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Inner Worlds Outside

Colin Hambrook went to the Whitechapel Gallery in London to see the latest exposure of Outsider Art.

Peter Campbell: Brown Linoleum Green Lawns

Peter Campbell's first poetry collection, published by Hearing Eye, is reviewed by Joe Bidder

Review: Colin Hambrook '100 Houses'

Simon Jenner reviews an illustrated poetry collection by Colin Hambrook commissioned by Up-Stream as a strand of Accentuate. The book charts the author's journey through mental health breakdown and survival.

Paddy Masefield: Strength

Deborah Williams went to a launch of Paddy Masefield's book. She recounts her first impressions of the man, his passion and commitment to disability arts.

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.

Oska Bright Film Festival 2004

A festival of short films by people with learning disabilities.

X’08 London's 8th International Disability Film Festival

Allan Sutherland reviews X'08 London's 8th International Disability Film Festival

Disability Arts Cymru: The Unusual Stage School

The Unusual Stage School; Mat Fraser gives an assessment of a new theatre project launched by Disability Arts Cymru.

Robert Wyatt: Free Will and Testament

Colin Hambrook wonders why disabled artists of the repute of Robert Wyatt have never joined the fray within the disability movement?

Mind the Gap: On the Verge

A review of Jez Colborne’s (aka J C Jamma) one-man show, On the Verge.

Liberty Festival 2005

A review of the Liberty Festival of 2005.

The Almond and the Seahorse by Kaite O’Reilly

Sara Beer reviews a performance of Kaite O’Reilly's play, on tour in Wales and Manchester

Explore: Disabled and Deaf People engaging with Galleries

Artist Alan Mclean talks about working with Ethnic Advocacy and Apna Women's Group from Walsall.

Tommy McHugh: The Universe Explodes

Danny Start reviews a Liverpool artist whose creativity came to the fore after having a stroke

DASh Film Festival 2008

Tanya Raabe reviews the recent DASh film festival

Theatre Resource: The Conquest of the South Pole

A moving play about the problem of long-term unemployment, in which four disabled friends stave off the despair of joblessness by re-enacting Amundsen's expedition to the South Pole.

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

Christine Finn: Leave Home Stay

Colin Hambrook talks about the impact of Christine Finn's installation 'Leave-Home-Stay'

Yinka Shonibare: Adam Reynolds bursary

Colin Hambrook and Joe McConnell respond to a talk by Yinka Shonibare at the Shape's launch of the Adam Reynolds bursary

Julie McNamara: Pig Tales

Julie McNamara tours the UK with her story of sex, religion and psychiatry

The Disabled Avant-Garde Today!

DAO reveiws Aaron Williamson and Katherine Araniello's latest exhibition

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.

Yinka Shonibare: Turner Prize (2004)

Deborah Williams reviews the work of Turner Prize (2004) nominee Yinka Shonibare.

The Fingersmiths: In Praise of Fallen Women

The Fingersmiths latest production incorporates spoken and projected text with theatricalised British Sign Language. Penny Pepper caught their performance at the Drill Hall, London.

Birds Eye festival

Penny Pepper tells us about the Bird's Eye View Festival of women's film

Oska Bright 2007

Colin Hambrook reviews the latest Oska Bright at the Old Market Arts Centre and talks to some of the steering committee.

Heavy Load: The Queen Mother's Dead

Lloyd Page reviews the latest release from a great new punk band from Lewes, Sussex

Envisage Review

Liz Porter reviews the current status of Audio Description, in response to a symposium at the Oxford Playhouse

Sign Dance Collective: But Beautiful

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

Arts and Disability Ireland: Face On

Joe McConnell reviews Face On, a new disability arts reader, published by Arts and Disability Ireland

Kaite O'Reilly: Beyond Victims and Villains

Kaite O'Reilly reviews a groundbreaking collection of Contemporary Plays by Disabled Playwrights

Danny Start: To Be Continued...

Peter Street reviews a script-in-hand performance at the Bolton Octagon March 2007

Henri Matisse: Drawing with Scissors. Late Works 1950-1954

Colin Hambrook reviews a touring exhibition by one of the most important French painters of the 20th century

Caroline Cardus: The Way Ahead

Natalie Andrews from Dada-South writes about the touring exhibition Way Ahead.

Review: Ryan Gander: Is this guilt in you too? (Cinema Verso)

David Watson reviews Ryan Gander's contribution to Full Circle Arts' 'Adjustments' season, on show at Old Whitechapel Library, 14 October to 5 November 2006.

Paul Cade: Light Being

Colin Hambrook looks at Paul Cade's Light Beingwithin the context of disability arts.

Liberty Festival 2004

London's Disability Rights Festival, reviewed by Colin Hambrook

On The Next Level: Space Between

Tony Heaton reviews this wide-ranging, exploratory exhibition, which has been touring the south-west.

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.

Ryan Knighton: Cockeyed

Kaite O'Reilly reviews a memoir by Ryan Knighton

Extant: Effing & Blinding Cabaret

Extant's latest production at Rich Mix, which met with acclaim when it ran in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August 2008

Aaron Williamson: Performance, Video, Collaboration

Colin Hambrook reviews the rise of Aaron Williamson as performance and video artist over the last eight years; as documented in a recent publication produced by The Live Art Development Agency.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

A BBC Radio Drama, North production, developed in association with Graeae Theatre Company. Review by Colin Hambrook.

Rachel Gadsden: Whispers from the past

Rachel Gadsden was appointed to be the first Artist in Residence at Hampton Court Palace In November 2007. Rachel has been uncovering stories trapped within the fibre of the building over the past year.

Dada-South @ DadaFest International 2008

Dada-South bursary winners sampled the rich and diverse programme of events at DaDaFest International 2008 and were invited to report back in a range of ways.

