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  • Ivan Riches: Sonic Vistas

    Ivan Riches is a disabled visual/ sonic artist, filmmaker, musician/ composer and writer. He is a national associate artist with Drake Music and Age Exchange, co founder of Eyesociation. He has worked with the Disability Programmes Unit and as an art lecturer at the Victoria and Albert Museum. He has shown and exhibited art-works and films at the APT Galley, BBC television, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, City Hall London, ICA Gallery, National Film Theatre BFI Southbank and Oxo Tower Wharf, including exhibiting in open exhibitions at the Royal Festival Hall, Shape Arts, South London Gallery and Whitechapel Art Gallery.  He has also published an introductory guide 'Doing photography' MENCAP guides on running arts projects.

  • Kaite O'Reilly

    Kaite O'Reilly is an award-winning playwright and a recipient of two Cultural Olympiad Commissions. She blogs about writing and the process of writing with a focus on four forthcoming productions, which revolve around disability issues.

  • Sophie Partridge's Blog

    Sophie Partridge has performed in several productions with Graeae Theatre Company, including the award-winning Peeling and Flower Girls. She has worked with David Glass Ensemble, Theatre Resource and Theatre Workshop. She has a French Canadian Mum, an 82 year-old Dad, two sisters, one brother, various uncles, aunts and cousins, great friends, good PAs and several virtual dogs. What more does a Girl need?!

  • Allan Sutherland

    Allan Sutherland’s blog charts the progress of working on his first collection of poetry, Leaning On A Lamppost. The collection will give an overview of his work, including 20 years of performance, his more recent pioneering work in transcription poetry, found poems and a set of new work responding to his mentoring by John O’Donoghue.

  • 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.

  • Christopher Leith: 3 Stages for Lazarus

    Christopher Leith is a master puppeteer. Recently diagnosed with MND, his new show ‘3 Stages for Lazarus’ combines live puppetry, acting and music to explore issues of life and death. Currently a work-in-progress the play is being developed with a 10-15 minute film to be be completed by the end of August with performances at the Suspense Festival in London in November 2015.

  • Signdance Collective International

    Signdance Collective International are an international dance, music, theatre company based at Bucks New University in South East England. David Bower and Isolte Avila blog the companies travels to festivals worldwide.

  • Fittings Multimedia Arts

    Raspberry is a musical inspired by the life and times of legendary disabled performer, Ian Dury. Written by award-winning playwright Garry Robson of Fittings Multimedia Arts, the play is showing at Oval House Theatre, London - 1 February to 19 February. Audio Described & BSL performance: Friday 18th February (See DAO listings for details)

  • Signdance at the PAH Festival
    Signdance Collective send greetings from the PAH Festival, Philadelphia November 2007
  • Unlimited

    Dao is delighted to be a media partner for UNLIMITED bringing you the latest news and insights on this exciting programme led by Shape and ArtsAdmin. UNLIMITED aims to embed work by disabled artists within the UK cultural sector, reach new audiences and shift perceptions of disabled people. Dao will feature the 9 main Unlimited commissions for 2015 plus numerous research and development projects. In addition Unlimited Impact, is creating projects to develop resources, which make programmes and marketing more accessible to disabled people.

  • Signs of a Diva - an interview with Caroline Parker
    An interview with Caroline Parker
  • The Heroes say Goodbye
    Nick Massey bids a fond farewell to inclusive pop group The Heroes
  • Next Year in Auckland
    Philip Patston, comedy performer, public speaker and the primal force behind the International Disability Arts Symposium which will take place in Auckland in March 2009.
  • StopGAP Dance Company
    StopGAP Dance Company are currently undertaking a UK tour with their latest Portfolio Collection
  • Julie McNamara: Pig's Sister
    Colin Hambrook talked to Julie McNamara about Pig's Sister her latest piece of theatre, due to be performed at Theatre Workshop in Edinburgh as part of the Degenerate Festival 2005.
  • DaDaFest 2004
    Gemma Nash looks forward to DaDaFest 2004.
  • Laurence Clark: The Jim Davidson Guide to Equality

    Laurence Clark tours his latest stand-up show - on the condition that Jim Davidson isn't let in the theatre - until December 2005.

