cate Jacobs responds after a performance at The Liverpool Playhouse on 27 April.

  • Review: Vital Xposure presents The Knitting Circle

    Currently on national tour Julie McNamara's latest production 'The Knitting Circle' is billed as a gripping celebration of the forgotten lives of women who survived long term institutional incarceration. Review by Joe McConnell

  • Review: COnscription by Caglar Kimyoncu

    COnscription explores the call-up to military service for people who don't 'fit the mould'. The four-channel film is on show at the Old Truman Brewery, London until 18 May. Joe McConnell reviews a multimedia installation which follows the stories of four individuals who meet at a military hospital - three subjects under assessment and their doctor.

  • Review: The Angina Monologue by Doug Devaney

    Is it possible to make compelling theatre out of a cardiac arrest? John O’Donoghue went to see Doug Devaney’ show, part of Brighton’s Five Pound Fringe.

  • Review: Alternative Guide to the Universe at the Hayward Gallery, London

    Alternative Guide to the Universe explores the work of self-taught artists and architects, fringe physicists and visionary inventors. Richard Downes lends a critical eye to the exhibition on show at the Hayward Gallery, London, until 26 August

  • Review: A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Taking Flight Theatre Company as part of the Unity Festival

    Taking Flight Theatre Company’s 2013 touring production of Shakespeare’s classic comedy was staged at Cardiff’s Norwegian Church. The aim of the company is to make inclusive theatre aimed at a wide cross-section of audiences. Tom Wentworth wasn’t disappointed.

  • Review: Greaeae: The Limbless Knight - a tale of rights reignited at the Greenwich and Docklands Festival

    What does it mean to be alive? Graeae Theatre ask in their new production The Limbless Knight - performed at Greenwich and Docklands Festival 21- 23 June. Colin Hambrook critiques the latest offering from one of the UKs foremost disability theatre companies

  • Review: Extrêmitiés by Cirque Inextremiste as part of the Unity Festival

    Billed as circus performance the Cirque Inextremiste were appearing for the first time in Wales, presenting their newest piece Extrêmités, as part of this year’s Unity Festival at the Wales Millenium Centre in Cardiff. Tom Wentworth witnessed the loud bangs, bright lights and spectacular surprises!

  • Review: The Adventures of Sancho Panza by Hijinx Theatre as part of the Unity Festival

    Hijinx Theatre Company has been recently touring Wales again with their unique take on the classic tale, staged as part of the Unity Festival at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff. Tom Wentworth saw the recently revived version performed this inclusive theatre company

  • Review: Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger by Hijinx Theatre and Frantic Assembly

    Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger is an exciting new piece, which was performed as part of the Unity Festival at the Wales Millennium Centre. The piece was the outcome of a fortnight's residency with an inclusive group of performers. Tom Wentworth was there to review the collaboration.

  • Review: Don’t Call Me Crazy - documentary season on BBC Three

    Don’t Call Me Crazy launches It’s A Mad World - a season of films on BBC Three looking at a range of mental health issues affecting young people in Britain today. Sarah Tonin responds with a review asking who will speak out against this kind of exploitative representation?

  • Review: All Eyes On Us by Eelyn Lee Productions at the East End Film Festival

    As the one-year-anniversary of the Paralympic Opening Ceremony approaches, Nina Muehlemann attends the public premiere of the documentary ‘All Eyes On Us’ at the East End Film Festival.

  • Review: DaDaFest On Tour: Young DaDaFest 2013

    Young DaDaFest is a performance showcase for and by young Disabled and d/Deaf people aged 13-25. Young DaDa member Michelle Stubbs reports on this years' performance on 18 July at the Johnson Foundation Auditorium of Liverpool John Moores’ Art and Design Academy.

  • Review: Short Circuit: When Disability And Digital Collide

    Disabled people aren’t strangers to technology. From hearing aids to wheelchairs we’ve been drawing on human inventiveness to give us not just access but options. John O'Donoghue went along to look how digital technology is changing the face of disability art.

  • Review: The Art of Bounce: Disability Arts Festival in Belfast

    The Bounce Festival took place during September 2013, over three, dynamic days. Rosaleen McDonagh was there, assessing the development of Disability Arts in Northern Ireland.

  • Overview: Common Pulse: Intersecting Abilities

    Ju Gosling reports on Common Pulse a bi-annual festival and symposium curated by Durham Art Gallery in rural Ontario, focusing on ‘important current developments that are taking place in the Canadian art and culture scene’. The theme for 2013's festival was Intersecting Abilities.

  • Review: Day Six: When Motherhood and Madness Collide

    'Day Six: when Motherhood and Madness Collide' is Jen S Wight's personal story of Post Partum Psychosis. Has early motherhood ever been so harrowing? Nicole Fordham Hodges reviews this taboo-busting, searingly honest, assertively political and never self-indulgent book.

  • Review: The Shape Open 2013: Disability Re-assessed

    Shape’s annual visual arts competitive exhibition invites disabled and non-disabled artists to submit work on a disability theme. Tim Hayton reviews this years' exhibition on show at The Nunnery Gallery in London E3 until 20 October 2013.

  • Review: The Spark: Creative Future Literary Award Winners

    John O’Donoghue reviews the first anthology of Creative Future’s award winning writers - The Spark edited by Dominique De-Light and Simon Powell

  • Review: DYSPLA Festival 2013

    Colin Hambrook attended the palpably intense, hugely inventive DYSPLA Festival at Camden Peoples' Theatre, London on 13 November.

  • Review: ‘An Earthworm called Girlfriend and Other Stories’ by the Grace Eyre creative writing group

    Allan Sutherland reviews ‘An Earthworm called Girlfriend and Other Stories’ by writers and artists who attend Grace Eyre Foundation’s Active Lives programme in Hove.

  • Review: Oska Bright Film Festival 2013

    John O'Donoghue went along to the launch of Oska Bright at Brighton's Corn Exchange. The bi-annual film festival features the work of learning disabled artists both from the UK and from international entrants. Each film has to be a short and include learning disabled artists in the film-making process. Now in its tenth year Oska Bright continues to showcase work that is innovative, striking, quirky.

  • Review: Hastings Storytelling Festival: The Velvet Curtain

    Produced by 18 Hours for the Hastings Storytelling Festival The Velvet Curtain featured an evening of adult entertainment with burlesque performers Penny Pepper, Liz Bentley, Caroline Smith AKA Mertle Merman and Crimson Skye. Esther Fox was there as the curtain parted to reveal four mistresses of the titillating tale.

  • Review: BBC Imagine: Turning the Art World Inside Out

    The latest in Alan Yentob’s ‘Imagine’ series on BBC One attempted to examine how we define ‘Outsider Art’ asking “Why in 2013 is Outsider Art finally being feted by the art establishment, and what took it so long?” Michelle Kopczyk gives a critical analysis of how the programme failed to provide answers.

  • Review: Together 2013

    Dao posts reports by Richard Downes and Stephen Portlock on performing arts and visual arts at the month-long Together! Festival held in the London Borough of Newham from 22 November - 19 December

  • Extraordinary Change: Engage International Conference 2013

    Engage are an advocacy and support organisation for gallery education. Liz Porter attended their international conference in Birmingham on  7-8 November, which explored the challenges that education in galleries and the visual arts face in a period of uncertainty.


  • Review: Knitting Time by Colin Hambrook

    Allan Sutherland reviews Knitting Time, an illustrated poetry collection by Colin Hambrook published by Waterloo Press

  • Review: Beauty and the Beast by One of Us in co-production with Improbable

    Mat Fraser and Julie Atlas Muz poke fun at the absurdity of normality in their new production of the age old tale of Beauty and Beast. Directed by Phelim McDermott, Artistic Director of Improbable, the company conspire to make an adult fairytale like no other. Tam Gilbert reviews a performance at the Young Vic, London

  • Review: Growing Up Downs: Blue Apple Theatre documentary on BBC 3

    Last night BBC 3 aired a documentary telling the story of how Blue Apple Theatre took a touring production of Shakespeare’s Hamlet to 12 mainstream theatres across the south of England playing to an audience of over 3,000 people from April - July 2012. Colin Hambrook reviews

  • Review: Disability: A New History on BBC i-player

    In this ten-part radio series Peter White presents a history of disability in the 18th and 19th centuries. First broadcast on Radio 4 last year, podcasts and transcripts are available on the BBC’s website. Review by Dr Emmeline Burdett

  • Review: Stopgap Dance Company tours Artificial Things

    Artificial Things marks an important moment in the 19 year evolution of Stopgap Dance Company as the debut stage production for Lucy Bennett. Karl Newman caught the touring production at the Ivy Arts Centre in Guildford.

  • Review: Kiruna Stamell and Gareth Berliner: One of Us Will Die

    Presented by the Disability Arts Touring Network in association with DaDaFest, Susan Bennett and Michelle Stubbs caught Kiruna Stamell and Gareth Berliner's latest comedy show 'One of Us Will Die' at the Citadel in St. Helens on 7th February.

  • Review: Frozen by fingermsiths

    Originally developed at the National Theatre Studio, Frozen sees a cast of Deaf and hearing actors bring fingersmiths' visual and physical theatre style to the stage, in the first major production of the play in 10 years. Review by Melissa Mostyn.

  • Review: Creative Minds South East one-day conference

    It’s a bold question to pose, especially at a time when funding cuts conspire to put all creative organisations on the defensive: how do we perceive, discuss and measure quality in work by artists with learning disabilities? Bella Todd reports on the performing arts aspect of the Creative Minds conference, held on 10th March at Brighton Dome - and asks some pertinent questions to stimulate further debate.

  • Review: Vital Xposure presents Julie McNamara’s Let Me Stay

    Described as A tender and unique exploration of the impact of Alzheimer's on family relations, Julie McNamara’s Let Me Stay evokes her mother's songs and stories to create a personal piece of theatrical storytelling. Cath Nichols saw the performance at the Bluecoats, Liverpool on12th March.

  • Review: The Hold, from Lung Ha’s Theatre Company, in collaboration with National Museums Scotland

    Scotland’s leading theatre company for actors with learning difficulties performed a promenade piece 'The Hold' in one of the country’s top museums in Edinburgh from 12-16 March. Paul F Cockburn isn’t usually a fan of this style of theatre, but this new collaboration proved to be an exception.


  • Review: Wendy Hoose, from Birds of Paradise/ Random Accomplice Theatre Companies

    Paul F Cockburn reviews this wonderfully entertaining and downright funny sex comedy, which tours Scotland until 29 March.

  • Review: Chris Fonseca: So Beautiful Choreography

    Chris Fonseca's debut dance video was created with the lyrics to 'So Beautiful' by Musiq SoulChild in mind. Melissa Mostyn asks what makes this piece of romantic choreography unique?

  • Review: You're Not Alone by Kim Noble

    As if by divine orchestration an unusual and eerie fog descends on Brighton a few hours prior to the start of You’re Not Alone – Kim Noble’s only performance as part of the eclectic and brilliantly programmed SICK! Festival in Brighton. Sarah Pickthall returned through the mists to send in this review.

  • Review: If These Spasms Could Speak by Robert Softley

    'Informed', 'irreverent' and 'humane' are three words used on the SICK! Festival brochure welcome page to introduce the aims of the festival in shining a light on issues that often remain hidden, taboo or misunderstood in daily life. Colin Hambrook explains why If These Spasms Could Speak fits the bill admirably.

  • Review: Graeae Theatre present The Threepenny Opera

    Graeae's production of Brecht and Weill's The Threepenny Opera attempts to provoke thinking around approaches to creative access. Liz Porter caught the show in Ipswich and sent in the following review, written from a visually impaired perspective

  • Review: Hayward Gallery host Martin Creed's 'What's the point of it?'

    Winner of the 2001 Turner Prize, Creed uses a wide range of artistic media and including music, his art changes everyday materials and actions into surprising reflections on life. Jessie Woodward sent in the following review of access within the exhibition, which is on show until 5 May. 

  • Review: ‘Good Kings Bad Kings’ a novel by Susan Nussbaum

    Winner of the Pen/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction, 'Good Kings Bad Kings’ (Oneworld Publications, 2014) by the American playwright and disability campaigner Susan Nussbaum, is a novel about life inside the walls of the Illinois Learning and Life Skills Center (ILLC), - an institution for juveniles with disabilities. Review by Emmeline Burdett

  • Review: The Dandifest Fete, Norwich

    Amongst the days entertainment at the glorious May Day Dandy Village Fete, in Norwich on 5th May, Ann Young encountered poet/ producer Vince Laws and the force of nature that is Bonk, (aka Dickie Lupton).

  • Review: Katherine Araniello & Jenna Finch: Screw the Taboo

    Deborah Caulfield catches the latest Live Art collaboration by Katherine Araniello and Jenna Finch. 



  • Review: Deafinitely Theatre's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream

    Following the success of Deafinitely Theatre's production of Love's Labour's Lost as part of the 2012 Globe to Globe project, they return to Shakespeare's Globe with a performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream in British Sign Language, until 7 June. Review by Melissa Mostyn

  • Review: From There to Here: The hidden history of People with Learning Difficulties at Liverpool Museum

    Visiting a provocative exhibition on at the Museum of Liverpool until 13 July, Jade French explores the unseen history of people with learning difficulties and asks: why aren’t we doing more in our galleries to make ideas accessible? Article reproduced with kind permission of The Double Negative.

  • Review: Stratford Circus, Face Front Theatre & Ramira Arts Collective: No Barriers with Barriers

    Peter Faventi of Stratford Circus’s Blue Sky Actors and associate artist at Face Front Inclusive Theatre Company, with Ramira Arts Collective present: No Barriers with Barriers a striking site-specific play performing at Rowans Bowling Alley, in the heart of Finsbury Park London. Sophie Partridge went along to find that access barriers are still grossly misunderstood…

  • Review: Shape Gallery: Shortlist 6

    Shape have just launched Shortlist 6: an exhibition of work marking the 6 years of the Adam Reynolds Memorial Bursary awards. Colin Hambrook visited Shape’s pop-up gallery in Westfield Shopping Centre, Stratford to see the work of the most recent bursary-winner, Aaron McPeake alongside that of three of the shortlisted artists.