Art and Power: transformARTive

Kate Cotton talks to art + power about their programme for supporting artists' professional development On the eve of their tenth anniversary art + power showed their latest exhibition, transformARTive at the Grant Bradley Gallery, in their hometown of

Holton Lee: Light

 

Esther Appleyard: A Series of Lines

 

Nabil Shaban: The First To Go

Robert Softley reviews Nabil Shaban's play about the holocaust

Ju Gosling: Abnormal

Joe McConnell reviews Ju Gosling's recent exhibition culminating from her residency with the National Institute of Medical Research

Static by Graeae Theatre Company

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

In Touch with Art: Conference on Art, Museums and Visual Impairment

Liz Porter attends an International Conference on Art, Museums and Visual Impairment held November 2007 at the V&A, London

Laurence Clarke: 12% Evil

Tanya Raabe reviews Laurence Clark sizing himself up to find out just how evil he can be

Liz Carr: It Hasn’t Happened Yet

Liz Carr is taking disability comedy to new boundaries with her latest show

Djamu: Cornwall Festival of Disability Arts

Graham Lewis reviews Equata's festival of disability arts

The Studio Project: Intoart

Tim Hayton investigates a project based in South London set up to support artists who have no access to mainstream art education

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.

Review: High Wyrrd 2008

An international showcase of disability, deaf and inclusive arts companies from around the globe took to the streets of High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire between 19 - 21 September 2008.

Paralympic Handover day

Liz Porter relived some memories at the Paralympic Handover event at Stoke Mandeville on 17 September 2008

Graham Lewis

Some lively new work is on show as part of the St Ives September Festival

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.

Review: Living Where the Nights Jive anthology by Disability Arts Cymru

Liz Porter reviews Maggie Hampton's anthology of the life stories of ten disabled women engaged in the arts; written in their words. 'Living Where the Night’s Jive' was supported by the Welsh Books Council and has been published by Parthian Books.

Review: Simon Mckeown's digital artwork 'Motion Disabled'

Colin Hambrook went up to Wolverhampton Art Gallery to see a new exhibition by Simon Mckeown

Review: Peter Street: Thumbing from Lipik to Pakrac

Matt Simpson reviews the latest collection of poetry by Peter Street

Review: Deafinitely Theatre present Double Sentence

Melissa Mostyn caught Deafinitely Theatre's preview of Double Sentence, at Ovalhouse Theatre, London on 9th and 10th January 2009

Review: Deaf Arts Network presents Tools of Communication

Melissa Mostyn reviews the work and examines the challenges faced by Deaf artists seeking to forge careers in the hearing world

15mm Films: The Way Out

Bonny Cummins reviews 15mm films new commissioned film 'The Way Out'

Review: Mind the Gap Theatre Company present Boo

Adapted from Harper Lee's 'To Kill a Mocking Bird', Mind the Gap bring their latest production to Oval House Theatre, London

Review: Bobby Baker’s Diary Drawings: Mental Illness and Me 1997-2008

David Watson reviews Bobby Baker's exhibition and accepts a helpline information sheet on the way in

Review: Back to Back Theatre present Small Metal Objects

Kate Cotton feels mesmerised by an Australian theatre company's performance in a Bristol shopping centre

Review: Graeae Theatre Company present Against the Tide

Kate Larsen was washed away by Graeae Theatre Company and Strange Fruits' performance at Greenwich + Docklands International Festival in June 2009

Review: Greenwich and Docklands International Festival 2009

Liz Porter reflects on the programming of deaf and disabled artists at the Greenwich and Docklands International Festival 2009

Review: Liz Crow at centre stage on Antony Gormley's Fourth Plinth

Allan Sutherland reviews Liz Crow's performance as part of Antony Gormley’s ‘One & Other’ on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square.

Review: 'Outside In' at Pallant House by Colin Hambrook

Colin Hambrook revels in a show that puts outsider art centre stage in the delightful setting of Pallant House in Chichester. More than 500 artists sent over 800 works in to the show, with 150 selected for display. As the show opened, six prize winners were announced from the displayed entries.

Review: Adam Hills' Inflatable at the Edinburgh Fringe 2009

Jo Verrent reviews stand-up comic Adam Hill at the Edinburgh Fringe, where he is playing at the Assembly Rooms in George Street, until 31 August. Sunday performances are interpreted.

Review: Russell Jones presents Unleashed

Colin Hambrook reviews Unleashed - an exhibition of paintings by Russell Jones presented by Creative Future at Brighton Media Centre Gallery July 2009

Review: Disability Action in Islington's 'Regular Freak Show'

Kate Larsen reflects on a screening of Richard Butchins' documentary 'The Last American Freak Show', followed by a live performance from London's raw and edgy punk rock band Unity & DeVision at O2 Academy, Islington, London on 26 August 2009.

Review: Rachel High and Julie McNamara star in Steak and Chelsea Out to Lunch

Kate Larsen caught a one-night only performance of a collaboration between Rachel High and Julie McNamara, at Brady Arts Centre, London on 2 September 2009

Decibel 09 review: No Idea by Lisa Hammond and Rachael Spence

Kathryn Braithwaite reviews an innovative idea for a show all about approaching a random member of the public and asking them to go to your workplace and fill in for the day.

Decibel 09 review: first day of the performing arts showcase in Manchester

Dao is covering the decibel09 showcase in Manchester with a small team of volunteer writers and snappers. Jon Pratty reports on what he liked on the first decibel09 day!

Decibel 09 review: Day two - the march of the bunnies!

Jon Pratty went to Arts Council England's lively Decibel 2009 performing arts showcase - and saw a feast of dance, live art and some great music.

Decibel 09 review: Fight Face by Tin Bath Theatre Company

Jo Verrent went to see Fight Face - performed by Tin Bath - with Sophie Woolley and Nick Khan.

Decibel 09 review: Leadership Lounge

Jo Verrent attended a decibel09 event at Manchester Town Hall to discuss issues around leadership among disabled people

Decibel 09 review: The Fish Police

Jo Verrent sees The Fish Police rock the decibel09 performing arts showcase at Contact Theatre, Manchester

Decibel09 review: Metallicum by Anya Ustaszewski

Sarah Pickthall reviews Composer/Sonic Artist Anya Ustaszewski’s showcase of 'Metallicum' - a work in progress.

Decibel09 review: Jo Bannon pitches Claim to Fame

Sarah Pickthall reviews Jo Bannon’s ‘pitch’, for her latest work 'Claim to Fame'

Review: D.Vercity European Disability Arts and Culture Festival 2009

Disability arts went to Preston and Lancaster from 24 August - 6 September 2009. Peter Street caught some of the festival.

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: Jon Adams - the Goose on the Hill

Colin Hambrook caught up with the opening of the ‘goose’ and offers his impressions of Jon Adams retrospective on show at Pallant House Gallery from 13 October – 22 November 2009

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: Miroslaw Balka's How It Is at Tate Modern - how it was for one visually impaired art lover

Miroslaw Balka's installation at Tate Modern came with a certain amount of hype and, as I am registered blind, I was curious how I would experience it. I do have some useful vision, but absolutely zero night vision, so this was going to be interesting...