  • An interview with Philip Patston
    DAO interviews writer, comedian and activist, Philip Patston.
  • Cirque Nova begins training aiming for 2012
    Jean-Marie Akkermann blogs on Cirque Nova's latest training project for disabled artists
  • StopGAP Dance Company
    StopGAP are an internationally recognised Dance Company. Having comleted a whirlwind UK tour of their acclaimed Portfolio Collection they are now preparing for the Caravan International Event, which is taking place to coincide with The Brighton Festival.
  • Profile: Decibel Performing Arts Showcase

    The fourth decibel Performing Arts Showcase, takes place in Manchester from 15-18 September 2009. The showcase, run by Arts Council England offers promoters and national and international arts professionals a unique snapshot of England’s diverse performing arts talent.

  • Interview: Julie McNamara discusses her theatre practice, part of Shape Animate

    Colin Hambrook talks with theatre practitioner Julie McNamara about her Animate talk at Shape on 4 March 2010. Animate explores the rich history of Disability Arts through talks and workshops.

  • An Interview with Maysoon Zayid

    Groundbreaking comedy performer, Maysoon Zayid, takes a break from her hectic schedule to talk to Joe McConnell about her craft.

  • Shape Animate Podcast: Julie McNamara on the hospital years

    Shape Animate Podcast: Julie McNamara tells an audience about her years of struggle as an artist, culminating in a painful moment of realisation and conflict.

  • 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: Filmpro present FAT

    A unique solo performance by Pete Edwards - telling the story of a gay, disabled man in search of his heart’s desire. Produced in association with Graeae Theatre Company.

  • Profile: The Orpheus Centre present The Tempest

    The Orpheus Centre are performing a production of ‘The Tempest' at The Rose Theatre, Kingston and the Linbury Studio Theatre at The Royal Opera House.

  • 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.

  • 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: Mind the Gap win Award

    Mind the Gap win NatWest CommunityForce Award to develop a filmmaking project in the North East

  • 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.

  • 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: 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: 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: Brazilian dancers arrive in Bournemouth for Diverse City's 'Battle for the Winds'

    Diverse City welcome Brazilian dancers to Dorset for two weeks of performances across Dorset culminating in the performance of a lifetime in the Battle for the Winds: The Ceremony of the Winds and Final Battle on 28th July.

  • News: Blue Touch Paper carnival team up with a Brazilian dancer troupe

    HORSHAM will be treated to a Rio style carnival at Sparks in the Park on Sunday 15 July when the Blue Touch Paper Carnival comes to town with Embaixadores de Alegria from Rio

  • News: Signdance Collective to feature as part of London 2012 Festival Showtime

    The groundbreaking performing arts company Signdance Collective are to perform its Olympic inspired outdoor performance piece: 'New Gold' and 'Half A Penny' featuring the London-based Punk/ Jazz Duo, 'Dead Days Beyond Help' as part of their European Tour for 2012

  • News: DadaFest 2012: Dates and theme announced

    DaDaFest, the International Festival of Disability and Deaf Arts, has announced that the festival is to return in summer 2012, with the theme of TransActions - Fluid Bodies: Shifting Identities

  • News: Graeae wins Promotion of Diversity at the TMA awards

    Graeae received the Promotion of Diversity Award at the annual TMA (Theatrical Management Association) Theatre Awards UK ceremony on Sunday 28 October 2012.

  • The Creative Case Symposium

    The Arts Council of England will launch the Creative Case - a new approach to diversity, during a day-long public symposium in Manchester on Monday 12 September.

  • News: Finalists in the Best Arts Project category of The National Lottery Awards 2011

    Four organisations were named as finalists in the arts category of The National Lottery Awards 2011, the annual search to find the UK’s favourite Lottery-funded projects.

  • News: Mind the Gap’s chickens fly the coop to feature at Summer festivals

    Why did the chicken cross the road? Which came first the chicken or the egg? Mind the Gap’s talented cast of learning disabled professional performers hatched a plan to answer these and other less poultry questions in their new street theatre piece, ‘Chicken Coup!’ which toured festivals during the summer of 2011

  • News: Jenny Sealey wins Liberty Human Rights Arts Award

    Graeae Artistic Director Jenny Sealey was awarded the Liberty Human Rights Arts Award at the annual ceremony, held at the Southbank Centre on 21 November

  • 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: 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.