  • Review: DaDaFest: Working Lives: Here & There

    Working Lives: Here & There is the latest exhibition by DadaFest, a disability and deaf arts organisation based in Liverpool, aiming to explore disability and employment, not just locally in Liverpool, but worldwide, through photographs and supporting narratives of disabled people in their workplaces. Review by Jade French

  • Review: Vital Xposure presents Julie McNamara’s Let Me Stay as part of the Anxiety Festival

    Since opening in Auckland, New Zealand at the end of 2013, Vital Xposure’s latest production Let Me Stay has been touring the UK. Having won an Unlimited Award, Julie McNamara is set to stage the show she has written for and with her mum at the Southbank Centre in September. Bella Todd saw the one-woman show at The Albany, Deptford.

  • Review: Jez Colborne: GIFT at the Southbank Centre

    Jez Colborne’s live sound installation GIFT is one of 20 pieces commissioned by the New Music Biennial and destined for this year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Gus Garside saw Mind the Gap’s latest production at the Southbank Centre on 6 July.

  • Review: Shape Artist's Network talk by Aaron McPeake on receiving the Adam Reynolds Memorial Bursary

    Adam Reynolds Bursary winner Aaron McPeake gave a talk at the Shape Gallery in Westfield on his Spike Island residency on 3 July, as part of the launch of Shape’s Artist Network; a new, quarterly event for emerging and mid-career artists to get together, develop new collaborations and share ideas for professional development. Colin Hambrook reflects on the artists' practice.

  • Review: Francesca Martinez: ‘What the **** is Normal?!’

    Francesca Martinez' memoir is about growing up with Cerebral Palsy. Rosaleen McDonagh reviews the comedians reflections on her life - an arduous journey through crippledom, illustrating how the public persona of wanting to be the ‘funny girl’ contradicted her internalized oppression.

  • Review: Liberty 2014

    Trish Wheatley caught up with events at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford for National Paralympic Day 2014, featuring The Liberty Festival on 30 August

  • Review: Unlimited 2014: Robert Softley Gale: If These Spasms Could Speak

    Robert Softley Gale brings disabled peoples' authentic voices to life in If These Spasms Could Speak. Richard Downes saw the show in The Blue Room, in the Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre on 3 September as part of Unlimited 2014

  • Review: Unlimited 2014: Perceptions of Difference: DAO & Survivors' Poetry

    On Level 5 on the Royal Festival Hall lies the Saison Poetry Library: an eclectic crowd gathered to hear poetry from four stalwarts of the Survivors' Movement. Wendy Young was there for the inspiring words of Hilary Porter, John O’Donoghue, Debjani Chatterjee MBE, Frank Bangay the Bard of Hackney!  MC’d by Colin Hambrook.


  • Review: Unlimited 2014: Julie McNamara: Let Me Stay

    There’s a luminous quality to Julie McNamara’s generously warm and funny one-woman show about the onset of her mother’s Alzheimer’s. Review by Amardeep Sohi

  • Review: Unlimited 2014 Katherine Araniello, The Dinner Party Revisited

    Sophie Partridge caught the anarchic chaos that was Katherine Araniello's Unlimited live art performance in the Purcell Room at the Southbank Centre

  • Review: Unlimited 2014 Opening event: Does It Matter? World War I Shorts

    Like the excellent opening of Glastonbury 2014 Festival’s Sunday programme with the English National Ballet performing Akram Khan’s World War I themed ‘Dust’, Unlimited Festival got into full swing with five disabled artists’ responses to the centenary of The Great War. Review by Trish Wheatley

  • Review: Unlimited 2014: Drake Music: Seasons 4.0

    Sophie Partridge went to a sharing of a Drake Music’s Seasons 4.0 an Unlimited commission featuring a collaboration across electro-acoustic music, contemporary dance and interactive technology. The event took place at Rich Mix in Bethnal Green on Friday 5 September.

  • Review: Unlimited 2014: the vacuum cleaner: Madlove

    James Leadbitter aka the vacuum cleaner has been asking people how they would design a safe place to go mad, in a series of 3 hour workshops in the Royal Festival Hall. What would the ideal mental hospital be like? John O'Donoghue went to find out about the blueprint for a Madlove Designer Asylum.

  • Review: Unlimited 2014: Touretteshero and Captain Hotknives

    In the hallowed foyer of the Queen Elizabeth Hall, arty eclectics and normal people buzzed and filled the rather large space to standing room only for the arrival of not just any old superheroes...  Wendy Young was at the 'Unlimited Friday Tonic' for biscuits and songs about animal sex, from Touretteshero and Captain Hotknives

  • Review: Unlimited 2014: Unleashed

    The premise of ‘Unlimited Unleashed’ is simple enough – some of the performers of various Unlimited productions do something on stage that they don’t normally do. The result is a stunning, chaotic cabaret night. Nina Muehlemann reports from this very special variety show.

  • Review: Unlimited 2014: Stopgap Dance Company: The Awakening

    Sophie Partridge gives an account of inclusive dance company, Stopgap’s performance on the terrace of the Royal Festival Hall on the penultimate day of Unlimited

  • Review: Unlimited 2014: Bekki Perriman: The Doorways Project

    Bekki Perriman’s installation ‘The Doorways Project’ explores homelessness through spoken word and photography. Nina Muehlemann reflects on the quiet and cautiously assembled work in the Royal Festival Hall, that is part of this Unlimited research and development award.

  • Review: Unlimited 2014: Juan delGado: The Flickering Darkness (Revisited)

    Juan delGado's The Flickering Darkness is a video installation filmed at the Corabastos market in Bogotá (Columbia), the largest of its kind in Latin America. Produced during a three-month residency in the city in 2009 and re-edited for Unlimited, the project explores the journey produce sold at the market takes, from its arrival before dawn to its consumption. Review by Gary Thomas

  • Review: Unlimited 2014: Birds of Paradise and Random Accomplice: Wendy Hoose

    Robert Softley Gale & Johnny McKnight set out to write and direct the most graphic, funniest sex comedy possible, with the Unlimited commission for Wendy Hoose. Review by Amardeep Sohi




  • Review: Unlimited 2014: Jo Bannon: Exposure

    Jo Bannon's Exposure was a ten minute one-on-one performance event, which took place in a room on the fourth floor of the Royal Festival Hall. Sue Austin describes its impact on her in the context of her own live performance art


  • Review: Unlimited 2014: The Vacuum Cleaner’s Madlove Asylum Workshop

    James Leadbitter aka the Vacuum Cleaner introduces the concept of the 'Madlove Designer Asylum' and Colin Hambrook talks to Tony Heaton about his experience of the workshop in the Royal Festival Hall as part of the Unlimited Festival.


  • Review: Penny Pepper: Lost in Spaces

    Award winning writer, poet, performer and rights activist, Penny Pepper presented her highly anticipated, unique one-woman show, Lost in Spaces at the Soho Theatre last Monday. Review by Colin Hambrook

  • Unlimited 2014: Touretteshero: Backstage in Biscuit Land

    Victoria Wright learns never to put an elephant in an envelope after experiencing Jess Thom, aka Touretteshero, and her accomplice Jess Mabel Jones performing Backstage in Biscuit Land as part of Unlimited at the Southbank Centre.

  • Review: Unlimited 2014: Caroline Bowditch: Falling in Love with Frida

    Combining monologue and dance, Caroline Bowditch’s Falling in Love with Frida is a passionate reclamation of Frida Kahlo as a disabled artist and a reflection on how we are remembered by others. Victoria Wright reviews a performance at the Queen Elizabeth Hall as part of the Unlimited Festival.

  • Review: Actors Touring Company [ATC]: Blind Hamlet

    Produced by Actors Touring Company [ATC] Blind Hamlet is currently doing the rounds on a nationwide tour. Written by Iranian playwright Nassim Soleimanpour, best known for his work White Rabbit, Red Rabbit, Colin Hambrook looks at how the author plays with theatrical convention using an exemplary charm and wit to explore metaphors on ‘sight’ and 'truth'

  • Storylines: Mapping the past - a Carousel project

    Storylines is a project which brings the memories and stories of older people with learning difficulties to the public through live events which combine video projection, performance and poetry. The pilot project has been led by young learning disabled artists Becky Bruzas, Jason Eade, Tina Dickinson and Sarah Watson from the Oska Bright steering committee. Review by Alan Morrison

  • Review: Forest Forge Theatre Company: Woman of Flowers by Kaite O'Reilly

    Woman of Flowers is an innovative re-telling of an ancient Welsh myth where nothing is quite as it seems. Currently on tour to rural venues in Wales and the South, Tom Wentworth saw the Forest Forge production at the Cheltenham Everyman Theatre on 27 September

  • Review: The Greatness of ‘Great Britain’ at the Theatre Royal Haymarket

    Richard Bean’s fast and furious play is an anarchic piece about the press, the police and the political establishment. Star Lucy Punch who plays Paige Britain was recently reported in the Independent to describe the satire as ‘a fond look on tabloid journalism’. For Mik Scarlet it is a laughter-filled satire based on a truth almost too real to be funny.

  • Review: Creative Minds South West one day conference

    In spite of grisly weather, the turn-out for The Creative Minds Conference on 14th October at Bristol’s Harbourside was excellent with nearly 200 delegates arriving for registration. Tanvir Bush was there from the start, soaking up the palpable excitement, energy and general feeling of great warmth and camaraderie amongst the performers and organisers.

  • Review: Shape Open 2014: Too Wonderful to be [in]Visible

    This year's Shape Open exhibition questions how we perceive disability, using painting, audio, textile, and even a mask made of meat to look beyond that which is visible. Currently in its third year, Shape Open is an annual call-out for both disabled and non-disabled artists to submit work of any medium in response to a disability-focused theme - this year, '[in]visible'. Mik Scarlet wheeled his way through the vast Westfield shopping complex to the exhibition.

  • Review: Rite of Passage: a gravedigger's memoir by Peter Street

    Published as an ebook by Natterjack Press, Wendy Young unearths some graveyard humour in Peter Street’s memoir 'Rite of Passage' with its tales of a young disabled grave-digger in a 1960s world that most of us would not be able to ‘dig’!

  • Review: Gobscure present Collector of Tears

    Sean Burn’s Collector of Tears is a poetic and epic love story spanning over four hundred years. A powerful play, encompassing sexual and survivor politics, the touring production was directed by Jackie Fielding and performed by Madeline McMahon. Review by Simon Jenner

  • Review: DaDaFest International 2014: Art of the Lived Experiment

    DaDaFest is certainly making its presence known, says Jade French reviewing the ambitious visual arts exhibition taking place in the Bluecoat, Liverpool.

  • Review: DaDaFest International 2014: The City Speaks

    The City Speaks is a guided tour to Liverpool's political and cultural history of the city and its people. Created by sound artist Chas de Swiet, the audio work provides an aural tapestry made up of snippets and snapshots of Liverpool past and present, stories told in song, poetry, interviews and observations, all set against natural background sounds. Review by Deborah Caulfield

  • Review: Disability Arts Touring Network: Krip-Hop Nation

    Krip-Hop Nation continues to grow internationally as a platform for disabled artists and a voice for disability-led justice and politics. Featuring MCs, rappers and DJs from the US, Germany, Uganda and the UK, supported by the Disability Arts Touring Network (DATN). Review by Cate Jacobs of their show at the Citadel, St Helens on 13 November

  • Review: Disability Arts Touring Network: The Ugly Girl

    Featuring an international cast of disabled actresses The Ugly Girl is a currently touring to Salford, Wolverhampton and Liverpool. Obi Chiejina reviews a performance of the show at The Continental, Preston on 20 November

  • Review: UK Disability History Month 2014: War And Impairment

    On 18 November, Disability Rights campaigners, disabled people, carers and allies gathered to celebrate the fifth anniversary of UKDHM at this year’s Launch event in Unite House, Holborn, London.  Review by Sarah Ismail

  • Review: DaDaFest International 2014: 'Unsung' by John Graham Davies and James Quinn

    Edward Rushton (1756–1814) was Liverpool’s most implacable anti-slavery abolitionist, human rights activist and pioneer for disability rights. If like Susan Bennett, you had not heard of him, then Saturday 22 November at DaDaFest gave an opportunity to catch up with three events highlighting the bicentenary, social activism and legacy of the man, including a rehearsed reading of a new play inspired by his life 

  • Review: DaDaFest International 2014: The Life and Impact of Edward Rushton

    Unsung - Liverpool's Most Radical Son is an exhibition at the Museum of Liverpool celebrating the bicentennial of the life of Edward Rushton  (1756 – 1814). DaDaFest marked the beginning of Disability History Month with a day of talks in the museum about the life and impact of the City's most implacable anti-slavery abolitionist, human rights activist and pioneer for disability rights. Review by Cate Jacobs

  • Review: DaDaFest International 2014: Lisa Simpson's 'Brought to Life'

    The digital world meets the natural world in choreographer Lisa Simpson’s enchanting professional debut. Inspired by Goldsworthy’s ephemeral sculptural artworks, this new dance piece explores growth, change and the environment. Review by Cate Jacobs

  • Review: DaDaFest International 2014: Sophie Partridge's 'Song of Semmersuaq'

    Song of Semmersuaq is adapted from an Inuit mythical tale. Written and performed by Sophie Partridge, it is the story of a 7ft tall chief’s daughter from a tribe who live in a world of snow.   - Cate Jacobs reviewed a performance at the Unity Theatre,  Liverpool on 21st November

  • Review: DaDaFest International 2014: You Are My Sunshine: Terry Galloway

    You Are My Sunshine is Terry’s comic exploration of what happens to a woman after she literally regains her senses. Cate Jacobs reviews a performance at the Bluecoat on 27 November


  • Review: DaDaFest International 2014: Unsung Hero: Liverpool's Most Radical Son

    Edward Rushton, poet, activist and scouser has been forgotten and left in the margins of our history... until now.  As part of this years’ festival, DaDaFest have partnered with The International Slavery Museum, The Museum of Liverpool and the Victoria Gallery and Museum to celebrate the life of this fascinating figure through a series of displays featuring at each site. Review by Jade French

  • Review: DaDaFest International 2014: Syndrome 3.1: Music/ Brain Experiments

    Mixing science, music and the visual arts to explore the nature of performance and deafness, using realtime brainwave scanning to generate a live improvised score. Susan Bennett witness a performance culminating from a 4-day residency with the Frozen Music Collective, Ruth Montgomery and Danny Lane from Music and the Deaf, and a team of neuroscientists and coders.