Review: Cast Offs - Skins plus Shameless plus Disability equals what?

Colin Hambrook sees Cast Offs, C4's challenging new comedy drama marooning six disabled actors on a reality-show remote island. Written by the team behind Skins and Shameless, Cast Offs starts 24 November.

Review: Staff Benda Bilili start a dance revolution at the Dome, Brighton

On the second night of their first UK tour, Congolese street musicians Staff Benda Bilili nearly start a riot in Brighton as they infect gig-goers with the dance vibe

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: Oska Bright 4th International Film Festival 2009

Colin Hambrook catches the best of Oska Bright 2005 and 2007, plus some of the best of submissions from London and the South East on the first day of the film festival at the Old Market Arts Centre, Hove

Review: DadaFest09 - the Magic Hour at FACT.

Susan Bennett reviews The Magic Hour, a compilation of short stories by five different directors, each with a disability. The film, produced by leading producers, 104 Films, showed at FACT in Liverpool as part of DaDaFest09.

Review: Oska Bright Film Festival - The Big Awards Night

The amazing Oska Bright International Film Festival in Hove - which had over 200 entries this year - ended with a final fling of celebration, partying and the presentation of awards to winning film-makers.

Review: Animation at Oska Bright Film Festival 2009

Sarah Pickthall enjoys sheltering from a stormy, windy afternoon watching the latest animation work at Oska Bright 2009 in Hove

Review: DaDaFest 2009 - Kevin Connolly's Rolling Exhibition at Open Eye Gallery

Susan Bennett braves the weather to search for a major show - The Rolling Exhibition - by Kevin Connolly at Open Eye Gallery, part of DaDaFest 2009 in Liverpool

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 - Resistance by Liz Crow

Susan Bennett sees Resistance at the Contemporary Urban Centre, Liverpool. On now, until 5 December 2009.

Review: DaDaFest 2009 - Sally Booth at The Bluecoat

Sally Booth received the Adam Reynolds Memorial Bursary in 2008. A series of light boxes inspired by her subsequent residency at the Bluecoat, Liverpool is on show there until 5 December 2009. Susan Bennett visited.

Review: DaDaFest 2009 - Young DaDaFest at the World Museum Liverpool

Young DaDaFest is an exhibition of artworks on show at World Museum Liverpool until December 5 2009. Susan Bennett visited.

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: DaDaFest09 - DaDaNoise at the Bluecoat, Liverpool

Billed as a 'fusion of local musicians, performance art and songs...a night where anything goes,' DaDaNoise took over The Bluecoat, Liverpool on 28 November 2009.

Review: Climbing Mountains in the Dark by Cate Jacobs

Colin Hambrook gives a personal response to a recently published collection of poems by Cate Jacobs titled 'Climbing Mountains in the Dark'

Review: 100 Artists for World Aids Day, Sussex Beacon, Brighton

100 Artists took part in an exhibition to raise money for the Sussex Beacon, at Concorde 2, Brighton on Saturday 29 November 2009. One of the artists, Bonny Cummins, gives a personal response to an emotional day.

Review: Rita Marcalo's 'Involuntary Dances'

Jo Verrent witnesses Rita Marcalo's performance at Bradford Playhouse on 12 December 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: Wings are Giving Out by Sean Burn

Wings are Giving Out is Sean Burn’s third full length collection from Skrev Press. Colin Hambrook reviews the latest collection from one of the UKs foremost experimental writers.

Review: Caroline Cardus sees How to Look Good Naked... with a Difference

Caroline Cardus reflects on the issues raised by Gok Wan's latest Channel 4 series - ‘How To Look Good Naked… with a Difference

Review: Billy Childish - Unknowable but Certain at the ICA, London

The Institute of Contemporary Arts exhibits Billy Childish's first major retrospective of work in London, bringing together a cross-section of works from the artists career as a musician, artist, novelist, film maker and poet. Colin Hambrook reviews the show by this talented, infamous artist.

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: DIY Theatre Company - In Other Words at Salford Arts Theatre

DIY Theatre Company showcased their latest performance 'In Other Words' at Salford Arts Theatre on 24 March. New dao writer Harry Matthews went along to the performance to assess how DIY challenge stereotypes with their work.

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: Polar Bears by Mark Haddon

Mark Haddon approaches disability from another angle with his stage-writing debut, Polar Bears. Kate Larsen critiques his new play - on at the Donmar Warehouse, London until 22 May 2010.

Review: Bernadette Cremin performs Altered Egos

Award-winning poet Bernadette Cremin crafts work from her three collections into a series of six monologues of women who have "catwalked and crawled" out of her poetry. Colin Hambrook caught the opening performance in an inaccessible dive in the Brighton Fringe.

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: Contemporary Art from Iraq at Cornerhouse, Manchester

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

Review: Face Front present Counting the Ways

Face Front and the European Art Company present the simple story of a couple facing the concerns and many facets of their relationship - is it absurd or real life? Kate Larsen reviews her 'loves' and 'love nots.'

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

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

Review: Are you having a laugh? TV and Disability

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

Review: DaDaFest International 2010

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

Review: The House of Vernacular

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

Review: The Silence? A faint discord, more like

Melissa Mostyn-Thomas finds much to be desired in the BBC drama’s exploration of Deaf issues

Review: Mental: A History of the Madhouse

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

Review: Access All Areas

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

Review: 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: Bruce Davies exhibition: WASTE/LAND/PROCESS

Colin Hambrook meets Land Artist Bruce Davies in the middle of a residency that involves using waste from the heathland at Holton Lee - on show at Faith House until 8 April.

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

Review: The Great Wall of Vagina by Jamie McCartney

Sue Kent reviews The Great Wall of Vagina - a series of panels using moulds taken directly from the body to produce sculpture - on show from 6 - 31 May 2011 at Jamie McCartney Sculpture Studios, 7 Ship Street Gardens, Brighton, as part of the Brighton Fringe Festival.