  • News: Signdance Collective International announce a new BBC Radio 4 drama - 'Bad Elvis' - an innovative play visualises radio

    Signdance Collective International [SDCI] are engaged in an exciting new collaboration with BBC Radio 4 that will break new ground by enabling deaf people to engage with Bad Elvis, a brand new radio play that is due to be broadcast on 27 August.

  • National Paralympic Day featuring Liberty Festival!

    Greenwich and Docklands International Festival is producing National Paralympic Day featuring the Mayor of London’s Liberty Festival at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on Saturday 7 September 2013.

  • 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: CEDA Music Acclaim

    Exeter-based Community Equality Disability Action (CEDA) have just been awarded £100 as runners up in the recent Sound Beam 25 competition.

  • 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: Spanish artist and musician Neil Harbisson develops device enabling him to interpret colours as different musical frequencies

    In 2004 Neil Harbisson and Adam Montandon developed The Eyeborg - an electronic ‘eye’ that allows colours to be perceived as sounds. The Eyeborg is a small sensor placed at eye level, held in place with a cable that transports colour information to a computer or chip. The electromagnetic light waves are turned into sound frequencies that are heard as musical notes. In partnership with Vodafone, Harbisson has now recorded the colours of Barcelona’s Palau de la Musica using mobile technology to compose a unique score.

  • test for disability arts tourism network feed

    In 2004 Neil Harbisson and Adam Montandon developed The Eyeborg - an electronic ‘eye’ that allows colours to be perceived as sounds. The Eyeborg is a small sensor placed at eye level, held in place with a cable that transports colour information to a computer or chip. The electromagnetic light waves are turned into sound frequencies that are heard as musical notes. In partnership with Vodafone, Harbisson has now recorded the colours of Barcelona’s Palau de la Musica using mobile technology to compose a unique score.

  • 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: 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: 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: First Graduates in Diploma in Performance Making for adults with learning disabilities

    Course offered by Access All Areas Theatre and The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama is the first of its kind

  • 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: Unlimited opens the second round of submissions

    Unlimited, the initiative which supports disabled artists to create and present exceptional work across the artforms, announces the opening of the second round of submissions for commission funds. Disabled artists and companies who are creating new disability-led work are invited to apply.

  • 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: 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 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: 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: 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.

  • Obituary: Lynn Manning (1955 - 2015)

    Lynn Manning athlete, poet, actor, playwright and founder of the Watts Village Theater Company, died last Monday aged 60, after a year-long fight against liver cancer. In 2005 Extant Theatre brought Manning to the UK and toured his one-man autobiographical play Weights, which told his story of being shot and blinded by a stranger in a bar. Extant CEO Maria Oshodi has kindly allowed Dao to reproduce her tribute to a man she remembers as a warrior, brother and friend

  • 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: Step into Dance: Inclusive dance practice... unlocking creativity and freeing inhibitions

    Sue Goodman, Step into Dance Programme and Artistic Director, discusses the refreshing openness of dancers with learning and physical impairments

  • 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: 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.

  • Extant: Resistance

    Extant are the only blind theatre company in the UK. Over the past few years they have been developing new styles to create access for blind performers and audiences alike. Colin Hambrook takes a look at their remarkable achievement.

  • Liberty Festival 2005

    A review of the Liberty Festival of 2005.

  • Liberty Festival 2007

    Colin Hambrook reviews this year's big disability celebration in Trafalgar Square

  • Edinburgh Fringe 2007

    Jo Verrent reviews eight disability-related shows at the Edinburgh Festival

  • Deborah Williams: oUo maan

    Lindsay Carter caught Deborah William's; one-woman show oUo maan at Caedmon Hall, Gateshead

  • Sign Dance Collective showreel

    Sign Dance Collective are fast developing a Europe-wide reputation for their imaginative new style of sign dance theatre. Colin reviews their show reel.

  • Sign Dance Collective: But Beautiful

    Melissa Mostyn reviews Sign Dance Collective's latest show But Beautiful and raises some thought-provoking questions.

  • Liberty Festival 2004

    London's Disability Rights Festival, reviewed by Colin Hambrook

  • Xposure 2004: London Festival of Deaf and Disability Arts

    The third Xposure Arts Festival, which ran from 1 to 27 November 2004, is one of the largest festivals of disabled artists and performers in the UK.