  • Review: Maggie Sawkins: Zones of Avoidance

    Multimedia live literature production Zones of Avoidance was written and performed by poet Maggie Sawkins and directed by Mark C Hewitt with film sequences from Abigail Norris. Colin Hambrook reviews a performance at the All Saints Centre, Lewes on 29 October

  • Review: DaDaFest International 2014: Ship of Fools

    Colin Hambrook responds to 'Ship of Fools', the vacuum cleaner’s self-initiated Anti-Section action, residency and mental creative space documented as a video diary on show in 'Art of the Lived Experiment' at the core of DaDaFest 2014

  • Review: DaDaFest International 2014: Staff Benda Bilili

    Congolese band Staff Benda Bilili’s exuberant live shows and extraordinary story have caused a stir across the globe. To round off DaDaFest 2014, the band set the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall alight with their powerful rumba-rooted beats, overlaid with elements of old-school rhythm 'n' blues and reggae. Review by Susan Bennett

  • Review: DaDaFest International 2014: Owen Lowery: Otherwise Unchanged plus support from Liverpool Poets

    Introduced by DaDaFest’s resident poet Roger Cliffe-Thompson, the poetry of Young DaDaFest poets rang out alongside Allan Sutherland reading a selection from ‘Proud’ and the award-winning Owen Lowery with his multi-media presentation of ‘Otherwise Unchanged’. Review by Deborah Caulfield

  • Review: DaDaFest International 2014: Art of Living the Experiment

    Art of the Living the Experiment was a show of four very different performances, which had connecting themes and strands that produced an interesting and diverse whole. Review by Cate Jacobs

  • Review: DaDaFest International 2014: Kazzum Theatre: Where’s My Nana?

    Combining Kazzum’s ability to create high quality inclusive playful theatre and Slung Low’s technological ‘know-how’ to make adventures for audiences outside of conventional theatre spaces, the Unlimited research and development commission Where’s My Nana? showcased at DaDaFest. Review by Liz Porter.

  • Review: DaDaFest International 2014: Sheila Hill's 'Him'

    Writer/theatre-maker and installation-artist Sheila Hill received an Unlimited research and development award to work with actor Tim Barlow to create ‘Him’. The resulting film was shown at DaDaFest 2014 as part of a session titled 'Unlimited: the Artists Voice'. Review by Liz Porter

  • Review: DaDaFest International Congress: Disability Culture and Human Rights

    The DaDaFest Congress explored arts as a tool for social change, providing examples of creativity and artistic excellence from countries and cultures across the world. Review by Deborah Caulfield

  • Review: InTouch at the RA: an audio described tour of the 'Giovanni Battista Moroni' exhibition

    Stephen Portlock relays his experience of an audio described tour of the 'Giovanni Battista Moroni' exhibition, at the Royal Academy, London - one in a programme of ongoing accessible events at the gallery, designed to draw an audience of disabled visitors and disabled artists. 

  • Review: Disability Arts Touring Network: The Why? Festival

    Dao looks back at the Why? Festival, which ran from 21st – 28th November at the Forest Arts Centre, Walsall and The Glasshouse, Stourbridge highlighting the successes and learning curves of taking Disability Arts to places it rarely gets seen. 

  • Review: DaDaFest International 2014: Rachel Gadsden Al Noor: Fragile Vision

    Fragility, survival and hope are the driving themes behind Al Noor~Fragile Vision, a thought-provoking exhibition produced by Rachel Gadsden in collaboration with artists from the Middle East as part of DaDaFest 2014 at the Bluecoat, Liverpool. Review by Jade French

  • Review: Ivan Riches and Simon Puriņš: 'Children of the Great War'

    Originally shown at the APT Gallery, London between 8-11 January 2015, Ivan Riches and Simon Puriņš: 'Children of the Great War' is due to go to Alexandra Palace on Saturday 7th February and every first Saturday of the month. Produced as part of a London-wide Age Exchange project the dual-screen film and digital media installation records memories and experiences of the First World War passed down through families and across communities. Review by Emmeline Burdett

  • Review: James Leadbitter: 'Madlove'

    It's a Wednesday night at Liverpool's FACT and Jade French is sat in its cadbury purple cinema space for a talk titled 'Madlove'. This new and innovative project asks, if we could design our own asylum – then what would it look like?

  • Review: Theatre Re: 'Blind Man’s Song' recalls a lost magic

    Using theatre, mime, sound and original live music in exploring the power of imagination to seek wisdom beyond our senses, Theatre Re’s 'Blind Man’s Song' opened the London International Mime Festival at Jacksons Lane. Colin Hambrook reviews a VocalEyes audio-described performance on 22nd January.

  • Review: The Ugly Girl: A Musical Tragedy in Burlesque by Terry Galloway

    This no-holds barred musical examines what it means to be the typical Ugly Girl adrift in a comically hostile universe through slapstick, music and dark humour. Starring Julie McNamara and Liz Carr, The Ugly Girl is reviewed by Roger Cliffe-Thompson as 'a classic of it's genre'.

  • Review: Extant Theatre: Flatland

    Flatland takes place in an immersive, pitch-black world of sensation and sound built within a disused church in Southwark Park. Collaborators from the fields of robotics, sound design and the arts have worked with Extant’s visually impaired team and researchers from Open University’s Pervasive Media Lab to create a unique audience experience. Review by Stephen Portlock

  • Review: SICK! Festival: Brian Lobel: Sex, Cancer & Cocktails

    SICK! Festival is currently revealing and debating some of our most urgent physical, mental and social challenges in venues across Brighton and Manchester. Launched in 2013, the festival’s third outing explores some key aspects of life and death and how we survive them (or don’t). Colin Hambrook went to a show about sex and cancer with Brian Lobel

  • Review: Group Therapy: Mental Distress in a Digital Age at FACT, Liverpool

    Originating from FACT’s extensive work within mental health and wellbeing, Group Therapy explores the complex relationship between technology, society, and mental health. Jade French responds to the brilliant lens the exhibition holds up to some of the darker aspects of living with mental health issues.

  • Review: Shape: Shortlist 7 Exhibition

    Shape’s Shortlist 7 exhibition shows work by the 2014 Adam Reynolds Memorial Bursary winner Carmen Papalia, currently in residency at the Victoria & Albert Museum, plus the other shortlisted artists: Laila Cassim, Omeima Mudawi-Rowlings and Peter Matthews. Review by Colin Hambrook

  • Review: SICK! Festival: Sue MacLaine: Can I Start Again Please?

    'Can I Start Again Please' is a play about language and the capacity to comprehend and articulate traumatic experience. The work was commissioned to be part of the Sick! Festival in Brighton and Manchester. Review by Colin Hambrook

  • Review: SICK! Festival: Eric Steel: The Bridge

    This year SICK! Festival has pushed boundaries by opening up debates and airing work on the theme of suicide. One of pieces shown was a documentary film by Eric Steel, which enters dark spiritual territory focusing on the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, symbol of the West and of freedom and site for the highest number of suicides of any single place in the world. Review by Colin Hambrook

  • Review: Q S Lam: Schizophrenics Can Be Good Mothers Too

    Published by Muswell Hill Press, 'Schizophrenics Can Be Good Mothers Too'  takes the reader on the artist Q S Lam's journey through the labyrinthine passages of psychosis describing her strategies and struggles to recover from the impact of the illness on everyday life, drawing on her personal experience, using art, not medication, to keep well. Review by Colin Hambrook

  • Review: Tanvi Bush ‘Witch Girl’

    Through a unique blend of witchcraft, AIDS activism, religious extremism, Tanvi Bush's first novel weaves together a thrilling narrative with vivid descriptions and unforgettable characters in her first novel published by Modjaji Books. Review by Emmeline Burdett

  • Review: Claire Cunningham: Give Me A Reason To Live

    Claire Cunningham’s latest work is stripped of theatrical props, but certainly not impact. Review of a performance at The Tramway, Glasgow by Paul F Cockburn


  • Review: Daily Life Ltd: Expert View Symposium... let them eat cake

    Led by Dr. Bobby Baker and the team at Daily Life Ltd, The Expert View Symposium promised to be an entertaining, inspiring and fun day of discussion, debate and performance, relevant to anyone with an interest in understanding the relationship between the Arts and Mental Health. Colin Hambrook was there, amongst other things, for the butterscotch cake.

  • Review: Touretteshero goes Backstage to Biscuitland

    On election night in the Brighton Dome Studio Theatre we learn that “Nigel Farage is at home washing his tortoise.” And Jess Thom aka Touretteshero is on fire, an irrepressible force of nature, welcoming her audience to Biscuitland with a charm and an affectionate grin that cannot fail to woo. Review by Colin Hambrook

  • Review: Zendeh presents Cinema

    Produced by Zendeh and written by Steven Gaythorpe, Cinema recalls the story of an act of terror that sparked a revolution in Iran on 19th August 1978 from the point of view of Shahrzad, feral cat and teller of tales. Sophie Partridge reviews a performance at the Arcola, London on 30 May.

  • Review: The Deaf & Hearing Ensemble present People of the Eye

    The Deaf & Hearing Ensemble formed in 2013 as a group of D/deaf and hearing theatre makers who come together to tell each other stories, to explore the performative nature and beauty of sign language and to pull together D/deaf and hearing audiences in a shared experience – breaking down barriers on stage and off. Review by Colin Hambrook

  • Review: Pulse Festival: Laura Dannequin: Hardy Animal

    An important aspect of ‘Ramp’s on the Moon’ day hosted by New Wolsey Theatre at Pulse Festival, as part of the theatre's Agent for Change programme, was showcasing high quality work that offered an opportunity for the audience to consider impairment-related theatre, language and communication and aesthetic access. Review by Liz Porter. 

  • Review: Pulse Festival: Ramps on the Moon

    On 5 June New Wolsey Theatre’s Pulse Festival brought together 60 representatives from the world of theatre for 'Ramps on the Moon': a day of reflection and performance centred around the involvement of Deaf and disabled people in the sector. Liz Porter gives an overview of a day of provocation and discussion.

  • Review: Birds of Paradise Theatre Company present Crazy Jane

    Birds of Paradise Theatre's latest production 'Crazy Jane' tells the story of Jane Avril, star of the Moulin Rouge who was immortalised in the iconic posters of Toulouse-Lautrec. Directed by Written by Nicola McCartney and directed by Garry Robson the show has recently toured Scotland. Review by Paul F. Cockburn

  • Review: Beneath the Streets: Lost & Found, Punchdrunk Enrichment and Hijinx Theatre

    With companies like Shunt, Carnesky's Ghost Train, You Me Bum Bum Train and Punchdrunk leading the scene there have been some pretty awesome feats of immersive/ interactive theatre pulled off over the last 15 years, but it’s a tricky thing to get right, and often it fails to engage, let alone transport. Alice Holland reviews the collaboration between Punchdrunk and Hijinx shown as part of the Unity Festival in Cardiff

  • Review: All is calm, all is chaos, in Mark Wood's world

    Mark Wood, who died tragically in 2013 at the age of 44, was a prolific creative who worked in photography, painting, cartoon, poetry, short story and music composition. Deborah Caulfield reviews ‘Spirit of Nature’ an exhibition of his work on show at Oxford Town Hall until 22 July.


  • Review: Vici Wreford-Sinnott: The Art Of Not Getting Lost

    Vici Wreford-Sinnott’s production The Art Of Not Getting Lost explores our attitude to mental health issues through two main protagonists: Everyone and No-one who have made their home in the hidden tunnels of London’s Bakerloo Station. Aidan Moesby saw a performance at the Northern Stage in Newcastle

  • Review: SprungDigi Festival

    SprungDigi - an interactive digital arts festival in Horsham, West Sussex from 10-12 July featured giant portraits of learning disabled people projected onto buildings, a game played with an accessible mapping app and an inclusive, high-tech design workshop to re-imagine a town centre. Gary Thomas was there soaking up the digital vibes.

  • Review: Extant:ComBUStion at Liberty 2015

    The team at Extant are in playful mood with their latest project ComBUStion which premiered as a work in progress at London’s Liberty festival. Review by Stephen Portlock

  • Review: DoesLiverpool: DesktopProsthetics workshop and exhibition at FACT

    DoESLiverpool are developing an iteration of the Enabling the Future project within the 'Build Your Own: Tools For Sharing' Exhibition at FACT in Liverpool until 31 August 2015 with the Crafts Council and in association with Norfolk Museums Service and Norwich Hackspace. Review by Susan Bennett

  • Review: Edinburgh Festival: Jo Bannon presents Alba

    Supported as part of the iF (Integrated Fringe) Platform at the Edinburgh Festival, Jo Bannon’s Alba is showing from 24-28 August at the Drill Hall, home of the Forest Fringe. Described as being influenced by the artists' albinism the performance tells a story about paleness, blending in and standing out. Review by Colin Hambrook


  • Review: Edinburgh Festival: Unlimited Exhibition... Summerhall

    Unlimited’s first exhibition at Summerhall is a series of ambitious mixed media installations by the UK’s leading disabled artists. Review by Colin Hambrook 

  • Review: CripFest 2015

    26th July 2015 marked the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, a key point in history for disability legislation in the USA. To mark this occasion OneOfUs, co-directed by Julie Atlas Muz and Mat Fraser, produced CripFest, their first one-day disability arts festival with support from the British Council. Trish Wheatley was at the Bam Fisher, Brooklyn, soaking up a performance, visual arts and discussion programme sure to excite any diehard disability arts fan.

  • Review: Edinburgh Festival: Marc Brew, 'For Now, I am..'

    An intimate solo created and performed by Marc Brew, 'For Now, I am..' has been brought to the Edinburgh Fringe by Stopgap’s iF Platform. Review by Colin Hambrook

  • Review: Edinburgh Festival: Stopgap Dance Company's 'Artificial Things'

    Wild disorder descends into playground politics during Stopgap Dance Company's 'Artificial Things' brought to the Edinburgh Fringe by the iF Platform. Review by Sophie Partridge

  • Review: Edinburgh Festival: Audio-description at the Unlimited Exhibition... Summerhall

    Unlimited’s first exhibition at Summerhall is a series of ambitious mixed media installations by the UK’s leading disabled artists. Chloe Phillips reviews the audio description available with the exhibits at Summerhall: on show until 5 October

  • Review: Short Circuit: Digital Arts Project at the Lighthouse

    Short Circuit was an action research intensive funded by Arts Council, South East that has been breathing life into a number of digital projects using disabled artistry for the last two years. Review by Colin Hambrook

  • Review: Bounce Festival 2015: ‘Reassembled… Slightly Askew’ by Shannon Yee

    Samantha Blackburn's highlight of the Bounce Festival produced by Arts & Disability Forum in Belfast was the  sonic arts piece ‘Reassembled… Slightly Askew’ by Shannon Yee. Designed for a limited audience of four people per show and described by The Stage as ‘a daring, disorientating artistic collaboration’ the piece was shown at the Lyric Theatre from 3-6 September.