Review: Resistance; Which Way the Future

Debbe Caulfield and three disabled friends saw Liz Crow’s 'Resistance; Which Way the Future' at The Brewhouse Theatre & Arts Centre in Taunton on 12th and 29 March 2011. It made them think…

Review: RippleFest

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

Book review: The Shaking Woman by Siri Hustvedt

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

Review: 'Labyrinth of Living Exhibits'

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

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

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

Review: Up-Stream

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

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

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

Review: The Times Cheltenham Science Festival

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

Preview: The End by film-maker Ted Evans

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

Review: Outside In Launch

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

Review: Nick Blinko's 'Visions of Pope Adrian 37th'

Colin Hambrook got a magnifying glass out to see Nick Blinko's fantastical 'Visions of Pope Adrian 37th' on show at Pallant House Gallery, Chichester until 14 August 2011.

Review: Longcare Survivors: Biography of a Care Scandal

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

Reviews: The 5th decibel Performing Arts Showcase

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

Liberty 2011: London's Disability Arts Festival

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

Review: Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2011

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

Review: Vital Xposure presents The Knitting Circle

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

Review: Diary Drawings: Mental Illness and Me by Bobby Baker

John O'Donoghue reviews Bobby Baker’s award-winning book of 158 diary drawings, which give a record of the artist's dealings with mental health services, coping with breast cancer, and her struggle to get the treatment she felt she needed.

Review: Bobby Baker - Mad Gyms and Kitchens

Joe McConnell reviews Bobby Baker's new touring performance piece

Review: Channel 4's 'Seven Dwarves'

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

Review: Dementia Diaries by Maria Jastrzebska

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

Review: Alf Wiltshire

John O'Donoghue reviews the work of Outsider Artist Alf Wiltshire and discovers a gentle humour in the poems, text art and paintings of a prolific artist.

Review: The View From Here

Trish Wheatley reviews an exhibition featuring works by Martin Bruch, Juan delGado, Aidan Moesby and an intervention by DAO blogger Gini, currently on show at Salisbury Arts Centre, as part of the Re-Imagining Exhibitions programme.

Review: Oska Bright Film Festival 2011

Colin Hambrook reviews Oska Bright 2011 - the international film festival of short films by people with a learning disability, which took place in Brighton's Corn Exchange from 22-24 November 2011

Review: William Blake Largactyl Shuffle

CoolTan Arts’ Largactyl Shuffle group staged an enjoyable and successful walk, exploring the life and work of William Blake, in a unique guided cultural tour starting at Tate Modern, ending at Bunhill Cemetery.

Review: ‘Defying Definitions: disability arts in the mainstream’

Alan McLean attends a thought-provoking symposium produced by DaSH, at the end of a series of 'Outside In' commissions. Held at the Arena Theatre Wolverhampton, on 2 December, the day explored Dash's support of work at New Art Gallery Walsall, Oriel Davies Newtown and Wolverhampton Art Gallery.

Review: Fresh with Cando2 Youth Dance Company

Cando2 performed a site specific dance piece - as part of FRESH - an event showcasing extracts from some of the UK’s best youth and professional dance companies hits of 2011. Sophie Partridge gives a danger warning after her attendance at the event at the Place in London on 3 December.

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: Edward Burra Retrospective at Pallant House Gallery

The first major exhibition for 25 years of the highly individual work of the popular British artist Edward Burra (1905–1976) is on show at Pallant House Gallery, Chichester until 19th February 2012. Colin Hambrook reviews the life and works of this exceptional watercolourist who documented significant moments in the second half of the 20th century.

Infinitas Gracias: Mexican Miracle Paintings

Infinitas Gracias: Mexican miracle paintings is on show at the Wellcome Collection, London until 26 February 2012. DAO New Voices writer Obi Chiejina explores the mystery behind this exhibition of votive paintings.

Unsilenced Voices: Romani Voices

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

Review: Rubix and Elephant - spoken word

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

Review: Mike Leigh's play 'Grief'

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

Review: Pathways to the Profession Symposium

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

Review: Signs for Sounds: Contemporary Letterforming and Calligraphy

'Signs for Sounds' explores the contemporary practice of letter-forming from traditional calligraphy to the use of digital technologies and performance art. Obi Chiejina saw the Harley Gallery Touring Exhibition curated by Jeremy Theophilus, at the Bilston Craft Gallery, Wolverhampton.

Review: Kulunka Teatro's 'Andre & Dorine

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

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

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

Preview: Deaf Teens in a Hearing World, BBC3

On Monday 6th February, BBC3 are broadcasting a brand-new documentary about five deaf teenagers taking their first steps in the hearing world. Charlie Swinbourne previews the film.

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

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

Preview: Graeae’s Reasons To Be Cheerful

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

Review: An Instinct for Kindness

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

Review: 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: Lucian Freud Portraits

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

Review: 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: The Optimism Bias - a talk at the Southbank Centre by author Tali Sharot

Tali Sharot is a rising star at U.C.L.'s department of Cognitive, Perceptual and Brain Sciences. Her book 'The Optimism Bias' came out to great interest and rave reviews. Subtitled "a tour of the irrationally positive brain," Sharot's talk at The Southbank Centre on 15 February, was a tour of a tour. Nicole Fordham Hodges went along for the ride.

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

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

Review: Launching Rockets Never Gets Old

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

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

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

Review: Picasso and Modern British Art

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

Review: Ceramic Impressions/ British Dental Association

The ceramic artist Judy DiBase extracted dental exhibits from the British Dental Museum to produce a series of quirky ceramic 'memories' for the temporary exhibition 'Ceramic Impressions'. Obi Chiejina explores the use of these extracted dental exhibits and their ceramic responses as forms of human communication, artistic expression and interpretation for the museum visitor. The exhibition runs at the BDA Museum until 24 May.

Review: The Man Who Lived Twice by Birds of Paradise

The Man Who Lived Twice opened in Glasgow last week. The new play, performed by Birds of Pardise and written by Garry Robson put Paul F Cockburn in mind of Nancy Sinatra's famous ditty.

Review: Jacob Bell and the Artists/Royal Pharmaceutical Society

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

Review: SELECT EDIT: PUBLIC PRIVATE

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

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

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

Review: 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: Ardent Hare present First Impressions - a Go Public commission

Deborah Caulfield just about found her way to New Bucks University, High Wycombe on 16 March 2012, for Zoe Partington's 'First Impressions' - a film installation about accessing the urban environment, from a blind person's perspective

Review: Cooltan Arts: Women of Dickens exhibition

'Women of Dickens', an exhibition of art, poetry and textiles, was launched on March 14th at CoolTan Arts, with a series of workshops and a poetry reading. Nicole Fordham-Hodges went along, and discovered a secret code.