  • Lynn Manning: Weights

    Colin Hambrook saw the new production of Lynn Manning's autobiographical play Weights in Brighton, at the beginning of its UK tour.

  • Nabil Shaban: The First To Go

    Robert Softley reviews Nabil Shaban's play about the holocaust

  • Static by Graeae Theatre Company

    Robert Softely reviewed Graeae's touring production in March 2008.

  • New Life: Blind In Theatre Festival Croatia 2007

    Maria Oshodi reports back on Extant's recent visit to the fifth international Blind in Theatre Festival held in Zagreb in October.

  • Signdance Collective: Three Films + One

    Signdance lead the way in experimental performance with their most challenging piece of work to date

    The Signdance Collective premiered the launch of their new production Three Films + One at Holton Lee on 28 June 2008.

  • Decibel 09 review: Crossings by Julie McNamara

    Crossings was originally commissioned as a theatre work in progress by DaDa (Deaf and Disability Arts) Festival, Liverpool. Peter Street reflects on Julie McNamara's gripping piece of drama which examines racist times from the past with contemporary racist attitudes.

  • Review: Deafinitely Theatre Company perform Double Sentence

    Double Sentence presents some new departures in style for Deafinitely Theatre Company. Alan McLean saw the production at the Arena Theatre Wolverhampton on 1 October 2009.

  • Review: Austen's Women by Rebecca Vaughan & Guy Masterson

    Susan Bennett saw a new touring production based on characterisations of Jane Austen's women at the Crosby Civic Hall on 13 November 2009.

  • Review: DaDaFest09 - Crossings by Julie McNamara

    Mandy Redvers-Rowe reviews Crossings by Julie McNamara - performed at The Unity Theatre, Liverpool on 20 November, as part of DaDaFest 2009.

  • Review: DaDaFest 2009 - It Hasn’t Happened Yet by Liz Carr

    It Hasn’t Happened Yet! is a comedy about comedy that asks just who and what a disabled comedian can actually laugh at these days? Mandy Redvers-Rowe caught Liz Carr's performance at the Unity Theatre, Liverpool on 21 November 2009

  • Review: DaDaFest09 - Mat Fraser performs From Freak To Clique

    From Freak To Clique is a work-in-progress written and performed by Mat Fraser, currently starring in Channel 4s' Cast Offs. Mandy Redvers-Rowe caught Mat's performance - commissioned by DaDaFest - at the Bluecoat, Liverpool on November 27 2009

  • Review: Wild Things - Sounds of the Disabled Underground Vol 2

    Following the success of last year’s Wild Things CD, Brighton punk band Heavy Load launched the second compilation on their Get in or Get Out label on 10 December 2009 at Komedia, Brighton. Colin Hambrook reviews Volume 2, a double CD featuring artists from all over the world. All proceeds go towards the Stay Up Late campaign

  • Review: Really Old, Like Forty Five by Tamsin Oglesby

    Kate Larsen reviews this 'furious comedy', which attempts to grapple with the realities of dementia and Alzheimer’s. Really Old, Like Forty Five is playing at the Cottesloe Theatre, London until 20 April 2010.

  • Review: Lizzie Emeh - Loud and Proud

    Colin Hambrook caught up with soul diva Lizzie Emeh in Brighton for a gig at Carousel's Blue Camel Club

  • 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: Lisa Hammond and Rachael Spence present No Idea

    Lisa and Rachael wanted to make a show together but they didn’t have any ideas. How do you make a show with no idea? Kate Cotton saw Improbable Theatre's production at the Plymouth Drum Theatre on 5 May 2010

  • Review: Mind the Gap – Of Mice and Men

    The latest outing of Mind the Gap’s Of Mice and Men is a beautiful and evocative production and highly recommended viewing. Kate Cotton saw the show at the Ariel Centre, Dartington, 3 March, 2011

  • Review: Lung Ha's Theatre Company – Around the World in 80 Days

    Paul F Cockburn saw Lung Ha's adaptation of the Jules Verne classic at Platform, The Bridge, in Glasgow on 31 March, 2011

  • 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.

  • 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: Bobby Baker - Mad Gyms and Kitchens

    Joe McConnell reviews Bobby Baker's new touring performance piece

  • 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.

  • Preview: Death: Southbank Centre's Festival for the Living

    From Friday 27th – Monday 30th January, the Southbank Centre is hosting an unusual event: four days of talks, music, performance and poetry that gently lift the lid on the subject of death. Previewed by DAO New Voices writer, Nicole Hodges

  • 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.