  • Review: FACT, Liverpool: Lesions in the Landscape

    'Lesions in the Landscape' asks ‘How does our individual and collective memories influence our understanding of society?’ Susan Bennett reports on an exciting art/ science collaboration on show at FACT, Liverpool, which parallels the effects of amnesia on one woman and the evacuation of the inhabitants of St Kilda in the North Atlantic in 1930.

  • Review: Unlimited: Liz Carr: Assisted Suicide The Musical

    The Boiler Room at Pleasance Theatre, Camden played host to a 4-day R&D period for Liz Carr’s Unlimited commission, Assisted Suicide The Musical with an invited audience for a showing of work in progress on Friday 18th September. Review by Trish Wheatley

  • Review: Vital Xposure: The Disappearance of Dorothy Lawrence

    Vital Xposure sets out to produce cutting edge theatre that celebrates hidden voices with extraordinary stories to tell. In doing so ‘The Disappearance of Dorothy Lawrence’ follows on from the companies’ 2011-2013 production ‘The Knitting Circle’, which evolved out of research into the testimonies of women locked away in long-stay institutions. Review by Colin Hambrook

  • Review: Vital Xposure: The Disappearance of Dorothy Lawrence

    Vital Xposure sets out to produce cutting edge theatre that celebrates hidden voices with extraordinary stories to tell. In doing so ‘The Disappearance of Dorothy Lawrence’ follows on from the companies’ 2011-2013 production ‘The Knitting Circle’, which evolved out of research into the testimonies of women locked away in long-stay institutions. Review by Sophie Partridge

  • Review: Theatres of Learning Disability: Good, bad or plain ugly

    Published by Palgrave Macmillan, Matt Hargrave’s is the first book to focus exclusively on theatre and learning disability from an artistic perspective. Over five years Hargraves researched the work of several companies and artists giving detailed analysis of work by Back To Back, Mind the Gap, Dark Horse, the Shysters and Full Body and the Voice. Review by Gus Garside

  • Review: World Mental Health Poetry: Outside-In/ Dao at Pallant House Gallery

    To celebrate National Poetry Day and World Mental Health Day on 8th October Outside In presented an evening of readings and performances at Pallant House Gallery, Chichester in association with Disability Arts Online. Simon Jenner reports.

  • Review: London Film Festival Diversity Town Hall Discussion

    A year ago the BFI announced its ‘Three Ticks’ scheme, making all its Lottery-based funding conditional on meeting set diversity criteria. Joe Turnbull was in attendance for a special event which discussed the progress of the scheme, the state of diversity in the film industry and how the industry can make steps going forward.

  • Review: Signdance Collective International, Bad Elvis with Iris Theatre

    Bad Elvis, written by Katie Hims was originally conceived as a drama for BBC Radio 4. The rambunctious Signdance Collective International have since adapted it for stage with their own unique style. They recently performed it for Iris Theatre in London, Sophie Partridge was in attendance.  

  • Review: Unlimited: Jack Dean's Grandad and the Machine

    Writer, poet, musician extraordinaire Jack Dean brought the full force of his Unlimited-backed 'steampunk fairytale' Grandad and the Machine to bear on the unassuming space of Camden People's Theatre from 13-15th October. Joe Turnbull went along for the ride.

  • Review: Shadows Waltz Haltingly by Alan Morrison

    Alan Morrison's collection of poems Shadows Waltz Haltingly charts the struggles of his late mother with Huntington’s Chorea, depicting in 'meticulous detail' the full effects of the illness. The title alludes to the original name for the illness, 'St Vitus's Dance'. Review by Dave Russell.  

  • Review: Together! Not So Private View: Colin Hambrook and Bruchinaarts

    Simon Jenner reviews the opening of a Together! exhibition in Canning Town on 22 October - a welcoming place and a fine bright gallery space, currently exhibiting Colin Hambrook and Bruchina's artwork until 15 November at The Hub

  • Review: Creative Minds one day conference 2015

    Why is the work of learning disabled artists under-represented in the wider arts world – and why does this matter? This was the question driving the Creative Minds conference on October 28th 2015, a gathering of artists, programmers, funders, academics, participatory organisations and professional companies organised and presented by people with learning disabilities. Bella Todd reports.

  • Review: Deafinitely Theatre's Grounded at Park Theatre

    Deafinitely Theatre's latest production is a bilingual version of George Brant's acclaimed play Grounded which charts the intimately personal journey of a female fighter pilot who loses her wings. Joe Turnbull went along to London's Park Theatre to see if it reaches the heights.

  • Review: Picture Taking: Exploring Myself Through Photography

    Hackney Museum plays host to Picture Taking: Exploring Myself Through Photography, an exhibition featuring the work of pupils from a local SEN school. Reviewer, Richard Downes finds the show raises difficult questions about representation. 

  • Review: Karen Finley relives the AIDS crisis in ‘Written in Sand’

    Acclaimed American performance artist Karen Finley weaves together a collection of texts, letters and poetry from 1983-1994 which reflect her deeply personal testimony of the AIDS crisis. Written in Sand combines poetry, spoken word and music, with the help of talented multi-instrumentalist Paul Nebenzahl. Joe Turnbull was transported back in time.

  • Review: Assessing access at the Royal Academy of Arts: InPractice

    Several times a year the Royal Academy of Arts (RA) hosts InPractice, as part of its wider access programme. The sessions aim to provide a platform for disabled artists, and others whose work faces barriers, to share best practice through talks and debates. Artist and regular DAO contributor Deborah Caulfield went to the latest event to see if it delivers on its promises.

  • Review: Oska Bright Film Festival 2015

    Colin Hambrook reports on Day One of the 7th Oska Bright international festival of short films made by people with learning disabilities  at the Corn Exchange, Brighton 

  • Review: Aaron Williamson's Demonstrating the World - oddly familiar and brilliantly odd

    Aaron Williamson performed his Unlimited-commissioned work Demonstrating the World at Experimentica15, a five-day festival which took place in Cardiff 4-8 November. Chloe Phillips entered this bizarre world, finding plenty to both baffle and delight a range of audiences.

  • Reviews: Dao Writers on Literature

    Dao is building a collection of essays about representation of disability within literature. To date Dr Emmeline Burdett has reviewed Courting Greta by Ramsey Hootman, The Mysterious Death of Miss Austen by Lindsay Ashford, The Norwich Wheelchair Murders by Bill Albert and You Have Not A leg To Stand On by DD Mayers.


  • Review: Goldsmiths Disability Research Centre Launch Event

    The Disability Research Centre at Goldsmiths is a new interdisciplinary research grouping which will both conduct and promote research relating to disability and highlight the endemic nature of disablism. 12 November 2015 saw its launch with a series of talks delivered around the pertinent topic of disability and austerity. Joe Turnbull reports.

  • Review: Shape Gallery: Ilham Exhibition

    Ilham (inspiration) was originally exhibited at the Museum of Islamic Art, Doha, Qatar, as part of the Definitely Able conference that explored issues of disability and equal access to arts and culture in the Middle East. A sample of work by the four UK based artists from that show is on exhibition at Shape Gallery in Stratford until 30th November. Review by Colin Hambrook

  • Review: Attenborough Arts Centre Launch – Art, Life, Activism

    University of Leicester’s Attenborough Arts Centre first opened 18 years ago, conceived by acclaimed actor Richard Attenborough as a space explicitly for disabled artists and audience members. 17 November saw the soft launch of its new £1.5 million three-gallery space. To celebrate, the space is hosting a major multi-artist exhibition Art, Life, Activism as its inaugural show. Joe Turnbull was in attendance for the launch event.

  • Review: Heart N Soul - Soundlab - Play Space

    Soundlab - Play Space is an innovative digital technology project created and delivered by creative arts charity Heart N Soul in conjunction with Goldsmiths University of London and the Public Domain Corporation. It took place in London on 25 November and Robin Surgeoner aka Angryfish, was amongst the crowd.

  • Review: UK Disability History Month 2015 Conference at the BFI

    UK Disability History Month takes place between 22 November – 22 December every year. With this year’s theme being Portrayal of Disability in Moving Image Media, what better place could there be than the BFI to host an opening conference addressing the subject. Joe Turnbull was in attendance. 

  • Review: Lizzie Emeh See Me Part 1 - The Clan

    Heart N Soul's eclectic, soulful music artist Lizzie Emeh’s new EP, See Me Part 1 - The Clan was released in November with a launch event at the Albany, London. The EP is the first of a three part release. Ivan Riches casts his expert ear over it.

  • Review: Cabinet of Cynics and Stepping Out Theatre present The Divided Laing, or The Two Ronnies

    London, 1970. With his personal life going down the pan and his mental state heading the same way, R.D. Laing takes an acid trip to the future. Simon Jenner reviews Patrick Marmion’s comedy of errors about the life and times of the infamous experimental psychiatrist.

  • Review: Signdance Collective International present Carthage

    On 26 November, as part of the Together! 2015 Festival, innovative dance-theatre troupe Signdance Collective International performed Carthage, written by Caridad Svich. Angus McKenzie-Davie was at the Old Town Hall in Stratford to bear witness.

  • Review: Amandla! by Freewheelers Theatre Company

    Amandla! (power to the people) written and directed by Chris Haydon tells the life story of Nelson Mandela. It was performed by Freewheelers Theatre Company at Leatherhead Theatre in Surrey on 3 December. ‘Poppy’ delivers an audience-member’s review.

  • Review: The Art of Bedlam: Richard Dadd

    Between 7 November and 6 February, Bethlem Museum of the Mind – the ‘original Bedlam’ – plays host to an exhibition of the Victorian artist, Richard Dadd, who produced a number of works whilst detained at the hospital. Deborah Caulfield surveys the scene, finding a few gaping holes in this retrospective.

  • Review: #SummitPortrayed: Tanya Raabe-Webber

    Tanya Raabe-Webber's new exhibition at Glasgow’s Project Ability is so much more than just some sketches of the participants at a recent conference, as Paul F Cockburn discovers.

  • Review: Ridiculusmus: Give Me Your Love

    Ridiculusmus take the ridiculous to extremes in their latest piece Give Me Your Love. Following the story of a soldier with post-traumatic stress disorder back from the Iraq War, the play asks how does society support those who’ve been pushed to the darkest corners of existence. Review by Colin Hambrook.

  • Review: Attenborough Arts Centre official launch: Lucy + Jorge Orta

    The Attenborough Arts Centre’s new gallery space officially opened on 29th January 2016 with an exhibition by Lucy + Jorge Orta. Liz Porter attended the launch and the exhibition, assessing both from a visually impaired perspective.

  • Review: Reframing the Myth: Graeae and Central Illustration Agency

    Celebrating 35 years of Graeae Theatre, prominent figures from its history were paired with artists and illustrators from the Central Illustration Agency to create 40 new artworks. Kate Lovell visited the exhibition at the Guardian’s offices in London, wishing that it had shouted louder and been bolder.

  • Review: Shape Open 2016

    This year Shape present their fourth Open Exhibition with what promises to be the largest attendance yet, undoubtedly helped by the fact it is held in Yinka Shonibare’s Guest Projects studio, just off the thriving gallery scene of Vyner Street in Hackney. Review by Colin Hambrook.

  • Review: Curing Perfect Lab at Brighton Science Festival

    Learning disability-led organisation Carousel is currently developing Curing Perfect, an online graphic novel which challenges users to think about the nature of perfection in the context of genetic screening. They hosted a drop-in event at Brighton Science Festival on 19 February. Review by Sarah Pickthall.

  • Review: Graeae's The Solid Life of Sugar Water at the National Theatre

    After a successful outing at last year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Jack Thorne’s The Solid Life of Sugar Water is currently touring. Joe Turnbull caught a performance at the National Theatre to see if the production could live up to its hype in such a prestigious setting.

  • Review: Kris Halpin The Gloves Are On

    To celebrate Independent Venues Week in January, Attitude is Everything hosted The Gloves Are On, headlined by musician and technologist Kris Halpin aka Winter of '82. The show hit four venues across Guildford, Coventry, Bristol and London. Rowan James caught the performance at the Half Moon in Putney.

  • Review: Birds of Paradise Theatre present Purposeless Movements

    Written and Directed by Robert Softley Gale with performers Laurence Clark, Jim Fish, Pete Edwards and Colin Young and with musicians Scott Twynholm and Kim Moore, this movement-based piece that tells the stories of five guys with cerebral palsy. Sophie Partridge saw the show at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh

  • Review: Open Theatre Company's 'Is That All There Is?' conference highlights work by young people with learning disabilities

    Where are the artists with learning disabilities in the debate about diversity? What does work by young people with learning disabilities have to teach the artistic mainstream? With a showcase of solo work including Vault Festival award-winner The Misfit Analysis, the Is That All There Is? conference was all about inspiring new practice right across the arts sector: from the boardroom and rehearsal space right to the centre of the stage. Review by Bella Todd

  • Review: DaDaFest Art D’Visions

    On 11 March Liverpool’s Everyman Theatre played host to Art D’Visions organised by DaDaFest – a one-day conference aimed squarely at addressing the glaring lack of diversity, not just in the mainstream, but within the Disability Arts world itself. Joe Turnbull reports.

  • Review: SICK! Lab: Bryony Kimmings: Fake It ’Til You Make It

    Contact Theatre, Manchester hosted SICK! Lab a focussed 4-day programme of performances, presentations and discussions from 9-12 March. Alice Holland reviews a sell-out performance of a show that lifts the lid off men and mental health

  • Review: Hijinx presents Meet Fred

    Meet Fred is the new comedy theatre puppet show by inclusive company Hijinx in association with Blind Summit. The production toured across Wales from 26 February to 9 March. Tom Wentworth was strung along to one of the dates.

  • Review: Myrtle Theatre Company and Salisbury Playhouse 'Up Down Man'

    Up Down Man was at Salisbury Playhouse 24 February - 12 March 2016. It tells the moving story of a family struggling with bereavement. Centred around 29 year old Matty Butler (Nathan Bessell), who has Down’s Syndrome. Review by Tam Gilbert

  • Review: Mind the Gap: 'Contained'

    Combining live performance, film, photography, music and dance, Contained explores those small moments in life that suddenly become charged and life changing. As the cast from 'Mind the Gap' present themselves to their audience the show displays clear political intent, says Colin Hambrook

  • Review: ‘Growing Audiences’ – Audio Description Association’s National Conference

    On 14 March, Birmingham Hippodrome played host to the Audio Description Association’s national conference, ‘Growing Audiences’. Liz Porter reports on the key findings from the event. 