Review: We Won’t Drop The Baby

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

Review: Robert Softley presents If These Spasms Could Speak

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

Review: Extant present Sheer

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

Review: Deafinitely Theatre present Gold Dust

Deafinitely Theatre's new production Gold Dust, written by Andrew Muir and based on the stories of the deaf community in the Black Country, plays at Soho Theatre, London from 28 - 31 March. Writing from his experience as a family man, Charlie Swinbourne recommends the companies latest excursion into themes that inform deaf culture

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

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

Review: 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: Liz Porter reflects on Carousel's inaugural performance of Gold Run

In celebration of Carousel’s 30th birthday, the organisation have teamed up with the music education department at Glyndebourne and artists from the Pallant House ‘Outside In’ project to create a new Cultural Olympiad show that tells the story of the special Olympics through song, film, music and visual arts.

Review: Laurence Clark: Health Hazard

Health Hazard is a touring comedy show that compares the state of health-care in the UK and the US. Richard Downes saw Laurence Clark's performance at Dugdale Centre, Enfield, 19th April 2012.

Review: SignDance Collective perform 'New Gold' and 'Half a Penny'

Elizabeth Ward reviews a double bill of the latest from SignDance Collective, currently playing at Croydon's Warehouse Theatre as part of the Cultural Olympiad.

Review: Shape Open

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

Review: Unlimited - Ramesh Meyyappan presents Snails & Ketchup

Based on a novel by Italo Calvino, Ramesh Meyyappan's touring production, Snails & Ketchup, explores dependance and independence. Paul F Cockburn reviews this Unlimited commission, produced as part of the Cultural Olympiad.

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: The Hunterian Museum present Anatomize

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

Review: Hang Ups starring Sophie Partridge

Free as a bird to write what he likes Richard Downes chooses to review Hang Ups a film about fellow aerialists Tina Carter and writer Sophie Partridge

Review: My Song: a film about inclusion and exclusion

My Song follows Ellen, a young deaf girl stuck in the middle of the deaf and hearing worlds. Scripted by Charlie Swinbourne and directed by William Mager, DAO writer Richard Downes examines the themes of inclusion and exclusion and finds parallels from his own experience.

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

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

Review: Unlimited - DaSH's M21 Live Art Festival

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

Review: Tales From The Other Side by Christopher Ejsmond

Dave Russell reviews Tales From The Other Side, by Christopher Ejsmond - a collection of ninety poems focussing on the author’s experience of mental distress and his journey of self-awareness and recovery.

Review: Abnormally Funny People

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

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

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

Review: Love's Labour's Lost Performed in BSL by Deafinitely Theatre

Charlie Swinbourne reviews this BSL performance, part of The Globe Theatre's Globe to Globe season

Review: Don't You Forget About Me - InMind at the RA

The Royal Academy extends its innovative InMind programme into 2012 and proves, in Marian Cleary's opinion, that audience engagement and community participation can go hand in hand

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

Preview: One Morning In May - Noëmi Lakmaier

If you are in the City of London today (28 May), you will get a chance to see Disability Art in action as Noëmi Lakmaier makes her way from Toynbee Studios heading towards the City of London and one of London's most iconic buildings, The Gherkin... on her hands and knees.

Unlimited Review: Fittings - The Ugly Spirit at Square Chapel, Halifax

Jo Verrent reviews The Ugly Spirit, an Unlimited commission, performed by Fittings, and she is left not at all sure of anything anymore

Review: Abnormally Funny People

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

Review: Amadou and Mariam

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

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

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

Review: 2Heavy Productions present Blue/Orange

Deborah Caulfield explores the range of emotions and breadth of ideas in 2Heavy Productions' Blue/Orange and finds it depressingly believable yet unexpectedly energising.

Review: Outside Spaces at Southbank's Festival of the World

At the launch of the Southbank Centre's Festival of the World the waiting press smile at a tree festooned with colourful balloons and Nicole Fordham Hodges is smiling too

Review: Hayward Gallery presents Invisible – Art of the Unseen 1957-2012

The first UK Exhibition of artworks to explore the invisible, the hidden and the unknown is at the Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre until 5 August. Nicole Fordham Hodges went to look for the unseeable

Review: Deaffest 2012

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

Review: 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: Graeae present Prometheus Awakes

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

Review: Unlimited: Janice Parker presents Private Dancer

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

Review: Unlimited: Jez Colborne's Irresistible - Call of the Sirens can be heard whatever the weather

Jo Verrent is left with the desire to hear more and more of Jez Colborne in collaboration with Mind the Gap in the future, despite having had her dream dashed to see them perform in the wilds on Ilkley Moor

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: Unlimited: Rachel Gadsden's Unlimited Global Alchemy

Rachel Gadsden's Unlimited Global Alchemy is on show at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Cambridge until 21 August. Ann Young looks into other lives and finds her own experiences shining back

Review: Yoko Ono 'To The Light'

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

Review: Greenwich + Docklands International Festival 2012

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

Review: Unlimited: Sue Austin creating 'Creating the Spectacle!' at the Fleet, Dorset

Another of the Unlimited commissions got a public outing on 27 June when Sue Austin - whose work, ‘Creating the Spectacle!’, will be enacted in its entirety on 29 August and filmed for showing at the London 2012 Festival in September - showed off the wheelchair which is the star of the show and her vehicle to another world. Gini went along to soak up the atmosphere

Review: the British Paraorchestra

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

Review: Unlimited: Chris Tally-Evans presents 'Turning Points'

Chris Tally-Evans, Unlimited commission 'Turning Points' explores the moment when people's lives change forever. Sara Mackay from Disability Arts Cymru, reviews the film, which showed at Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff on 27 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: Priceless London Wonderground present Cantina

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

Unlimited: Review: Macropolis at Belfast City Hall Big Screen

Mic Wright experiences some sunshine on a rainy day courtesy of the premiere of Joel Simon’s Unlimited commission, Macropolis, and BBC’s Big Screen in Belfast City Square

Review: Niet Normaal: Difference on Display

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

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

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

Review: Edvard Munch: The Modern Eye at Tate Modern

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

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

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

Review: The Festival of the World Museum at the Southbank Centre

At the same time as London's Southbank Centre prepares to showcase the 29 Unlimited commissions by disabled and deaf artists, located at Spirit Level on Level 1 of Royal Festival Hall is the Festival of the World Museum, which displays a few prominent moments from the history of Disability Arts.