  • 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: Liz Carr - The Benefits Downstairs

    Richard Downes enjoys a frosty February night, keeping faith in friends. He caught Liz Carr do a sit-down comedy routine 'Downstairs at the Kings Head' in Crouch End, London N8

  • Review: Retina Dance's 'Layers of Skin'

    Retina Dance's 'Layers of Skin' examines the artistic process of 'hiding' and 'revealing' in contemporary dance. Obi Chiejina uncovers some complex ideas behind the performance which tours the UK and Europe until Autumn 2012.

  • Review: Deafinitely Theatre: 4Play 2012

    Every year, Deafinitely Theatre hold a showcase of short plays by four young deaf writers who have won their place on the Deafinitely Creative scheme. Charlie Swinbourne began his own scriptwriting career with the company back in 2006, so he went along to review this year’s intake.

  • 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: Absolutely Funny People

    Abnormally Funny People have a run of gigs at the Soho Theatre, Downstairs. Rich Downes went along on the 20th February and lifted himself out of "a bad place" - infected by the humour of Tanyalee Davis, Steve Day, Noel James, Sophie Woolley and Penny Pepper.

  • Review: Improbable Theatre present 'The Devil and Mister Punch'

    350 years on from the invention of the Punch and Judy puppet show, Improbable Theatre have brought the character alive in their stage show 'The Devil and Mister Punch.' Colin Hambrook shook with laughter at the last performance of the show at the Barbican on 25 February.

  • 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: God/Head by Chris Goode

    God/Head is the latest piece to be written and performed by the acclaimed theatre-maker Chris Goode. Deborah Caulfield saw it at The Ovalhouse, in South London. She came away with a messed-up head and a longing to be somewhere safe.

  • 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: 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: Abnormally Funny People

    Rich Downes is becoming an Abnormally Funny People (AFP) regular. Last time, he went, he felt down and needed lifting. AFP worked for him! Looking at the line up, of Mat Fraser, Liz Carr, Laurence Clark performing on Monday 19 March at Soho Theatre, he knew it would be good.

  • 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: Next Swan Down the River Might be Black

    ‘Next Swan Down the River Might Be Black’ has been described by playwright Sean Burns as a personal response to being sectioned under the Mental Health Act. Obi Chiejina concludes that whilst the subject matter may be unfamiliar to theatre audiences the quest for personal fulfilment the play explores, is rooted in English romantic fiction.

  • Review: Brian Lobel presents Ball and Other Funny Stories About Cancer

    In 2001, at the age of 20, Brian Lobel was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Marian Cleary experiences a tale of cancer. Again.

  • Review: Birmingham Rep Theatre present Gravity

    Faced paced, dynamic and educative 'Gravity' is a gripping contemporary play about violence in schools. Obi Chiejina links the unfolding events with iconic occurrences from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. 'Gravity' continues to tour to schools and colleges throughout 2012.

  • 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: Mousetrap Theatre Projects present Shrek The Musical

    Sophie Partridge reviews a one-off performance of Shrek The Musical at Theatre Royal, Drury Lane staged by Mousetrap Theatre Projects designed specifically to cater for families with disabled children

  • Review: imove - LeanerFasterStronger

    imove - Yorkshire's cultural programme for London 2012 commissioned Kaite O’Reilly’s new play 'LeanerFasterStronger' focusing on diversity and the interplay between sport and art. Jo Verrent reviews a performance at the Sheffield Crucible

  • 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: Handspring Puppet Company present Crow

    Breathing theatrical life into Ted Hughes’ mythic Crow poems, Handspring Puppet Company combine puppetry with choreography in a dance theatre performance as part of the Greenwich + Docklands International Festival. DAO Editor Colin Hambrook looks on and weeps...

  • 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: 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: Unlimited: Ramesh Mayyappan presents 'Skewered Snails'

    Ramesh Mayyappan’s Skewered Snails is a darkly comic tale following a son who escapes his brutal home. Maggie Hampton from Disability Arts Cymru caught the theatre piece at The Weston Studio, Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff on 28 June.