  • Review: DaDaFest and Turf Love present Unsung

    Unsung, the DaDaFest and Turf Love production, had its first run at Liverpool’s Everyman Theatre 9-12 March 2016. The play, written by John Graham Davies and James Quinn, features the life story of Edward Rushton, an important but largely forgotten figure in Liverpool’s history, who campaigned for the abolition of slavery and established the Royal School for the Blind. Review by Trish Wheatley

  • Review: Ramps on the Moon and Birmingham Rep present The Government Inspector

    Ramps on the Moon is a project run by a consortium of seven theatres aimed at addressing the under-representation of disabled people in the sector over the next six years. The latest production in association with Birmingham Rep is Nikolai Gogol’s The Government Inspector which is touring 19 March – 25 June 2016. Liz Porter caught a performance in Birmingham.

  • Review: In Conversation: Discussion event on Arts, Disability and Collaborative Practice at FACT Liverpool

    Building on a fifteen-year history in creative collaborations, In Conversation: Discussion event on Arts, Disability and Collaborative Practice on 1 April 2016, kick-started FACT Liverpool’s new spring programme which aims to explore disability, art and communities through a series of pop-up exhibitions. Review by Jade French.

  • Review: Birds of Paradise: Wendy Hoose

    Johnny Mcknight’s Wendy Hoose is, quite simply, a hilarious piece of writing says Sarah Ismail as this ribald romp originally supported by Unlimited in 2014, returns to London’s Soho Theatre.

  • Review: Thompson Hall: 'Home Away from Home'

    Thompson Hall was commissioned by Outside In and HOUSE to produce a new solo exhibition, Home Away from Home for the HOUSE Festival in Brighton. The exhibition runs from 30 April – 29 May at the Regency Town House. Review by Colin Hambrook.

  • Review: National Theatre presents The Suicide

    National Theatre gives Nikolai Erdman’s classic Soviet-era satire, The Suicide a modern, urban reboot. It plays the Lyttleton Theatre 14 April – 25 June. Review by Simon Jenner.

  • Review: iF Platform bursary winners Silent Faces come out of the filing cabinet with Follow Suit

    Silent Faces are an emerging integrated company and their physical theatre show Follow Suit has been awarded the iF Bursary at this year’s Brighton Fringe. Review by Colin Hambrook.

  • Review: Brighton Festival presents Art Of Disappearing’s The Last Resort

    The Last Resort commissioned by Brighton Festival is a site-specific sound journey in which artists Rachel Champion and Tristan Shorr welcome an audience, in pairs, on a journey through a barren, industrial area of Portslade beach, reimagining the location in a science fiction context. Review by Liz Porter

  • Review: Brighton Festival presents The Ricochet Project's 'Smoke and Mirrors'

    The Ricochet Project - a contemporary circus collaboration at the Dome - presented Smoke and Mirrors at Brighton Festival’s Corn Exchange on 8 May. Review by Colin Hambrook

  • Review: Brighton Festival: Complicite The Encounter

    Inspired by the book Amazon Beaming by Petru Popescu, Complicite’s The Encounter brings the limits of human consciousness into startling focus in an ambitious national and international co-production. Review by Colin Hambrook.

  • Gallery: Jon Adams presents The Goose on the Hill

    Jon Adams presents a gallery of images of artworks on exhibition at Pallant House Gallery from 13 October – 22 November 2009

  • Gallery: Re-framing disability: portraits from the Royal College of Physicians

    Bridget Telfer, Project Curator, introduces a sample gallery of images of disabled people from the 17th - 19th centuries, held in the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) archive. The exhibition, with responses from disabled people today, is on show at Shape, London until 29 September 2011.

  • Gallery: Charles Devus

    Charles Devus is an artist, writer, performer and musician. This gallery displays examples from his forthcoming graphic novel Justin Sane - the travails of an aesthetic detective and his alien son, Cedric.

  • Crippen and John O'Donoghue present The O’Crypes

    As one of DAO's Diverse Perspectives commissions, we've asked John O'Donoghue and Crippen to produce The O’Crypes - a cartoon blog about a family based in the fictional seaside town of Westsea - who are more than a little bemused by the Cultural Olympiad

  • Crippen presents the Criptarts

    Crippen's latest cartoon strip takes DAO readers on an unpredictable journey with a host of disabled characters, featuring some surprising guest appearances from well known members of the disability arts community. Watch the characters develop as they grapple with many of the issues that confront us all as disabled artists, and support each other as members of the DAO extended family.

  • Gallery: Ivan Riches: Outside In video portraits

    As part of DAO’s Diverse Perspectives programme, funded by Arts Council England, film-maker Ivan Riches was selected to produce a series of short, moving image, digital works with Outside In artist Paul Bellingham.

  • Gallery: Liz Crow: Bedding In, Bedding Out - a live durational performance

    Liz Crow presents her new work 'Bedding In, Bedding Out' which is one of the eight Diverse Perspectives commissions funded by Arts Council's Grants for the Arts. Drawing on audio recordings and time lapse photography of the performance, Reflections from the Bed introduces the work, its backdrop and its politics.

  • Gallery: Dolly Sen: Portugal Prints working with the Royal Academy of Arts

    As part of DAO’s Diverse Perspectives programme, funded by Arts Council England, film-maker Dolly Sen was commissioned to produce a short documentary exploring the relationship Portugal Prints has with the Royal Academy of Arts access programme. 'Greenhouse of Hearts' highlights the inspired, dynamic work that this small project is delivering.

  • Gallery: Extant present ZombieyeZ in Zagreb

    Extant Theatre's blind Zombie movie was filmed in Zagreb. Below you can follow the video diary of the heroine Helen as she joins blind and partially sighted people from across the world to take part in a Zagreb clinic’s medical trial claiming to restore sight in 24 hours. How far did they go to get their sight back? Experience the shocking outcome of Extant’s interactive online film narrative!

  • Gallery: David Beaumont

    Currently based at artspace in Coventry, David Beaumont creates installation-based sculpture; video and photography. This gallery shows a selection of his work, featured at the MA show at Coventry University in 2013.

  • Gallery: Sanchita Islam: Schizophrenics Can Be Good Mothers Too

    Rich Mix is hosting an exhibition of recent works by Sanchita Islam from 4 - 27 June. The artist explains some of the ideas behind the exhibition in a moving and intimate series of reflections on a selection of the artworks.

  • Resource: NanoWrimo, National Novel Writing Month

    Have you ever wanted to write a novel? What about writing one in a month? November is the start of NanoWrimo, National Novel Writing Month. John O'Donoghue discusses the initiative and gives five top tips.

  • Discussion: Liz Porter reflects on the movement

    Liz Porter reflects on what the Disability Arts movement has given her over the years – and where she is now – in response to discussions at the Lead On conference as part of the government funded Cultural Leadership Programme held in Cheltenham Town Hall on 21 September 2009.

  • Discussion: William Phillips on barriers to access for visually impaired people

    In the run-up to In Touch with Art 2010 at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London in October, DAO publishes some reflections on access to museums and galleries.

  • Forest Forge Theatre Company: Peeling

    Playwright Kaite O’Reilly discusses Forest Forge Theatre Company’s production of Peeling
, touring Wiltshire, Hampshire and Dorset from 26 March – 16 April 2011

  • Discussion: Simon Mckeown's films 'Motion Disabled' and 'All for Claire'

    Artistic Director, Garry Robson discusses two films by Simon McKeown he has programmed at subsequent DaDaFest International Festivals

  • Interviews: The 5th decibel Performing Arts Showcase

    A team of DAO writers went to the 5th decibel Performing Arts Showcase in Manchester from the 12th - 16th September 2011. Here you can read interviews with many of the artists and delegates reflecting on decibel and the Creative Case for Diversity, which was launched at a conference at the beginning of the week.

  • Interview: Terry Tracy talks about her novel 'A Great Place for a Seizure'

    Let's book it blogger Dana Burgess interviews Terry Tracy, author of 'A Great Place for a Seizure', about the advantages of self-publishing a novel which explores disability with an "engaging balance of insight, irreverence and sensitivity."

  • Shape Open

    Trish Wheatley interviews Ben Fredericks, Shape’s Programme Officer about the up-and-coming Shape Open - a visual arts competition, that asks disabled and non-disabled artists to respond to 'disability'

  • Interview: Lung Ha’s Theatre Company present ‘Antigone’

    This coming March 2012, Scotland’s leading group for performers with learning difficulties, Lung Ha’s Theatre Company, presents a new version of Sophocles‘ ‘Antigone’, the classic story of a young woman standing up against society for what she believes is right. Paul F Cockburn spoke with artistic director Maria Oller and the composer Kenneth Dempster to learn about the show’s origins.

  • Discussion: Rich Downes talks about the hoo ha around The Undateables

    Whilst completely unmoved by C4's The Undateables, Richard Downes, is nonetheless interested in the furore that surrounds it.

  • Interview: Rich Downes talks to Phil Sherman of Booster Theatre Company

    A while back Rich Downes blogged about 'A Christmas Carol' by Phil Sherman of Booster Theatre Company. Phil is putting on a season at the Karamel Club where he will show all his work with pop up books, mime and sign. Rich attended with James Tarpey, a young friend, who is studying drama. He introduced them after the show to discuss their careers. The interview took on flavours of past, present and future.

  • Interview: Birds of Paradise present The Man Who Lived Twice

    The Man Who Lived Twice is a new touring production from Glasgow-based Birds of Paradise theatre company. It's a 'dramatised account' of what took place between disabled playwright Edward Sheldon and actor John Gielgud during a meeting in New York in 1936. In the run-up to the show’s launch at The Arches in Glasgow, before a Scotland-wide tour, Paul F Cockburn spoke with director Alison Peebles.

  • Discussion: The Joke

    Rich Downes has been musing on what makes things funny. He starts off with a bad joke and ends up with a series of interviews with disabled comedians about what makes humour so essential to our lives.

  • Interview: The Big Lounge Collective produce 'Assisted Suicide: the musical'

    The Big Lounge Collective (BLC) was launched at the Young Vic earlier in the year by seven established disabled artists in response to the lack of opportunities and infrastructure for freelance practitioners. DAO editor, Colin Hambrook, had an email exchange with Liz Carr about the BLC’s inaugural piece of work ‘Assisted Suicide: the musical’.

  • Interview: Neleswa Mclean-Thorne, from Central School of Speech and Drama, talks about diversity at the Accidental Festival

    Each year students at Central demonstrate their ability to seek out talent from new and emerging artists and programme and produce shows for the Accidental Festival which showcases a wide range of performing art and, increasingly, diversity is on their agenda

  • Interview: Chas de Swiet on the Cultural Olympiad

    In the run-up to the plethora of disability arts events happening across the UK this summer, Charlie Swinbourne talks to producer, programmer and artist, Chas de Swiet about his work with Greenwich and Docklands International Festival, Liberty Festival and DaDaFest

  • Interview: Chas de Swiet on his career, disability arts and the Creative Case

    Chas de Swiet has worked in arts management since 2000 and has worked for a number of arts organisations with a specialism in diversity and disability arts. He is also an artist, mainly working with sound and music. In this second instalment of Charlie Swinbourne's interview with him, he talks about his career, his identity as a disabled person, and the creative case.

  • Interview: Saradha Soobrayen at the Southbank Poetry Parnassus

    The Poetry Parnassus at the Southbank Centre, London runs until Sunday 1 July. In the poetic whirl, Nicole Fordham Hodges joins Saradha Soobrayen, who is representing Mauritius, for a conversation about poetry.

  • Interview: Laurence Clark talks about his Unlimited commission 'Inspired'

    Ladies and Gentleman the 'Inspired' Laurence Clark. Richard Downes, meets the comedian on the day of his third preview of Inspired

  • Profile: Katherine Araniello introduces 'Meet The Superhuman: Part 2'

    Katherine Araniello introduces her latest art video, 'Meet The Superhuman: Part 2' - a wry commentary on the language of the paralympics.

  • Opinion: Celf o Gwmpas from mid-Wales meet Kettuki from Finland

    Mid-Wales arts organisation Celf o Gwmpas recently took four disabled artists to meet with Kettuki in Hämeenlinna, Finland, as part of a mentoring programme. Chris Tally Evans discusses some broader issues about empowerment that came out of the trip.

  • Interview: John O'Donoghue talks to Tony Heaton, Shape CEO

    John O'Donoghue talks to Tony Heaton, Shape CEO about art, his involvement in Shape, and his views on Unlimited, the recent series of commissions given to disabled artists as part of the Cultural Olympiad.

  • Interview: Ruth Gould on DaDaFest's 'Outrageous Ambitions'

    Susan Bennett talks to Ruth Gould Chief Executive Officer of DaDaFest about the history of the Disability Arts organisation and its plans for survival in times of recession

  • Interview: Jo Verrent talks in-depth about her involvement with the 2012 ‘Unlimited’ commissions shown as part of the Cultural Olympiad

    Following our series of interviews on the legacy of the Unlimited programme of work by disabled artists, which travelled the length and breadth of the UK in 2012, Nina Muehlemann talks to Jo Verrent about her involvement as well as her hopes, fears and expectations for Unlimited

  • Interview: Luke Pell talks in-depth about his involvement with the 2012 ‘Unlimited’ commissions shown as part of the Cultural Olympiad

    Following our series of interviews on the legacy of the Unlimited programme of work by disabled artists, which travelled the length and breadth of the UK in 2012, Nina Muehlemann talks to Luke Pell about his expectations for the commissions and the festival. She asks him about the next steps in his career after working with Candoco?

  • Interview: Sue Austin talks about the impact 'Unlimited' has had on her life since her showcase of Creating the Spectacle

    Following our series of interviews on the legacy of the showcase of Unlimited commissions by disabled artists at the Southbank Centre as part of London 2012, Nina Muehlemann talks to Sue Austin about her expectations of being a part of Unlimited. What has she achieved with Creating the Spectacle? What are the artists' future plans?

  • Opinion: Alison Wilde provides in-depth comment on two recent film releases: Song for Marion and Quartet

    Themes of impairment and disability are less evident in films about old age, says academic Alison Wilde. Here she examines how their portrayal is used in character development, focusing on two recent releases with a divergent impact.

  • Interview: Rachel Erickson talks about the launch of Narus Productions

    Creative marketing can leave little time for developing artistic skills, yet few can afford to ignore its positive impact. Narus Productions director Rachel Erickson tells Sheila McWattie about how her newly founded company aims to help

  • Juan delGado: Fluctuation in Time

    Juan delGado tells Joe McConnell about an exciting ongoing project which started in Palestine 3 years ago.