Review: Battle for the Winds with Breathe at Weymouth live site

The impressive Olympic live site on Weymouth beach provided the setting for the culmination of Battle for the Winds incorporating the Unlimited commission Breathe. The large-scale outdoor performance took place on 28th of July to mark the beginning of the sailing events at the stunning Dorset location.

Review: Road to 2012: Aiming High

Nicole Fordham Hodges visits the National Portrait Gallery's exhibition following its biggest ever photographic commission.

Review: Youth Dance England’s 'U Dance 2012'

Richard Downes popped in to see U.Dance 2012, Youth Dance England’s flagship event. Showcasing some of the best young dance groups from across the UK, the event took place between 13-15 July at Cecil Sharp House, London.

Review: New Music 20x12 at the Southbank Centre

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

Review: 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: Mark Ware's 'Cathedra 900' at Exeter Cathedral

Kate Cotton experienced the preview of Cathedra 900: a 3D banner exhibition by Mark Ware, in the nave of Exeter Cathedral until 31 August

Review: Superhuman at the Wellcome Trust

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

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

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

Review: Unlimited: Claire Cunningham presents Ménage à Trois

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

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

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

Review: Aylesbury Paralympic Flame Celebration

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

Review: Fairport’s Cropredy Festival 2012

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

Review: 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: Chris Tally Evans' Turning Points

William BR Jeremy watches six epic stories told via a nine minute film which asks and answers central questions about living and leading our lives with determination and defiance

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: Sinéad O'Donnell's 'CAUTION'

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

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

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

Review: Unlimited: The Garden

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

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

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

Review: Unlimited Global Alchemy: Rachel Gadsden and the Bambanini

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

Review: 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: Celebrating The Legacy of Woody Guthrie

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

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

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

Review: The Robin Hood Book: 131 Poets in Support of a Robin Hood Tax

As disabled people face unprecedented levels of hate crime and denigration in the press John O’Donoghue – with the help of The Robin Hood Book by Alan Morrison, to which he was a contributor – reckons there is an alternative.

Review: Rosaleen McDonagh's ‘Mainstream’

Colin Cameron responds to a rehearsed reading of Rosaleen McDonagh’s ‘Mainstream’ held at The Projects Arts Centre, Dublin on 13 October to discover a play that gives insight into disabled people's experience of oppression

Review: Karamel Gallery presents I Am An Artist

Karamel Gallery in North London, plays host to an art exhibition produced with a group of people with learning difficulties. The students from Area 51 further education college were engaged in painting portraits of their favourite competitors. Richard Downes happened along and sent in the following review.

Review: Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers

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

Review: Outside In: National 2012

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

Review: Changing Lives, Changing Times

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

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

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

Preview: Lets Make History Together 2012



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

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

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

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

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

Review: Hijinx Theatre present The Adventures of Sancho Panza

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

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

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

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

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

Review: Together 2012 Festival Launched


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

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

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

Review: Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet

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

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

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

Review: Together 2012: 

Open Poetry Workshop with CoolTan Arts

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

Review: One World: Conference on the UN Convention on the Rights of Disabled People

Richard Downes explores the parallels between art, sport and recreation. Hosted by Together 2012! Festival, the UK Disabled Peoples' Council's conference took place at St John's Church, Stratford, London on 3 December, International Day of Disabled People


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: The Lowry present Arabian Nights

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

Review: CoolTan Arts: 'The Winter Edition'

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

Review: ActOne ArtsBase present A Sense of Beauty

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

Review: Together 2012: End Of Festival Party

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

Review: Shape present 'Perceptions Of Balance'

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

Review: Fox Searchlight Pictures present 'The Sessions'

There has been a surge of documentaries and films in recent times which claim to be exposing taboos about disabled people. The Sessions is the latest in a list including 'Rust and Bone' and 'The Undateables'. Most seem to be exploitative, narcissistic and made with the able-bodied gaze says Rosaleen McDonagh

Review: DASH and Live Art Development Agency present M21: From the Medieval to the 21st Century

On 24 January, Toynbee Studios in East London saw the launch of a joint Dash, Live Art Development Agency publication: ‘M21: from the Medieval to the 21st Century'. Several disabled artists commissioned through the Unlimited programme were there to talk about their experience. Richard Downes reports.

Review: Improbable Theatre: Devoted & Disgruntled 2013

Liz Porter reflects on Improbable Theatre’s Devoted & Disgruntled Open Space event, inviting theatre practitioners and venues to talk about prioritising access at Unicorn Theatre in London, January 2013

Review: Light Show at the Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre

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

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

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

Review: TransAction Theatre present dIRTy

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

Review: 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 Under Observation

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

Review: SICK! Festival presents Jochem Stavenuiter's Eleonora

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Review: Vital Xposure presents The Knitting Circle

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

Review: COnscription by Caglar Kimyoncu

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

Review: The Angina Monologue by Doug Devaney

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

Review: Souzou: Outsider Art from Japan at the Wellcome Collection, London

The first major display of Japanese Outsider Art in the UK is showing at the Wellcome Collection until 30 June. The 46 artists represented are residents and day attendees in social welfare institutions across Japan. Nicole Fordham Hodges went to see and experience the power which is 'Souzou'. 

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

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

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

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

Review: Don't Wake Me: The Ballad of Nihal Armstrong

'Don't Wake Me ' is a mother's love song for her disabled son, starring the superb Jaye Griffiths. Nicole Fordham Hodges went to see it at the Cockpit Theatre.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Review: DaDaFest On Tour: Young DaDaFest 2013

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

Review: Short Circuit: When Disability And Digital Collide

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

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

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

Overview: Common Pulse: Intersecting Abilities

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

Review: Day Six: When Motherhood and Madness Collide

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

Review: The Shape Open 2013: Disability Re-assessed

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

Review: The Spark: Creative Future Literary Award Winners

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

Review: DYSPLA Festival 2013

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

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

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

Review: Oska Bright Film Festival 2013

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

Review: BBC One's Ripper Street

Sophie Partridge reviews 'Am I Not Monstrous?' - episode 2 of the BBC One murder mystery drama Ripper Street, which features a fictionalised account of Joseph Merrick 'The Elephant Man' 

Review: Hastings Storytelling Festival: The Velvet Curtain

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

Review: BBC Imagine: Turning the Art World Inside Out

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

Review: Together 2013

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

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.

