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> > > 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.

Josh performs at Young DaDaFest 2013

Young DaDaFest was highly anticipated - from the sheer number of applications received to the amount of support given to the event. The yearly event is designed to give young disabled and non-disabled people a platform to showcase their talents in music, dance and drama.

The festival began with a group from Sandfield Park School, who aptly chose to celebrate the sunshine with a medley of summer-themed songs that had all in attendance joining in. Bank View Signing Choir treated us to a rendition of Avril Lavigne’s ‘Keep Holding On’, priming us for a piece from Acting Up incorporating Makaton signing, ‘Thriller’, a little ‘Gangnam Style’ and some inevitable audience participation! 

The theme of bullying was a key issue within the festival, raised for the first time by Redbridge Dance Club, with an interpretative dance about ways to combat the problem. This was re-enforced with the screening of Young DaDa’s 'Schoolageddon'; a short film about the effects of bullying and the possible haunting consequences for those who prey upon others. If you missed it, watch the film here on YouTube. Ruth Gould, Artistic Director of DaDaFest said: ‘it is important that we nurture the talents of these young people, to ensure that their voices are heard and they have creative outlets by which to raise the issues that are affecting them in their daily lives’.

The acts then gained a rock edge, with Joshua Henderson playing U2’s ‘City of Blinding Lights’ to the backdrop of the New York skyline and an energetic performance by the band Clueless. These two acts were not the only talents that we hope to see at upcoming festivals. The second half of the night provided a number of performers with great potential, including Young DaDa’s own Amy Andrews with her haunting rendition of Metallica’s ‘Nothing Else Matters’ and singer-songwriter Craig Prendez. This year marked Craig’s festival debut; where he performed his own song, with the help of his guitarist. 

The evening was brought to a close with a mesmerising performance from the LikeU Dance Company; combining sound, colour and movement to create an empowering piece entitled ‘Fix Me?’. This was a fantastic end to the show, leaving everyone in little doubt as to the calibre of artists who had gained places on the prestigious Young DaDaFest stage. All performances were judged by the Young DaDaFest panel. Judge and DaDaFest board member, Gary Dunn, had this to say of the event: ‘It was great to everyone enjoying themselves… that’s what it’s all about.’

Congratulations to all the participants, supporters and members of staff who contributed the massive success of Young DaDaFest 2013. After a night like that, we’re already looking forward to what next year’s festival has to bring!