  • Interview: Julie McNamara, Artistic Director of Vital Xposure talks about their touring production The Knitting Circle

    Playwright and long-term advocate of positive change in the mental health system Julie McNamara tells Sheila McWattie about her profound experiences of unearthing untold stories of patients and staff from long-stay institutions

  • Interview: Hassan Mahamdallie on Skinheads, Class Warriors and Dickens

    Salisbury Arts Centre played host to the Personal to the Universal Symposium last month. Lynne Blackwood interviewed Hassan Mahamdallie, Senior Diversity Strategy Officer, Arts Council England on the value of diversity within the Arts

  • Interview: Jo Verrent gives food for thought on the diverse range of projects she is involved with

    Salisbury Arts Centre played host to the Personal to the Universal Symposium last month. Lynne Blackwood got to speak to Jo Verrent about diversity and doing something deliciously different every day

  • Interview: Tricia Howey talks to Kati Francis, Artistic Director of BeautifulMess

    BeautifulMess have been running performing arts workshops in Brixton for adults with learning difficulties for a while. Tricia Howey of Narus Productions have been supporting the company in getting Foxfood off the ground. Foxfood is a multi-sensory performance which first took place at Brixton’s Lambeth Accord at the end of May and is part of the ongoing Fox Project, which will include summer workshops inspired by the production.

  • Interview: Colin Hambrook talks to Anne Teahan about 'Knitting Time'

    Knitting Time is an illustrated poetry collection and visual arts exhibition by Colin Hambrook, which reflects on themes of loss and 'psychosis'. Anne Teahan talked to him about the work and found out how his mother used to knit universes…

  • Interview: Colin Cameron talks about the Affirmative Model of Disability

    Salisbury Arts Centre played host to the 'From the Personal to the Universal' symposium back in April. Between presentations, Sophie Partridge asked Disability Studies Lecturer Colin Cameron how academic ideas can play a practical role in disabled peoples' lives

  • Opinion: Rosaleen McDonagh pouts politics as she asks where disability representation in the media is heading?

    In an overview of the current state of media representation of disabled women, with emphasis on 'Push Girls' - the latest reality tv disability makeover show on the Sundance Channel, Rosaleen McDonagh asks who has control on how we are seen? 

  • Opinion: John O’Donoghue on mentoring poet, Clare Best

    We hear a lot these days about ‘mentoring’. But what does a mentor actually do? How do you become one? How do people find the right mentor for them? And – the $64,000 question – are mentors worth it? Here John O’Donoghue recalls mentoring Clare Best in producing her poetry collection 'Excisions'.

  • Opinion: The Cabinet of Curiosities: How Disability Was Kept in a Box

    When the Research Centre for Museums and Galleries (RCMG) at the University of Leicester asked actor and performance artist Mat Fraser to create a show exploring the medical profession's approach to disability by responding to the collections of the Hunterian Museum, the Science Museum, and the Royal College of Physicians he came up with The Cabinet of Curiosities: How Disability Was Kept in a Box. By Colin Hambrook.

  • Preview: Graeae Theatre stage a new production of The Threepenny Opera

    The Threepenny Opera is a precursor to many modern musicals and now The New Wolsey Theatre’s Peter Rowe and Graeae’s Jenny Sealey have joined forces to bring what promises to be an anarchic version of the story to theatres in Nottingham, Ipswich, Birmingham and Leeds. In conversation with Garry Robson who plays JJ Peachum, Colin Hambrook found out more about the new production.

  • Discussion: Janice Parker Projects presents Glory

    Glory sees the return of Janice Parker and Richard Layzell encouraging men, women and children of all ages and abilities and from all walks of life, to collaborate to create a large-scale immersive dance event that celebrates the city’s rich Commonwealth community and Glasgow 2014. Glory runs at the Tramway from 5-10 March 2014. Kim Simpson gives an account of taking part.

  • Discussion: Robert Softley Gale on Wendy Hoose

    The latest production from Glasgow-based Birds of Paradise Theatre Company is the first under its new artistic regime. Paul F Cockburn spoke with co-artistic director Robert Softley Gale about Wendy Hoose.

  • Profile: Driving Inspiration: teams up disabled artists and Paralympians with disabled and non-disabled young people

    Driving Inspiration – originally set up in partnership with Creative Bucks to take Paralympians and disabled artists into schools in Buckinghamshire – has been ongoing since 2009. Kristina Veasey talks about her involvement with the project.

  • Opinion: Beggar's Show Campaigns To Save The Independent Living Fund

    Natasha Lewis plays the role of Lucy Brown in Graeae Theatre Company's touring production of 'The Threepenny Opera'. She comments on the devastating effect on disabled artists… and would be disabled artists, resulting from the closure of The Independent Living Fund

  • Opinion: Dao Writers on Poetry

    Dao is building a collection of essays about poetry and profiles of poets, offering a disability perspective. So far we've published an article by Owen Lowery on a selection of war poets; a profile of George MacKay-Brown by Richard Longstaff, personal explorations of the first three collections of Seamus Heaney by Anthony Hurford, an analysis of Wilfred Owen's anti-war poem 'Disabled' by Emmeline Burdett and a profile of Nazrul, 'The Rebel Poet' by Dejani Chatterjee 


  • Interview: Claire Cunningham: Guide Gods

    Choreographer and performer Claire Cunningham tells Paul F Cockburn how her new work melds movement and words to discuss religious attitudes to disability.

  • Interview: Wendy Martin talks about her plans for programming Unlimited 2014 at the Southbank Centre

    Unlimited, led by Shape and ArtsAdmin, returns this September for another festival showcase at London’s Southbank Centre. Bella Todd talks to Wendy Martin, Head of Performance and Dance about her expectations for presenting the work of Deaf and disabled artists at the largest arts venue in Europe

  • Interview: Unlimited 2014: Katherine Araniello hosts The Dinner Party Revisited

    Sophie Partridge interviews Katherine Araniello about her Unlimited 2014 commission: The Dinner Party. It was just another Wednesday in the life of a Crip Arts Activist; chatty Chihuahuas, parents expected later... they got down to business!

  • Interview: Unlimited 2014: James Leadbitter aka the vacuum cleaner on Madlove

    James Leadbitter aka the vacuum cleaner, received an Unlimited research and development award for Madlove - a project which asks those with and without mental illness to collaborate in designing a ‘safe place to go mad’. John O’Donoghue talks to the artist about his idea to get people to participate in redesigning the asylum.

  • Interview: Unlimited 2014: Garry Robson on Edmund the Learned Pig

    As part of the second Unlimited programme, more audiences will have the opportunity to enjoy the glorious musical adventure featuring an unusual pig. Paul F Cockburn speaks with co-creator Garry Robson.

  • Interview: Unlimited 2014: Sue Austin talks about 'Creating the Spectacle'

    Since the first Unlimited Festival, the life and work of artist Sue Austin has undergone huge transformations. Nina Muehlemann talked with the artist to discuss the success of ‘Creating the Spectacle!’

  • Interview: Unlimited 2014: Jo Bannon talks about Exposure

    Nina Muehlemann met artist Jo Bannon during a networking meeting with other artists and people involved with the second round of Unlimited. She talked to Jo about her Unlimited 2014 commission, ‘Exposure’ over a glass of wine.

  • Opinion: Unlimited 2014: Katherine Araniello hosts The Dinner Party Revisited

    Katherine Araniello first presented The Dinner Party in 2011. A development of that work, The Dinner Party Revisited, has been commissioned for 2014’s Unlimited Festival - a commission that confirms Katherine as one of the most significant Live Artists in the UK. So what does it mean to be a 'Live Artist'? Lois Keidan, Director of the Live Art Development Agency (LADA) explains.


  • Interview: Unlimited 2014: Aidan Moesby and Pum Dunbar: Fragmenting The Code(x)

    Fragmenting The Code(x) is a collaboration between two artists, part of a raft of a Unlimited Research and Development Project. John O’Donoghue talks to Aidan Moesby about the analysis of language at the basis of this site-specific work

  • Interview: Unlimited 2014: Owen Lowery: Otherwise Unchanged

    Owen Lowery is the author of a volume of poetry, Otherwise Unchanged (Carcanet 2012), and is the recipient of an Unlimited award. John O’Donoghue interviewed the poet by email about the inspiration, form and development of his work providing an insight into his creative identity. What follows is an edited version of this correspondence.

  • Interview: Unlimited 2014: Ian Johnston: Dancer

    Created with the late Adrian Howells, 'Dancer' is a gentle provocation on what it is to be a 'dancer'. Producer Lucy Gaizely answered a few of Dao’s questions about what promises to be a fun and thought-provoking show in the Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre on Saturday 6 September.

  • Unlimited 2014: Chisato Minamimura: Ring the Changes+

    Whilst eagerly awaiting the delights of Unlimited Festival next week, Sarah Pickthall attended a recent sharing of work in progress of Chisato Minamimura’s commissioned work Ring the Changes+ at TripSpace Studios in Haggerston - a collaboration produced by digital artist Nick Rothwell and Body>Data >Space.


  • Interview: Unlimited’s Senior Producer Jo Verrent introduces the commissions programme

    On the eve of the Unlimited Festival 2014 at London’s Southbank Centre, Jo Verrent talks to Bella Todd about the commissions programme and delivers some exciting partnership news set to ensure the festival’s legacy reverberates throughout the UK… and beyond.

  • Interview: Caroline Bowditch on how she came to fall in love with Frida Khalo

    On a sunny afternoon at London’s Southbank Centre, Victoria Wright interviews Australian-born, now Scotland-based performer Caroline Bowditch about her show Falling in Love with Frida, shown as part of the Unlimited Festival.

  • Opinion: To Wheel Or Not To Wheel? Disabled Characters in Theatre & Television

    There is still a preponderance for non-disabled actors in theatre and television to 'crip up' for disabled roles. Mik Scarlet looks at the slow emergence of disabled actors within mainstream representation and discusses the question of a disabled actor playing a character who has a different impairment to their own?

  • DaDaFest International 2014: Art of the Lived Experiment, curated by Aaron Williamson

    Conceived by DaDaFest and delivered in partnership with the Bluecoat, Liverpool, 'Art of the Lived Experiment' runs from 8 November 2014 to 11 January 2015 as part of DaDaFest International 2014. Colin Hambrook interviewed curator Aaron Williamson about the exhibition which contains the work of 28 artists from the UK and abroad, and includes sculpture, film, installation, painting, prints and performance works. 

  • Opinion: Now+Then: 3 Decades of HIV in Merseyside: a participant’s perspective

    Now+Then is a documentary film that uncovers Merseyside’s journey with HIV from the 1980s to the present day through people’s own stories. Created specifically for the Sahir House exhibition, showing at the Museum of Liverpool Life until 8 February 2015 the film is the culmination of two years work archiving the history of HIV on Merseyside. One of the participants, Cate Jacobs writes about her experience of working with Danny Kilbride, creative director of Thinking Film

  • Preview: DaDaFest International 2014: Young DaDa Presents…

    Michelle Stubbs gives an overview of events happening in the DaDaFest young peoples’ programme at The Bluecoat and the Central Library, Liverpool from 29th – 30th November, including an account of her involvement with the making of a film about the City

  • Interview: Tony Heaton on the next tranche of Unlimited applications

    Colin Hambrook talks to Tony Heaton, CEO of Shape who are lead partners with Artsadmin for the Unlimited programme, with a focus on the kinds of work that Unlimited might attract in the second round of applications, with a deadline set for 2 February 2015. 

  • Opinion: DaDaFest International 2014: The Big Debate

    A highlight of the DaDaFest Congress was the Big Debate. Trish Wheatley responds to the question of recognising how much influence non-disabled people should have in working within the Disability Arts sector

  • Interview: Gary Thomas: on being an artist

    Gary Thomas is a writer, director and artist with 11 short films and 4 screenplays to his name. He’s been blogging on Dao on and off since 2010. His film installation ‘The Dog & The Palace’ won an Inspire Mark from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. He shares his successes and aspirations with Dao

  • Interview: Nabil Shaban on Brecht, acting and cripping-up...

    Sophie Partridge caught up with Nabil Shaban to pose a few questions to the legendary actor currently playing Judge Azdak in a production of Brecht's 'Caucasian Chalk Circle' playing at the Unicorn Theatre, Southwark.

  • Opinion: Trish Wheatley on Critiquing Learning Disability Performance

    On Monday 23rd March 2015 Mind the Gap hosted a conference about international learning disability performance. Trish Wheatley was asked to speak on the panel about critiquing learning disability performance – the ‘Quality’ debate. The extended version is published here. 

  • Opinion: Assisted Suicide in the Theatre: Kill Me Now!

    Park Theatre in Finsbury Park, London have recently had a five week run of Kill Me Now - a black comedy by Canadian playwright Brad Fraser with director Braham Murray; and starring Greg Wise as Jake, a long-suffering father and Oliver Gomm as Joey, a young man living with cerebral palsy. In response Colin Hambrook asks whether the debate about assisted suicide is part of a much darker expression of the desire for power over other’s lives and deaths.

  • Interview: Liz Crow on Figures

    Artist/activist Liz Crow talks to Trish Wheatley about her current project Figures, the mass-sculptural performance that makes visible the human cost of austerity and urges action against it.



  • Opinion: Crips mean cash: disability as a commodity

    The media has caught on to the idea that ‘worthiness’ sells. As a result disabled people have been more prominent on tv and within the arts, yet as a group we have been getting a rawer deal since the 2012 Paralympics says, tv producer/ director Richard Butchins.

  • Promo: Amanda Lukoff: The R-Word

    Film-maker Amanda Lukoff is a triplet, one of three girls. Their older sister Gabrielle was born with Down’s Syndrome. It was the experience of people’s reaction to her sister that made her want to advocate for Gabrielle. Here she shows a trailer for a documentary she is currently fundraising for: a film about the power of words and the love between siblings.

  • Interview: Claire Cunningham on Give Me A Reason To Live

    Choreographer and performer Claire Cunningham talks to Colin Hambrook about her new solo performance ‘Give Me  A Reason To Live’. Exploring religious art, and the questions it raises about impaired bodies and quality of life, the work takes the form of a series of tests of body and of faith. Stripped down the work is a study in the notion of empathy.

