Southbank Centre announces fourth Unlimited festival celebrating the artistic vision of disabled artists

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Southbank Centre announces the return of its Unlimited festival – a celebration of the artistic vision and creativity of disabled artists. The five-day festival takes over the Southbank Centre site from 5-9 September 2018 with an eclectic programme of dance, theatre, visual art, music and comedy from world-class disabled artists including: Inner Vision Orchestra & Baluji Shrivastav OBE, Jess Thom, Jackie Hagan, The British Paraorchestra, Laurence Clark, Jo Bannon, Aby Watson & Dan Daw, Caroline Bowditch, Brownton Abbey and The Unlimited House of Krip.

House of Krip Caroline Parker

Caroline Parker in the Lip Synch Category. Photograph: Fotocad

Southbank Centre’s Unlimited festival showcases work which challenges preconceptions, provokes debate, and shines a light on disability issues. Born out of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad to coincide with the London Paralympic Games, Unlimited is now a biennial festival at Southbank Centre, which showcases the creativity and vision of artists working within a range of genres.

With an abundance of free events to attend, Southbank Centre’s Unlimited festival is inclusive and encourages everyone to get involved.

The festival showcases works commissioned by Unlimited, an arts commissioning programme and one of Arts Council England’s strategic diversity initiatives delivered by the disability-led arts organisation Shape Arts and producing organisation Artsadmin.

These include Brownton Abbey – an Afro-futurist performance party, The Nature of Why, a collaboration between The British Paraorchestra and Goldfrapp’s Will Gregory, which opens the festival in Southbank Centre’s newly refurbished Queen Elizabeth Hall (5 Sept) alongside UK premieres by award-winning playwright Kaite O’Reilly (5 & 6 Sep) and Inner Vision Orchestra, the UK’s only blind orchestra, led by sita master Baluji Shrivastav OBE (7 Sep).

Photo of performer wearing a futurist performance costume

Brownton Abbey

Unlimited festival highlights include:

The UK premiere of And Suddenly I Disappear: The Singapore/UK ‘d’ Monologues, by award-winning playwright Kaite O’Reilly. The first multilingual, intercultural, Deaf and disability-led theatre project created between the UK and Singapore, it combines spoken, visual and projected forms to explore difference, disability and what it means to be human, from opposite sides of the world (5 & 6 Sep)​

The UK premiere of Antardrishti by Inner Vision Orchestra, the UK’s only blind orchestra founded by sitar master Baluji Shrivastav OBE, which brings together blind musicians from across the UK and India with dancers from Arunima Kumar Dance Company, digital artists Addictive TV and storytelling from the award-winning storyteller Giles Abbott (7 Sep)

The London premiere of The Nature of Why, a live music and dance performance, fusing together a cinematic score by Goldfrapp’s Will Gregory, musicians from The British Paraorchestra ensemble and four dancers choreographed by Caroline Bowditch (5 Sep).

This is Not a Safe Place from multi award-winning comedian and writer Jackie Hagan, featuring real voices of disabled people in the UK living on the fringes and dealing with poverty (8 Sep).

Theatre maker and comedian Jess Thom (aka Touretteshero) takes on Samuel Beckett’s short play Not I, in a theatrical experience that explores neurodiversity and the accessibility of art (8 & 9 Sep).

Internationally acclaimed comedian Laurence Clark explains what it’s really like to be a parent with cerebral palsy in his new comedy show An Irresponsible Father’s Guide to Parenting (7 Sep).

Live art and performance artist Jo Bannon explores the internal and external experiences of female desire, sexuality and neoliberalism in the new performance work We Are F*cked (7 & 8 Sep).

The performers of The Unlimited House of Krip present a day of live vogue ball shows, workshops and screenings (8 Sept)

Leading disabled dancer Caroline Bowditch invites children and families on an interactive promenade adventure with Adventures of Snigel (8 Sep)

The Beautiful Octopus Club returns with live music and performances from Heart n Soul artists and chart-topping beats from DJs and VJs (7 Sep)

A number of multimedia immersive installations running across site including:

My Dirty Secret! by former Paralympian and visual artist Kristina Veasey, borne out of her frustration as a disabled person battling to keep up with the housework; award-winning The Voice of the Unicorn created by filmmaker Richard Butchins, disabled dancer Kazuyo Morita and autistic Japanese artists Yasuyuki Ueno, Mami Yoshikawa and Koji Nishioka; Raquel Meseguer’s A Crash Course in Cloudspotting (the subversive act of horizontality), an exploration into chronic pain; and We sat on a mat and had a chat and made maps! #MagicCarpet by artist Dr Kai Syng Tan, drawing on emerging research on the universality of mind wandering and ADHD.

This year’s Unlimited festival makes full use of Southbank Centre’s recently renovated Queen Elizabeth Hall, which included numerous access improvements: accessible dressing rooms, blue badge car park spaces, an increase in wheelchair spaces in the Queen Elizabeth Hall auditorium and hearing loops for visitors at the ticket desks, bars and merchandise areas.

Tamsin Ace, Head of Festival Programming, Southbank Centre, said: “Southbank Centre is committed to showcasing art by and for everyone and so it is with great excitement that we announce our fourth Unlimited festival. Unlimited not only celebrates the powerful artistic vision of disabled artists but also brings issues surrounding disability to the forefront, whether that be challenging preconceived views or ideas or shining a light on the forms of impairment that are ‘invisible’ and not widely understood.

The festival is an integral part of the annual programme at Southbank Centre, so we are extremely excited to welcome it back, and to give this essential work the space and celebration it deserves in the recently refurbished and reopened Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcell Room.”

For full Unlimited festival details visit www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whats-on/festivals-series/unlimited