Extraordinary Change: Engage International Conference 2013

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


 

Review: Knitting Time by Colin Hambrook

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Review: Stopgap Dance Company tours Artificial Things

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

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

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

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

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

Review: Signdance Collective International get all shook up with Bad Elvis

Salford University hosted Signdance Collective's performance of Bad Elvis on 21st March. Peter Street went along to see the companies brand of sign-musical theatre at its very best.

Review: Sky One: The Smoke

Sky's television drama series The Smoke presents a central disabled child character played by disabled actress Eve Smith. Having received accolades by the critics, Ju Gosling reviews the role of Grace from a disability perspective

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

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

Review: Graeae and Circo Crescer e Viver present Belonging

Earlier this month Graeae joined forces with Circo Crescer e Viver at the Roundhouse in Camden for a short run of a new circus-based piece of work ‘Belonging’ as part of the Roundhouse Circus Fest. Review by Liz Porter

Review: ‘Ivor Gurney: The Poet Who Loved the War’, BBC4

This BBC 4 documentary, shown on 4th April, tells the remarkable story of the First World War soldier-poet who broke all the rules. Ivor Gurney wasn't an officer but a private who initially joined up in the hope that the ordered army life would help ease a mental health condition. Review by Emmeline Burdett

Review: The Norwich Dandies present Dandifest!

The first ‘official’ Dandifest event by the Norwich Dandies exploded into colour in St Margaret’s Church of Art on 28 April. Ann Young took part and came away with this review

Review: Extant present The Chairs

Extant, the UKs only theatre company of visually impaired professionals has been touring with a production of Ionescu's classic Absurdist drama, The Chairs. Colin Hambrook saw the show at the Albany, Deptford

Review: CoolTan Arts Largactyl Shuffle @ Science Museum LATES launch

Wendy Young went to the launch of ‘CoolTan Arts Stays Up, LATES’, a collaborative book and DVD on mental health heritage, held at The Science Museum’s Dana Centre in South Kensington. The publication is the finale of a year long HLF funded project in which CoolTan Arts Largactyl Shuffle volunteers researched and led a series of guided gallery tours at The Science Museum’s popular ‘Lates’ evening events.

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: Poet in the City: Poetry and Sign

Poetry and Sign was a unique event exploring the relationship between sign language, spoken poetry and dance, which took place at King's Place in central London on 15th May. Review by Melissa Mostyn

Review: Cooltan Arts and Artangel: On Our Way Here

On Our Way Here was the first in a series of four talks to accompany an exciting collaboration between CoolTan Arts and Artangel, held at The Type Museum. Review by Wendy Young

Review: Matisse Cut Outs | Tate Modern, London

The Matisse Cut Outs on show until 7 September 2014 at Tate Modern dazzles and delights in equal measure says Deborah Caulfield

Review: Pangaea: New Art from Africa and Latin America at Saatchi Gallery

The ‘Pangaea’ exhibition, running until 2nd November, offers visitors a variety of mixed media paintings and sculpture from Africa and Latin America. Jessie Woodward offers a review of access within the Saatchi Gallery, London

Review: Eye Queue Hear by Access All Areas

Bella Todd reviews the innovative audio-tour performance at Brighton Fringe from Access All Areas. 

Review: Katherine Araniello & Jenna Finch: Screw the Taboo

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

 

 

Review: New Shape Gallery at Westfield Shopping Centre

Allan Sutherland reviews Shape's new popup gallery at Westfield Shopping Centre in Stratford.

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: Penny Pepper: Lost in Spaces at DAiSY Fest

Dressed to seduce Penny Pepper packs a punch, joined on stage with Jo-anne Cox on mellow cello in the Bellerby Studio at the DAiSY Fest on 4 June. Review by Wendy Young

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

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

Review: 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: Allan Sutherland: Neglected Voices at DAiSY Fest 2014

On the same bill as Penny Pepper at DAiSY Fest on 4 June was veteran disability arts performer Allan Sutherland (author of the groundbreaking Disabled We Stand 1981). In his introduction to the event Dao editor Colin Hambrook, described his mission to present art as a tool to counter prejudice. Review by Wendy Young

Review: SenseAbility: Peter White on inclusion in the arts

Peter White, reknowned BBC correspondent and editor of Radio 4’s In Touch, rounded off ‘SenseAbility’ - a successful four-day event from 10-13 June, at the Pound Arts Centre in Corsham, Wiltshire. Organized by Tanvir Bush in partnership with Bath Spa University, SenseAbility explored inclusion in the arts. Review by Emmeline Burdett

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

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

Review: Shape Gallery: Shortlist 6

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

Review: DaDaFest: Working Lives: Here & There

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

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

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

Review: Jez Colborne: GIFT at the Southbank Centre

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

Review: Owen Lowery: Otherwise Unchanged

Unlimited is supporting a reading tour of Owen Lowery’s first major poetry collection, Otherwise Unchanged, published with the major literary publishing house, Carcanet. The inspiration for the book is as wide-ranging as the poems that it includes, with work drawn from everyday experiences of love, life, and disability, and others that owe their inspiration to myriad literary and artistic interests. Simon Jenner reviews

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

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

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

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

Review: Liberty 2014

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

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

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

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

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

Review: Unlimited 2014: Lea Cummings: ‘Cosmic fields of endless possibilities’

Nina Muehlemann allows herself to fall under the colourful spell of Lea Cummings’ ‘Cosmic fields of endless possibilities’. The Royal Festival Hall’s Spirit Level foyer features magical looking paintings that were produced in a ‘meditative state’.