  • The Sound of Disability

    As part of an Arts Council funded programme of work, Dao is engaging with freelance writers to commission opinion pieces and interviews, instigating wider debate about music and disabled musicians that creates a greater understanding of where music sits with disability arts. As part of this programme of work Dao has commissioned a young disabled composer Lloyd Coleman to produce a piece of music for the British Paraorchestra 

  • Interview: Penny Pepper talks about her experience of working with The Literary Consultancy

    The Literary Consultancy, (TLC) founded in 1996 by its Director Rebecca Swift and Hannah Griffiths, offers a service in assessing writers’ manuscripts to give advice on how to approach publishers and agents. Colin Hambrook interviews Penny Pepper about her experience with TLC in time for their ‘Quality Writing for All’ campaign launching on 16th June at The Free Word Centre in London. 

  • Discussion: ‘Dance and Normality’ Integrart Symposium 2015

    The Dance and Normality symposium held at the Musee d’ethonographie, Geneva on 2nd June saw an international line-up of speakers and performers hosted by IntegrART. Trish Wheatley responds to the international picture for the theory and practice of dance and normality, presented on the day. 

  • Interview: Richard Butchins talks about his Unlimited R&D piece: '213 Things About Me'

    Award winning documentary maker and disabled writer Richard Butchins’ first video work '213 Things About Me' is due to be exhibited in Edinburgh as part of an Unlimited showcase by leading disabled artists at Summerhall. Colin Hambrook talked to him about the making of the work.

  • Discussion: Accessible Edinburgh Fringe?

    Every August the world’s performers and entertainers flock to Scotland’s capital. Paul F Cockburn asks just how easy is it for disabled artists and audiences to get the most out of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe?

  • Trish Wheatley on 'Shaping a Diverse Future'

    As part of an Arts Council Catalyst funded programme arts professionals working in UK were invited to The Point, Eastleigh on July 10th 2015, to discuss through provocation, debate and performance 'Shaping a Diverse Future'. Here is director of Disability Arts Online Trish Wheatley's provocation on the future of the Arts.

  • Interview: British Council Showcase at Edinburgh Festival

    The British Council Theatre and Dance team are currently busy working on their tenth showcase since 1997 at the Edinburgh Festival. Colin Hambrook spoke to Neil Webb, Director of Theatre and Dance about the outcomes British Council are hoping for as a result of the showcase and the broader spectrum of their disability arts work across the globe 

  • Opinion: Edinburgh Festival: 'iF Not Now When?'

    Forest Fringe at the Drill Hall played host on 25 August to a day of lively and vibrant discussion: 'iF Not Now When?' produced by Stopgap and hosted by Jo Verrent, Senior Producer of Unlimited. Colin Hambrook reflects on some thoughts from the day's proceedings

  • Experimental Art Is Catalyst for Urban Revitalization

    DisArt was a multi-venue Disability Arts Festival, which took place in Grand Rapids, Michigan from April 10th to July 31st, 2015. Through several world-renowned exhibits of Disability Arts from all over the world, DisArt Festival 2015 challenged its audiences to reconsider the importance of community, identity, and difference. Report by Alexandra Kadlec

  • Interview: Film/TV Director Bim Ajadi on his career so far

    Award-winning filmmaker Bim Ajadi’s credits include co-directing a film for Channel 4 shown at the London Paralympic Ceremony in 2012. With a media career spanning almost 15 years, Colin Hambrook asked Ajadi about his professional journey so far and his ongoing commitment to nurturing fellow deaf talent, as he prepares to deliver workshops at the BBC’s See Hear Weekend in Bristol.

  • Interview: Artist Aaron Williamson tells Dao about his new work Demonstrating the World

    Over a period of five weeks, Performance artist Aaron Williamson invited visitors to witness the building of an odd set of ‘absurdist’ furniture at the Shape Gallery in Westfield Shopping Centre. The pieces will become key to the performance as it becomes ready to tour later this autumn. Colin Hambrook asked Williamson and Producer Edd Hobbs about what it means to ‘demonstrate the world’.

  • Interview: A behind the scenes look at Liz Carr’s 'Assisted Suicide the Musical'

    Artist and activist Liz Carr has campaigned tirelessly on the issue of assisted suicide. Her first foray into the world of musical theatre, Assisted Suicide the Musical is four years in the making and already in its third incarnation. Joe Turnbull spoke to her about the journey so far. 

  • Interview: Chloe Phillips explores Audio-Description as a creative tool

    Chloe Phillips is an Associate Artist with Taking Flight Theatre, based in Cardiff. Earlier this year she received an Unlimited R&D award to work with the company to produce 'The Importance of Being Described…Earnestly?' - a pilot for a production experimenting with new ideas about audio description. She talks to Colin Hambrook about her motivation and the way the project is shaping up.

  • Interview: Jess Thom on taking Biscuit Land to the small screen

    In partnership with Battersea Arts Centre (BAC) and Arts Council England, BBC Four’s Live From Television Centre will feature a half hour slot from Jess Thom aka Touretteshero. Colin Hambrook caught up with the performer during rehearsals in the BBC studio at Wood Lane. 

  • Opinion: A Message from Unlimited's Jo Verrent on UN's International Day of Disabled People

    3 December is the United Nations' International Day of Disabled People. To mark the occassion, Senior Producer at Unlimited, Jo Verrent writes about the state of play for disabled artists. 

  • Interview: Words, Pictures, Food and Laundry – a portrait of an artist who refuses categorisation

    In the first of our series of peer-to-peer artists' interviews as part of DAO's Viewfinder project, Anne Teahan spoke to Deborah Caulfield, discovering an artist, writer and disability activist who confounds all the usual definitions.

  • Interview: Siege Mentality – Kate Lovell talks about Bread & Goose’s latest production

    In the latest instalment of the #Viewfinder peer-to-peer interviews, Elinor Rowlands quizzes writer and director Kate Lovell about Siege, her company’s latest project, and disability representation on stage.

  • Interview: A clear sense of direction – Elinor Rowlands

    “When we feel inadequate, it’s because we’re not being heard” – Elinor Rowlands talks to Kate Lovell about ‘coming out’ as a disabled artist in the latest of DAO’s Viewfinder peer-to-peer interviews.

  • Opinion: Disability: a creative advantage?

    Chaired by critic Lyn Gardner, Dao’s editor Colin Hambrook attended a debate at the Arena Theatre, which was part of a series of conversations hosted by the Guardian. A Nation’s Theatre is a joint initiative, from the newspaper and the Battersea Arts Centre highlighting a showcase of innovative theatre made in the regions to be brought to London this summer. 

  • Interview: Black Kripple Delivers Poetry & Lyrics

    With the release of Leroy Moore's new book Black Kripple Delivers Poetry & LyricsRobin Surgeoner spoke to him about the history, issues and smouldering angst that the verbiage within delivers like punches to one's conscience.

  • Interview: Purposeless Movements – Robert Softley Gale

    Birds of Paradise co-Artistic Director Robert Softley Gale talks with Paul F Cockburn about the company's new physical theatre work, Purposeless Movements.

  • Interview: Amit Sharma – The Solid Life of Sugar Water

    Since premiering at 2015’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival, The Solid Life of Sugar Water has picked up rave reviews from national and festival press. Elinor Rowlands caught up with Amit Sharma, the show’s director, ahead of a three week run at the National Theatre in London from 26 February to 19 March 2016. 

  • Interview: Housni Hassan – the language of dance

    From the Power Rangers to Matthew Bourne – Kate Lovell talks to contemporary dancer Housni Hassan aka DJ about the brave new world of stepping out as solo artist.

  • Interview: Getting Cosy with Kaite O'Reilly

    Award-winning playwright Kaite O'Reilly speaks to Joe Turnbull about deaf culture, dissident sensibilities, and her Unlimited-funded "big growling play" Cosy which launches at Wales Millennium Centre on 8 March.

  • Opinion: I am me, I am here and I am fine – Paul Wilshaw on CONTAINED

    Performer Paul Wilshaw reflects on what it has been like baring himself on stage for Mind the Gap's new touring show, CONTAINED, in an illuminating behnd-the-scenes account of this unique production.

  • Opinion: SICK! Lab 2016: A collaborative exploration of identity and trauma

    Dedicated to using the performing arts to explore, broadly, the difficult stuff of life, SICK! Lab  took place at the Contact Theatre, Manchester from 9th-12th March 2016, showcasing performance, discussion and presentations on the tricky themes of identity and trauma. Colin Hambrook gives an overview, taking the temperature of the collaboration

  • Interview: Noëmi Lakmaier – Cherophobia

    Artist Noëmi Lakmaier’s latest piece, Cherophobia takes the form of a 48-hour long live durational performance which will see Lakmaier suspended in mid-air using 20,000 helium balloons as part of the Unlimited Festival in September. Elinor Rowlands speaks to her about the roles of discomfort and control in her work.

  • Opinion: Disability is not a spectator sport: the importance of art that reflects the experience of disability

    Reflecting on Mind the Gap’s latest production, Contained, which tells the personal stories of its performers, Allan Sutherland argues that work which reflects disabled people’s experience of disability is essential to counter non-disabled narratives and assumptions. 

  • Interview: Why Cameron Morgan Loves Classic TV

    Paul F Cockburn speaks with artist Cameron Morgan about his Unlimited-funded exhibition of paintings, TV Classics – Part 1, as part of this year’s Glasgow International.

  • Interview: Tim Gebbels on starring in Extant’s The Chairs

    Kate Lovell talks to actor Tim Gebbels about his role as Old Man in Extant’s re-boot of Eugene Ionesco’s classic Theatre of the Absurd play, The Chairs, which is touring 3 – 26 April 2016.

  • Interview: Access at Brighton Festival

    Year on year Brighton Festival are making progress with small but important steps in improving the festival’s access offer and are gradually diversifying their audiences. Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival’s Theatre Producer Orla Flanagan talks to DAO about some of the festival’s outcomes, spurred, in part by engagement with Unlimited.

  • Interview: Agnes Fletcher and Georgia Macqueen Black in discussion: being disabled and managing barriers

    Agnes Fletcher, an expert in the field of disability equality, law and practice, was a trustee of Shape Arts for 6 years in the 2000s. As part of Shape Arts’ 40th Anniversary celebrations, Agnes spoke to Georgia Macqueen Black about her 25 years of experience on disability issues and her personal connection to the Disability Arts Movement of the ‘80s and ‘90s.

  • Interview: Bekki Perriman on The Doorways Project

    Artist, Bekki Perriman first received Unlimited R&D funding for The  Doorways Project in 2014, which took the form of a photography exhibition. She has since gone on to receive a further Unlimited Commission to expand the work into a site-specific sound installation that will tour to several sites. Joe Turnbull spoke to her about the work and the experiences which shaped it.

  • Interview: Silent Faces on Follow Suit

    Silent Faces are an emerging integrated company and their physical theatre show Follow Suit has been awarded the iF Bursary at this year’s Brighton Fringe. Stopgap’s Lou Rogers caught up with them as they prepare for the debut performance on 9 May at the Sallis Benney Theatre, following the iF Not Now When? Part 2 event.

  • Interview: Esther Fox: where art, genetic survival and science intersect

    Artist Esther Fox explores genetic screening, disability and the ethical discussions surrounding her right to exist, in Pandora’s Box, her forthcoming sculptural installation in the Science Museum’s ‘Who Am I?’ gallery. She spoke to Anne Teahan about the work.

  • Interview: Shining a light on Bobby Baker and Daily Life Ltd

    Letting in the Light, a light-box exhibition organised by Bobby Baker’s charity Daily Life Ltd, lit up the streets of Stratford during the dark winter months of this year and showcased the work of artists who have experienced mental distress. Elinor Rowlands spoke to her about the impact of the exhibition and the charity’s new project, Roving Diagnostic Unit.

  • Resources: The MeCCSA Disability Studies Network

    Alison Wilde introduces The Media, Communication and Cultural Studies Association Disability Studies Network. MeCCSA aims to support and promote the development of the research and teaching of Disability Studies within Media Studies and to provide a space to support and promote the work of disabled academics, lecturers, researchers and media practitioners working in Higher Education.

  • Research: Anne Teahan - 'Sharing Cultures'

    Sharing Cultures is a project researching disability arts by artist Anne Teahan inspired by Revealing Culture an international festival of disability art and culture at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC in summer 2010. Here Anne reflects on the show and what disability has got to do with art.

  • Research: Anne Teahan - Sharing Cultures: Disability and Visibility

    Sharing Cultures is a project researching disability arts by artist Anne Teahan inspired by Revealing Culture an international festival of disability art and culture at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC in summer 2010. Here Anne shares her extensive research on a selection of artists whose work was chosen for exhibition.

  • Aaron Williamson: Tales of Life Models in the Walker Art Gallery's 'High Victorian Art' Room 8

    Commissioned by DaDaFest 2012 as part of 'Niet Normaal: Difference on Display' in association with Liverpool Biennial, Aaron Williamson has created a tour into researching the personal histories of the life models who posed for some of the Victorian painters whose work is on display in the Walker Gallery, Liverpool.

  • Research: Art, Disability and Community Integration - a report by Matthew Edmonds

    With an award from the Winston Churchill Memorial Fellowship, writer, Matthew Edmonds undertook research, looking at the importance of integration and the need for accessible artistic forums. He posts his report on Dao.


  • Recommended list of books and journals

    This section of Dao's research pages features a series of academic journals, books, novels and literature, which discusses disability. If you know of a book or journal you think Dao's readers would be interested in knowing about please send details to Dao's editor Colin Hambrook via

  • SenseAbility presentation: Ten Years of Dao: a potted history

    Dao Editor Colin Hambrook was invited to speak about Disability Arts Online at SenseAbility – an event held at the Pound Arts Centre, Corsham from 10-14 June. The festival, exploring inclusion in the arts and community, was organized by Tanvir Bush in partnership with Bath Spa University. This feature contains a transcript of his presentation

  • Why we are disabled people, not people with disabilities

    Okay, so what’s the beef with language? Why is it important to us to be named as ‘disabled people’, rather than ‘people with disabilities’. Dr Colin Cameron gives an overview of the Social Model of Disability, which has underpinned the Disability Arts and the Disability Rights Movement over the last 30 years. He explains why 'disability' has come to denote the barrriers disabled people face, rather than the impairments we live with.

  • Nothing to Fear - a short play by Bob Williams-Findlay

    DAO is delighted to present a short play by Bob Williams-Findlay, (Former Chairperson of the British Council of Disabled People) - entitled 'Nothing to Fear'

  • Poems on life in the asylum by David Trippas

    DAO publishes two poems with accompanying photographs from David Trippas, founder member of Survivors Speak Out.