  • Review: Unlimited: Laurence Clark presents 'Inspired'

    Maggie Hampton from Disability Arts Cymru caught Laurence Clark's Unlimited commission - 'Inspired', at the Weston Studio, Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff on 26 June

  • 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: Unlimited: In Water I’m Weightless, at the Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff

    Written by Kaite ‘O Reilly and directed by National Theatre Wales’ Artistic Director John E. McGrath, 'In Water I’m Weightless' offers a truthful exploration of life with a disability, says Tom Wentworth

  • 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: Kiruna Stamell and Gareth Berliner present ‘A little Commitment’

    Cate Jacobs reviews Kiruna Stamell and Gareth Berliner’s new show ‘A little Commitment’ at The Unity Theatre, Liverpool on 30 August as part of DaDaFest 2012

  • 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: DaDaFest 2012

    DaDaFest brings artists from across the globe to Liverpool to showcase and celebrate the best in Disability and Deaf Arts. These pages contain a selection of reviews, and responses from Colin Hambrook, Trish Wheatley, Cate Jacobs and Susan Bennet to the eclectic programme of international performance arts, visual arts and discussion that took place between 13 July - 2 September 2012

  • Review: Liberty Festival 2012

    Liberty was 10 years old this year. Penny Pepper was there, on 1 September, soaking up the vibes along London's Southbank, outside the National Theatre and in the BFI.

  • Review: Unlimited: Simon Allen's 'Resonance At The Still Point Of Change'

    Richard Downes tries to stave off his emotional responses to a situation created by Simon Allen and his team through a song cycle backed with musical and natural sounds, electronic processes and multi-screen images. Part of the Unlimited Festival 'Resonance At The Still Point Of Change' was performed in the Queen Elizabeth Hall on 4 September

  • Review: Unlimited: Bee Detective by Tin Bath Theatre

    Written by Sophie Woolley & Directed by Gemma Fairley Tin Bath Theatre Company’s Bee Detective is a family show about the life and work cycle of bees. Liz Porter saw the show at the Unlimited Festival at the Southbank Centre

  • 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: 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

  • Preview: Lets Make History Together 2012

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

  • 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: 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: Signdance Collective International present ‘The Other Side of the Coin’

    Signdance Collective International performed a UK premier of their tale about Spanish poet Frederico Garcia Lorca to close Together 2012's One World Conference at St John's Church, Stratford, London. Richard Downes explores questions the 'moving painting' brought to his attention

  • 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 Place present Fresh 2012

    Bringing together some of the UK’s most dynamic youth and professional dance companies including Cando2, Fresh is The Place's annual celebration of dance designed for young people. Sophie Partridge reviews...

  • Review: Hijinx, Odyessy present Whispers on the Waves

    Hijinx Theatre presented a new production from inclusive community group, Odyssey, at Wales Millennium Centre from 6-8 December. Whispers on the Waves eavesdrops on stories from the last century as they wait for Christmas to turn the corner. Review by Tom Wentworth

  • 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: 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: Unlimited: an evening of film in the Southbank Centre

    'Total Permission' follows conductor Charles Hazlewood, founder of the British Paraorchestra, as he encounters the artistry within 12 of the Unlimited commissions. Nina Muehlemann went to the launch of the film at the Southbank Centre on 6 February

  • 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 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: Mother Courage and her Children by the Library Theatre Company

    Susan Bennett gives a thoughtful critical account of a Captioned Performance of Bertolt Brecht's classic, complex play about war and capitalism, staged at the Quay Theatre, The Lowry, Salford on 8 March.

  • 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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.

  • Review: DYSPLA Festival 2013

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

  • 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: The Anatomy of Melancholy produced by Ovalhouse and Stan's Cafe

    A 500,000 word text on the nature of melancholy, first  published in 1621: Stan's Cafe have made Robert Burton's archaic text into a stage play. Quirky and illuminating, or insane and heavy-going? And what does it  all tell us about what we would call 'depression?' Nicole Fordham Hodges went to the Ovalhouse Theatre on 30 November to find out.

  • 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: 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: The Eradication of Schizophrenia in Western Lapland by Ridiculusmus

    The SICK Festival has returned to Brighton with an array of cutting edge performance that seeks to open up conversations about health and mental health. Colin Hambrook went to a performance by the theatre group Ridiculusmus inspired by a research trip to Finland.