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: Michelle Ryan & Torque: Intimacy

In a funny, moving dance-theatre piece, staged in the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Michelle Ryan shares her most private thoughts and feelings in a collaboration with theatre-makers Torque Show and a live score by Lavender Vs Rose. Review by Amardeep Sohi

 

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: A Celebration of Integrated Community Dance

The Unlimited celebration of Integrated Dance in the Clore Ballroom, featured seven different pieces of work from Anjali, Corali, Magpie, Slide and Stopgap Dance Companies. Review by Sophie Partridge

Review: Unlimited 2014: Stopgap Dance Company: The Awakening

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

Review: Unlimited 2014: Bekki Perriman: The Doorways Project

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Review: Unlimited 2014: Jo Bannon: Exposure

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

 

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

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

 

Review: Penny Pepper: Lost in Spaces

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

Unlimited 2014: Touretteshero: Backstage in Biscuit Land

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

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

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

Review: Actors Touring Company [ATC]: Blind Hamlet

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

Storylines: Mapping the past - a Carousel project

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

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

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

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

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

Review: Creative Minds South West one day conference

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

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

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

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

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

Review: Gobscure present Collector of Tears

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

Review: DaDaFest International 2014: Art of the Lived Experiment

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

Review: DaDaFest International 2014: The City Speaks

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

Review: Disability Arts Touring Network: Krip-Hop Nation

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

Review: Disability Arts Touring Network: The Ugly Girl

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

Review: UK Disability History Month 2014: War And Impairment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Review: Maggie Sawkins: Zones of Avoidance

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

Review: DaDaFest International 2014: Ship of Fools

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

Review: DaDaFest International 2014: Staff Benda Bilili

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

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

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

Review: DaDaFest International 2014: Art of Living the Experiment

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

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

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

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

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

Review: DaDaFest International Congress: Disability Culture and Human Rights

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

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

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

Review: Disability Arts Touring Network: The Why? Festival

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

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

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

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

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

Review: James Leadbitter: 'Madlove'

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

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

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

Review: Tate Britain Audio-Described Tour: Femme Fatale

The Tate Britain run an ongoing series of free BSL-interpreted and Audio-described tours of work in their collections. Dao sent Stephen Portlock to review an audio-described talk on Monday 19th January by Auntie Maureen, exploring artworks in the collection in terms of the archetype of the 'Femme Fatale'. 

Review: Lea Cummings: Infinite Psychic Love Explosion

Glasgow-based artist and musician Lea Cummings’ first solo exhibition is bright, vibrant, but somewhat vacuous – which may well be the point, says Paul F Cockburn.

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

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

Review: Extant Theatre: Flatland

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

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

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

Review: Shape: Shortlist 7 Exhibition

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

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

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

Review: SICK! Festival: Eric Steel: The Bridge

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

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

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

Review: Tanvi Bush ‘Witch Girl’

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

Review: Claire Cunningham: Give Me A Reason To Live

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

 

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

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

Review: Touretteshero goes Backstage to Biscuitland

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

Review: Zendeh presents Cinema

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

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

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

Review: Pulse Festival: Laura Dannequin: Hardy Animal

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

Review: Pulse Festival: Ramps on the Moon

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

Review: Birds of Paradise Theatre Company present Crazy Jane

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Review: SprungDigi Festival

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

Review: Extant:ComBUStion at Liberty 2015

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

Review: Edinburgh Festival: Graeae: The Solid Life of Sugar Water

Graeae Theatre Company presents an often harrowing tale of a cracking relationship in its first major production as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Reviewed by Paul F Cockburn.

Review: DoesLiverpool: DesktopProsthetics workshop and exhibition at FACT

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

Review: Edinburgh Festival: Jo Bannon presents Alba

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

 

Review: Edinburgh Festival: Unlimited Exhibition... Summerhall

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

Review: 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: CripFest 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Review: Short Circuit: Digital Arts Project at the Lighthouse

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

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

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

Review: FACT, Liverpool: Lesions in the Landscape

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

Review: Unlimited: Liz Carr: Assisted Suicide The Musical

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

Review: Vital Xposure: The Disappearance of Dorothy Lawrence

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

Review: Vital Xposure: The Disappearance of Dorothy Lawrence

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

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

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

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

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

Review: London Film Festival Diversity Town Hall Discussion

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

Review: Signdance Collective International, Bad Elvis with Iris Theatre

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

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

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

Review: Shadows Waltz Haltingly by Alan Morrison

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

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

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

Review: Creative Minds one day conference 2015

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

Review: Deafinitely Theatre's Grounded at Park Theatre

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

Review: Picture Taking: Exploring Myself Through Photography

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

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

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

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

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

Review: Oska Bright Film Festival 2015

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

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

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

Reviews: Dao Writers on Literature

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

 

Review: Goldsmiths Disability Research Centre Launch Event

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

Review: Shape Gallery: Ilham Exhibition

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

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

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

Review: 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: Heart N Soul - Soundlab - Play Space

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

Review: UK Disability History Month 2015 Conference at the BFI

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

Review: Lizzie Emeh See Me Part 1 - The Clan

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

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

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

Review: Signdance Collective International present Carthage

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

Review: Amandla! by Freewheelers Theatre Company

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

Review: The Art of Bedlam: Richard Dadd

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

Review: #SummitPortrayed: Tanya Raabe-Webber

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

Review: Ridiculusmus: Give Me Your Love

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

Review: Mental Spaghetti: The Mind Machine

Mental Spaghetti is an Outsider Art organisation whose name fits the aesthetic of their exhibition The Mind Machine, which took place at the Menier Gallery, London from the 18th – 23rd January. Review by Colin Hambrook.

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

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

Review: Reframing the Myth: Graeae and Central Illustration Agency

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

Review: Shape Open 2016

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

Review: Curing Perfect Lab at Brighton Science Festival

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

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

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

Review: Daily Life Ltd and Bobby Baker 'Letting in the Light'

An intimate, glowing haven of wild colour and intricate detail illuminates Stratford High Street, London with a series of large light boxes featuring images of paintings, drawings, digital and mixed media work. – Kate Lovell visits 'Letting in the Light'

Review: HOAX & Luminary Theatre present Hysterical

The Vaults Festival in Waterloo, London featured Hysterical – a psychosis circus full of laughs, but lacking in real bite. Review by Kate Lovell

Review: Kris Halpin The Gloves Are On

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

Review: Birds of Paradise Theatre present Purposeless Movements

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

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

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

Review: DaDaFest Art D’Visions

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

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

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

Review: Hijinx presents Meet Fred

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

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

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

Review: Mind the Gap: 'Contained'

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

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

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

Review: DaDaFest and Turf Love present Unsung

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

Review: Extant Theatre present The Chairs

Post-apocalyptic pathos: Kate Lovell reviews Extant’s re-mount of Ionescu's The Chairs at its first tour date at Harlow Playhouse.

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

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

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

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

Review: Birds of Paradise: Wendy Hoose

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

Review: Thompson Hall: 'Home Away from Home'

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

Review: National Theatre presents The Suicide

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Review: Brighton Festival: Complicite The Encounter

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