  • Poetry by 'Deaf Bitch'

    Dao presents a selection of poems that tackle barriers in society from a deaf women's experience

  • Headlining Normality: The Consultation by John O'Donoghue

    At Shape's Headlining Disability debate on media representation of disability, Will Self, in conversation with Mike Shamash, posed the question of what it would be like to live in a world where disability didn't attract prejudice or stigma? In response writer John O'Donoghue imagines such a parallel universe...

  • Neglected Voices - a cycle of transcription poems by Allan Sutherland

    ‘Neglected Voices’ is a work about disabled people’s experience, consisting of four cycles of transcription poems telling the life stories of Jennifer Taylor, Catriona Grant, Peter Moore and Wendy Bryant.

  • 'Listening to the Dark' a selection of poetry by Peter Street

    Published by Penniless Press, 'Listening to the Dark' is Street's fifth volume, which includes a diverse range of topics from growing up in Bolton, living with disability, his experience as a war poet in Croatia and voicing the concerns of plants and trees.

  • All The Lonely People: an anthology by Plum Tree Books

    Niamh Clune, Founder of Plum Tree Books sent out a call across Facebook, announcing that she wanted to do an anthology on All The Lonely People... poems, art, prose focussing on the subject of loneliness. DAO presents a sampler from the online anthology.

  • Song: Alas Atos from Making Waves Community Choir

    Making Waves is a left/ green community choir, based in Cullercoats, which has a policy of freely sharing their produce. Oliver Swingler from the choir sent the following song to DAO. He says that if anyone else wants to record it and publish (with acknowledgement of Oliver and the choir), they are most welcome.

  • Creative writing: A selection of short stories by Lynne E Blackwood

    Lynne Blackwood started writing in April 2012 after illness terminated her professional activity. She is of Anglo-Indian descent and her emotional heritage plays a strong part in her writing sensitivities, reflecting a mosaic of experiences and cultures. DAO is proud to present a series of her short stories.

  • Gini: Con.Text: the major and minor scroll

    Gini was awarded a Diverse Perspectives commission to make creative responses to conversations with artists and audiences at Salisbury Arts Centre. The scrolls she produced give a creative insight into peoples' reactions to work exhibited and their reasons for coming to the Arts Centre.

  • Sean Burn: Is that a bruise or a tattoo?

    Sean Burn's third and latest full volume of poetry 'Is that a bruise or a tattoo?' has just been published by Shearsman Press. 

  • Poetry: Richard Longstaff: 'A Curlew Calls'

    Richard Longstaff submitted the following selection of his poetry. Taking inspiration from nature, 'A Curlew Calls' is part of a 40 poem collection on the author's relationship to the natural world. 

  • Poetry: Anthony Hurford: The Staff of Asclepius

    Anthony Hurford came to DAO via the Survivor's Poetry blog. He submitted a selection from his forthcoming poetry pamphlet due to be published by Survivors' Press in summer 2014

  • Poetry: John William Brown

    John William Brown is a poet, painter and performer based in Norwich. He has published in various anthologies and has produced a chapbook of his drawings and poems, Private View (1997). He was joint editor of the now defunct magazine for marginalised persons, State of Mind (2004-6). John submitted a selection of illustrated poems from his published works.

  • Poetry: Wendy Young

    Wendy Young began a poetry blog as well contributing reviews for Dao in 2013, following involvement with Survivors’ Poetry. She says: "Writing about life experiences through truth and humour is a survival mechanism. Poetry is therapy and any chance to express hidden darkness is a reason to live."

  • Poetry: Carol Robson: Just Saying How It Is

    Carol Robson loves the performance genre. She self-published her first collection Words of Darkness and Light in 2012, which will shortly be published as a second edition by Thynks Publications. She writes poetry on various themes but is passionate on issues of gender, sexuality, ageing and disability. 

  • Poetry: Owen Lowery: Otherwise Unchanged

    Writing and studying poetry was initially part of Owen Lowery's recovery following a spinal injury incurred while competing in a charity judo tournament as a young professional sportsman. Having recently won an Unlimited Award, Lowery's first major poetry collection, 'Otherwise Unchanged', was published by Carcanet in 2012. The work speaks in a range of voices, drawing from poetic traditions far and wide. 

  • Poetry: Penny Pepper: Lost in Spaces

    Penny Pepper is a writer, poet and performer with an extraordinary versatility to her work. Genre-defying and quirky, her work is infused with her passion as a veteran disability arts activist.

  • Poetry: Claire McLaughlin: Remembering Blue

    Claire McLaughlin shares a selection of poems from her forthcoming poetry collection Remembering Blue, to be published by Survivors Press in autumn 2014. Her work is infused with a sense of the losses and the gains that come with the  experience of impairment.

  • Poetry: Debjani Chatterjee: A Miscellany

    Award-winning poet-translator, Debjani Chatterjee MBE, shares a few poems from her collections, including her latest book 'Do You Hear the Storm Sing?' (Core Publications, winter 2014). She has been called 'a rainbow spirit' (Paul Beasley) and 'a voice of rare originality' (David Morley).

  • Poetry: Jonathan Andrews

    Jonathan Andrews’ poetry recounts a lived experience of autism – a perspective, which is too often ignored in favour of second-person narratives of what an autistic person seems to be thinking or feeling. He feels short, evocative snippets of this experience are the most powerful – and that the poetic form is the perfect medium to convey these.

  • Poetry: Kuli Kohli: Rag Doll

    Kuli Kohli was born with mild cerebral palsy in northern India and moved to England at an early age. She is a writer, mother, wife and full-time council worker.  Here she presents a selection from her book ‘Rag Doll’, published in 2014

  • Saradha Soobrayen at the Southbank Poetry Parnassus

    The Poetry Parnassus ran at the Southbank Centre, London in June 2012. In the poetic whirl, Nicole Fordham Hodges joined Saradha Soobrayen, who represented Mauritius, for a conversation about poetry.

  • 'Superhumans and marriage beyond: a space idiocy 2012` by the Grace Eyre creative writing group

    On this page DAO presents a surreal epic story written collectively by Jonny Schachter, Keir Dean, Susan Street, Betty Vincent, James Grantham, Juliet Senker and Elaine Parkes. As the story begins Natasha, Elizabeth Williams is on the verge of getting married to Doctor John Vincent!

  • Creative Minds: ‘What as a practitioner are you going to do now?’

    The Creative Minds event held in Brighton on Monday 10th March was full to capacity with a good mix of delegates from different roles and organisations. The work was impressive presenting visual art, performance and films that were full of life. Creative Minds was well organised with plenty of activity and scope for discussion and sharing of practice and thought. The speakers were engaging, their presentations witty, and their messages strong. To add to the debate Kristina Veasey asks ‘What as a practitioner are you going to do now?’

  • Essay: the war poetry of Keith Douglas, Alan Ross, and Wilfred Owen

    Owen Lowery, author of Otherwise Unchanged, published by Carcanet, and recipient of a recent Unlimited award offers a critique of the war poetry of Keith Douglas, Alan Ross, Wilfred Owen and Edward Thomas. In contrasting the styles of these poets recording their experience of war, Lowery examines his own approach to recording the impact of impairment ‘in extremis’

  • Essay: The anti-war poem ‘Disabled’ by Wilfred Owen

    Emmeline Burdett gives an analysis of one of the most famous anti-war poems of all time from the hand of the First World War Poet, Wilfred Owen. In a bid to evoke what Owen called ‘the pity of War’ the poem ‘Disabled’ gives impairment an emblematic status which, argues Burdett, impacts on attitudes today.

  • Profile: Kazi Nazrul Islam (1899 – 1976)

    Kazi Nazrul Islam (1899 – 1976) was a Bengali polymath, poet, writer, musician and revolutionary. Popularly known as Nazrul, his poetry and music espoused Indo-Islamic renaissance and intense spiritual rebellion against fascism and oppression. Debjani Chatterjee gives an account of the influence of his poetry on her life and career as a poet whose work creates a bridge between two continents.

  • Disability Desert Island Discs

    Dao asked Richard Downes to compile a list of favourite tracks by disabled musicians / composers. He got stuck into FaceBook and asked people to nominate their top three tracks from the Disability Rights Movement and to say something about why those tracks empower you as a disabled person.

  • Attitude is Everything: the rise of access for disabled music lovers and musicians

    In 2000 Suzanne Bull MBE set up Attitude is Everything (AiE) to challenge the music industry to improve their access to Deaf and disabled customers.  Fourteen years on the organisation has had a lot of success in persuading the UK music industry that there are advantages to be found in raising their game when it comes to access provision for disabled people. Colin Hambrook recently talked to Suzanne about AiE’s beginnings and where the organisation is heading.

  • IroniCrip Disco presents the best of the worst

    Richard Downes is an avid music-lover with a very large music collection, so when it came to commissioning a feature that highlights some of the less savoury ways in which disability gets represented, musically he was an obvious writer to ask. Drawing on a knowledge of some of the more obscure elements of popular music, IroniCrip Disco exemplifies how often we might hear a song and only subliminally recognise any meaning within it.

  • Music for the Masses

    Dao asked Mik Scarlet to capture a slice of Disability Arts history from the 1990s when a bunch of disabled musicians set their sights on a career within the music industry.​ He looks back with a sense of pride at what they achieved against inumerable odds.

  • Beethoven: challenging prejudice about the composers' deafness as personal tragedy

    Beethoven’s deafness is a topic which needs and deserves much more thorough investigation, says Emmeline Burdett responding to a recent column by Philip Collins in the Times newspaper. The article is just one illustration of how discriminatory language persists unchecked in the media

  • Political Pop to Pierce The Prophylaxis of The Non-Disabled

    Robin Surgeoner AKA Angryfish looks for political songwriting. Looking for a definition he asks does it exist within “philosophical laments, agit-pop, punk angst, prosaic provocative folk, indie rock, hard rock, reggae rock, and the list goes on…” 

  • Composers, Trauma and The First World War: the sprouted poppy-rooted veins of British pastoral music

    As part of the commemoration of the centenary of the beginning of the 1914 war, Dao commissioned Dr Simon Jenner to write an appreciation of lives of British composers, disabled by The First World War

  • Interview: Who Is Johnny Crescendo?

    This month is the 25th Anniversary of Richard Reiser and Micheline Mason’s report 'Disability Equality in the Classroom: A Human Rights Issue'. To celebrate this milestone, the authors are holding a two-day conference from 20-21 March, a highlight of which will be a performance headlined by singer, songwriter Johnny Crescendo, the Disability Arts pioneer and founder of the Direct Action Network. Robin Surgeoner talks to the musician about his life and lyrics.

  • Technology Is Key

    Mik Scarlet started out on the road to being a musician when he was given a toy electric keyboard and thanks to music technology, became one a handful of disabled musicians performing during a period when it was almost unheard of. Here he charts the progress of assistive music technology and talks to Gary Day and Ivan Riches from Drake Music London to find out what modern music tech has to offer disabled musicians.

  • Review: Fast Forward Festival: Inclusive Excellence Conference

    Hosted by Bristol Music Trust in the newly re-ramped Colston Hall, the purpose of the conference on 3 July was to take an honest and much-needed look at the inequity of the music industry and address the many barriers that exist for disabled people who want to participate in and listen to the best music available. Review by Alice Holland

  • Review: Courting Greta by Ramsey Hootman

    Published in June 2013 ‘Courting Greta’ is Ramsey Hootman’s debut novel: ‘a most unlikely romance, involving a 34-year-old crippled computer geek and a middle-aged gym teacher/ basketball coach with a penchant for addressing him as Mr. Cooke.’  Dr Emmeline Burdett critiques the novel from the perspective of a social model of disability.

  • Review: The Mysterious Death of Miss Austen by Lindsay Ashford

    Published in October 2011, 'The Mysterious Death of Miss Austen' is a historical mystery, researched and written while the author Lindsay Ashford was living in the former home of Jane Austen's brother. Dr Emmeline Burdett critiques the suppositions proposed in the novel from the perspective of the lives of women in Georgian England.


  • Review: ‘The Norwich Wheelchair Murders’ by Bill Albert

    ‘The Norwich Wheelchair Murders’ is an example of ’Crip Noir’ according to pre-publication reviews. Emmeline Burdett explores the ‘disability angles’ within this compelling thriller, written by wheelchair user and disability rights campaigner, Bill Albert. 

  • Review: You Have Not a Leg to Stand On by D.D. Mayers

    D.D. Mayers autobiography is described as the story of one man’s journey from happiness to despair and back again. Dr Emmeline Burdett gives an analysis of the book drawing on disability studies theory to understand how disabled people can often imbibe a negative self-image from disability stereotypes.


  • Review: Creative Minds one day conference 2015: discussions on the theme of 'quality'

    Creative Minds is an invitation to the learning disability arts sector to have a conversation about how we define ‘quality’.  Colin Hambrook reviews some of the presentations at the conference: how do we know something is quality? And when we do decide what 'quality' is, how do we then talk about it?

  • Review: Oska Bright Film Festival 2015 day 2 morning

    DAO’s coverage of the Oska Bright Film Festival 2015 continues with Joe Turnbull’s assessment of the Afternoon Session of Day Two.

  • Review: Oska Bright Film Festival 2015 Day 2 Evening Session

    Joe Turnbull returns to Brighton Dome for the second session of Day 2 at the Oska Bright Film Festival to see if it could live up to the highs of the morning.

  • Review: Oska Bright 2015 Day 3 Afternoon Session

    Regular DAO contributor Liz Porter attended the afternoon session of the third day of Oska Bright 2015. She assesses both the content and the access provision from a partially sighted perspective.

  • Opinion: Sick! Lab On the Couch: ‘Fluid or Fractured Identities’

    Sick! Lab in Manchester on 10 March featured a number of panel debates throughout the day entitled On the Couch. Trish Wheatley reflects on ideas around how we define ourselves

  • Opinion: Sick! Lab On the Couch: ‘Who is your Neighbour’ and ‘US and Them’

    Sick! Lab in Manchester on 10 March featured a number of panel debates throughout the day entitled On the Couch. Joe Turnbull reflects on two of the sessions ‘Who is my Neighbour’ and ‘US and Them’

  • Opinion: Sick! Lab In Conversation: Launch of DAO’s Viewfinder

    Unapologetic Self-Portraits will be the first playlist to be introduced via Dao’s new Viewfinder platform later this Spring. It was previewed for two days at SICK! Lab on a continuous loop in the Contact Theatre foyer, as well as being shown in a one-off screening at SICK! Lounge. Disabled film-maker Sandra Alland reflects on the project.