  • 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: 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: 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: BBC Four: John Ogdon: Living with Genius

    BBC Four’s profile of Britain's greatest ever classical pianist and of one of the most successful musical partnerships of the last 50 years, that of John Ogdon and wife Brenda Lucas Ogdon was shown on 6 June. Review by Wendy Young

  • Review: Gary Thomas: Hidden at DAiSY Fest

    DAiSY Fest at GLIve on 4th June showcased Gary Thomas’s monologue Hidden starring Nathan Thompson. Taking his audience on a journey through some of the darkest thoughts we can share about ourselves: following a police stop and search, the principle character Sam’s delusions take over to the point that he becomes a person he no longer recognizes. Review by Deborah Caulfield

  • 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: 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: 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: Claire Cunningham: Guide Gods

    Religion and art are uncomfortable, but necessary bedfellows argues Colin Hambrook in a critique of Claire Cunningham’s dance/ theatre piece, which tells the stories of the religious beliefs of a range of disabled people

  • 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: 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: 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'

  • 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: Bush Theatre: 'Islands' by Caroline Horton

    Olivier Award-nominated Caroline Horton's devised play Islands showed at the Bush Theatre from 15 January to 21 February. Described as an ink black comedy about tax havens, enormous greed, and the few who have it all, Sophie Partridge reflects on the play from a disability perspective.

  • 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: Ramesh Meyyappan’s 'Butterfly'

    Ramesh Meyyappan’s Butterfly is inspired by a combination of John Luther Long’s short story Madame Butterfly and Nabokov’s novel Lolita, evoking the elegiac quality of both works. Review by Colin Hambrook

  • 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: 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: 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: 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: Spill Festival 2015 - the fiery spirit of marginalisation

    SPILL Festival is an experimental artist-led festival produced by UK-based arts organisation Pacitti Company. This year's festival took place across multiple venues in London between 28 October and 8 November. Artist, and former SPILL performer Dr Martin O'Brien gives his personal response to the festival as a whole.  

  • 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: 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: 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: Unlimited: Kaite O'Reilly: Cosy

    Kaite O'Reilly's new play ’Cosy’ premiered at Cardiff’s Millennium Centre with an exploration of the sensitive subject of death - when and how it comes to us all - with a light, often irreverent touch. Review by Chloe Phillips


  • 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.

  • 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!

  • Tim Jeeves: On Catharsis
    Tim Jeeves explains, in prose, reasons for his performance piece The Last Days of Mourning
  • Alternative Dramaturgies informed by a Deaf and Disability perspective
  • Interview: Jo Verrent talks to Rachel Feldberg, Artistic Director of the Ilkley Literature Festival

    Rachel Feldberg, Artistic Director of the Ilkley Literature Festival, discusses life, love and disability with Jo Verrent, director of ADA inc.

  • Mat Fraser: Disability Arts: Good or Bad?
    Mat Fraser talks about the support he's had from the Disability Arts world and the need for more constructive criticism.
  • Discussion: Victoria Wright addresses comedian Frankie Boyle

    Comedian Frankie Boyle has hit the news for making jokes at the expense of learning disabled people during his sell-out tour. Victoria Wright, writer and star of Channel 4s Cast Offs, writes him an open letter.

  • Karen Sheader: Planet of the Blind

    Joe McConnell talks to Karen Sheader about the production of her CD, 'Planet of the Blind.'

  • Interview: Jon Pratty talks to Tony Panayiotou about Heart n Soul and Decibel

    What does the success of Heart n Soul mean for the rest of us in disability arts? Jon Pratty talks to Tony Panayiotou, Director of Diversity at Arts Council England, at the Heart n Soul MBE celebration party at Deptford Albany.

  • 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: 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: 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: 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

  • Interview: Caroline Bowditch talks about her Unlimited commission, 'Leaving Limbo Landing'

    An ambitious new outdoors dance piece is 'full of firsts' for the former 'Dance Agent for Change' at Scottish Dance Theatre, Caroline Bowditch. Paul F Cockburn spoke to her during its recent run in Glasgow.

  • Interview: Kaite O'Reilly and the cast of 'In Water, I’m Weightless' talk about the production

    After an acclaimed run in Cardiff, National Theatre Wales and a cast of deaf and disabled performers brings the award-winning Kaite O’Reilly’s 'In Water I’m Weightless' to London as part of the Unlimited festival at the Southbank Centre. But how did such an imaginative, poignant and funny work come together? Paul F Cockburn, dropped in during the final week of rehearsals last July.

