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Edinburgh Fringe Picks

Thrilled as I am to be representing Dao at the Fringe this year, from even the briefest glance at the programme I can tell I'm going to be a whimpering, knackered mess by the end. There are so many performances and events by and for disabled artists this year that I'll need equal amounts of speed, spirulina and 'shut up, you have the coolest job going' to keep me going.

Unlimited and the British Council are in town, and shows touching on everything from mental health to mortality can be found across comedy, theatre, dance, music, events and cabaret. I'll also be getting jacked up on professional development at events at Zoo Southside, Summerhall, Forest Fringe and Fringe Central.

Colin Hambrook and I will be up reviewing and schmoozing from August 23rd-31st so if you see us do please say hello.

A few of my top tips and tantalising treats for your dance cards are as follows:

Dive Cabaret: Last year the lineup included some of the most riotously profane signed poetry imaginable, and as DIVE organisers Annabel and Annabel have started working with local disability social network Get2gether I'm hopeful of meeting some new pals AND expanding my pornographic BSL vocabulary.
Good for: queer cabaret, inclusive programming, dirty thrills.

iF Platform: A gorgeous collection of leading UK disabled artists covering heaps of styles and approaches curated by Stopgap. I'm particularly looking forward to Jo Bannon's Alba; her sensitive style and chic aesthetic make my heart sing. Touretteshero's Backstage In Biscuitland looks like an absolute scream, and our man Rowan James' Easy For You To Say looks like it'll ring my bell politically, despite my mild allergy to beat-boxing.
Good for: connecting the regional dots of the UK's rich scene, assured quality.

Black- Le Gateau Chocolat: The first solo show from international operatic drag star Le Gateau Chocolat promises a soulful look at what a picnic it is growing up black, gay and depressed in Nigeria. Having seen Gateau as a cabaret performer many times I am already in love with his voice and adorable stage presence, and Black is top of my list for confessional one-handers.
Good for: knee-tremblng vocal talent, testing the resilience of waterproof mascara.

Abnormally Funny People: Celebrating their 10th anniversary this year, Abnormally Funny People has a rotating all-star cast of stand-ups bringing you their best bits every night, including Gareth Berliner, Eshaan Akbar, Liz Carr and Tanyalee Davis. This is where mama keeps the juice; go at least twice.
Good for: variety, famous faces, songs and laughs.

Bryony Kimmings- Fake it Til You Make It: Bryony's previous work on sex, celebrity, feminism and drunkenness make her something of a performance pin-up of mine. Partnering with her fiancee Tim to present a work on severe clinical depression, masculinity and love with her trademark humour looks to be another in a long line of hits for her.
Good for: fantastic aesthetics, frank humour and live-art influences.

Guerilla Aspies- Paul Wady: I'm a sucker for a spoof lecture, and Paul's whip-smart daftery should do really well to promote his book 'Guerilla Aspies- A Neurotypical Society Infiltration Manual'. Aimed at preaching to the unconverted but with plenty of insider jokes for his fellow aspies, Paul is on a mission to help you 'see things our way'.
Best for: TED lovers and haters, slideshow junkies, fact-finders and newbies.

Euan's Guide: Not a show but a resource listing and reviewing venues for accessibility. You can also get helpful info from the EdFringe website.

Anything I simply MUST see? Stick your recommendations in the comments below please, and I'll get back to trawling the programme for even more goodies to check out.

Alice x

Posted by Alice Holland, 30 July 2015

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 31 July 2015

Shaping A Diverse Future

Hey everyone, howdedo?

I'm pooped from another Immersed in 360 exhibition (running at Plymouth Uni until Friday) but cheered to have found a new poitical in-up in the barnstorming form of Mhairi "halt the rollout of PIP in Scotland" Black who's maiden speech this week made me want to stand on my chair and cheer. Love her. 

Bleak times are upon us, but Black's vigorous performance and absundance of common sense and compassion are giving me hope for a new generation of politicians who may dare to give a fuck. Even just 10% more fucks given, in line with recent payrises, would be smashing.

All thoughts are on the future here at Dao; given our joyous success in funding Viewfinder annonced this week, and with our trip as speakers and Catalyst partners to 'Shaping a Diverse Future' last week at The Point, Eastleigh, what else can we do but try to visualise the best possible arts scene the UK can have? Well, bloody loads of work, obviously, and that's coming thick and fast!

'Shaping a Diverse Future' was a day of performances, provocations and debates around the funding of new work, the language of diversity, and the future, with panelists and delegates representing Unlimited, British Council, Arts Council England, Stopgap Dance and multiple smaller UK arts organisations and companies. 

Much of the conversation was dance-focussed, something I have minimal interest in, but the broader conversations about the sector were on-the-whole very positive and productive. I'm more interested in what actions will come out of the day than the specific debates; I'll keep you posted.

As for my contribution to the day, I prepared a short presentation on crowdfunding, specifically how organisations can use this amateur fundraising tool to their benefit. 

I was pretty nervous, starting off speaking too fast for the BSL interpreters to keep up, but I'm told people both laughed at my jokes AND took notes so I'm pretty happy. I'm digging this new career shit, and feel like presenting as part of a fancyschmancy line-up is a good step towards my goal of being a fully fledges High Powered Arts Bitch.

Please click on this link to read the full presentation, should anyone find it handy.

We've got just a few days left on our crowdfunding campaign for Rowan James, so chuck us a couple of quid and help out a cool young artist on the rise.


Alice x

Posted by Alice Holland, 16 July 2015

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 26 April 2016