  • 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: What impact did Unlimited and the Unlimited Festival have on the commissioned artists?

    What impact did Unlimited and the Unlimited Festival have on the commissioned artists? Nina Muehlemann has interviewed 10 of the artists for DAO to find out

  • Interview: Jo Verrent, Luke Pell, Wendy Martin, Tony Heaton and Carole McFadden on the impact of Unlimited

    Four months after the ‘Unlimited’ commissions were shown as part of the Cultural Olympiad, how do Jo Verrent, Luke Pell, Wendy Martin, Tony Heaton and Carole McFadden, five of the key ‘movers and shakers’ behind Unlimited, feel about its impact on disability arts? Nina Muehlemann has spoken to them on behalf of DAO to find out.

  • 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: 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

  • 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: 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: Robert Softley talks to Kaite O'Reilly about his performing arts career

    Robert Softley's one man show 'If These Spasms Could Speak' is currently showing as part of the Edinburgh Fringe. He talks to Kaite O'Reilly answering 20 questions about life and art.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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: 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: 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.

  • 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?

  • 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. 

  • Interview: Graeae Theatre tackle a new adaptation of 'Blood Wedding'

    Graeae’s Artistic Director Jenny Sealey talks to Paul F Cockburn about her company’s new co-production with Dundee Rep Ensemble and Derby Theatre, setting Lorca's classic Spanish Play in the city.

  • 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: 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. 

  • Discussion: Pulse Festival: the uses of BSL and Audio Description in Theatre

    As part of the Ramps on the Moon event at New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich on 5 June, delegates had the opportunity to sit in on an open rehearsal of Jeni Draper’s Fingersmith’s latest show ‘War Crimes for the Home’ and Sue MacLaine’s ‘Can I Start Again Please.’ Liz Porter responds to the uses of British Sign language and Audio Description in theatre.

  • 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?

  • 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

  • Interview: flip Artists: The View From Here

    A recent exhibition in Edinburgh’s Gayfield Creative Spaces presented work by nine disabled artists who have recently completed a nine-month programme of mentoring and support from several high profile arts organisations in Scotland. Paul F Cockburn spoke with Robert Softly Gale, director of flip: Disability Equality in the Arts, who coordinated the programme.  

  • 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: 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.

  • 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: 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: Introducing: Priya Mistry’s Musical Mental Health Cabaret

    Using a sophisticated visual language and brutally honest monologue developed by the ‘all-singing-all-dancing-all-mental’ cast and crew, Musical Mental Health Cabaret debuts at Attenborough Arts this June. Alice Holland meets Priya during rehearsal to find out more about the show and Priya’s work developing new techniques and expressions for artists with mental health issues. 

  • Critical Writing Masterclass

    A group of disabled writers were invited by New Writing South and DAO (Disability Arts Online) to a series of seminars to develop skills in critical writing and gain an understanding of its role within the world of news media and publishing

  • NWDAF masterclass lead by Nabil Shaban
    Kevin Donnellon takes part in a series of workshops hosted by NWDAF and asks what lessons we can learn from the past
  • Graeae Theatre: Missing Pieces
    Penny Pepper experiences Graeae Theatre Company's free performance training course for aspiring actors with sensory and physical disabilities
  • 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. 

  • Unsound Unsung: deaf creatives in the theatre and on radio

    Over the last decade, deaf writers and performers have been making their mark on radio, TV, stage and film, delighting audiences and challenging misconceptions, says Sarah Pickthall.

  • For One Night Only: taking diverse theatre to rural venues

    In Autumn 2011 Farnham Maltings produced For One Night Only, a funny, touching play full of song and the odd smart one liner, made especially for village halls. Director, Gavin Stride talks about the value of touring a show with a cast of two black performers to village halls in deepest, whitest England.

  • 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?’

  • 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.

  • 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…” 

  • 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.

  • 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

  • Creative Minds South West: Theatre and Storytelling Presentations

    Katie Keeler, Co-Executive Producer of Theatre Bristol reflects on the Creative Minds conference in Bristol on Tuesday 14 October 2014 attended by learning disabled artists from across the UK, workers who support learning-disabled artists and a bunch of non-specialist industry types.

  • 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?

  • 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.