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Colin Hambrook

Colin is editor of Disability Arts Online. He has worked as a manager/ editor/ researcher/ sub-editor for a variety of web and print based disability arts and mainstream publications since 1994. He first established DAO Ltd in 2004 and has striven towards a vision for the journal as a place, which publishes professional arts writing, arts media and discussion, giving a voice to arts practitioners who identify with disability as a creative, artistic and political force.

Posts by Colin Hambrook

a young woman sits in a living room under a soft warm light

The JOY of Theatre

Turtle Key Arts have a long-standing reputation in their role as creative producers advancing participation in the arts by disabled, disadvantaged and socially excluded people. For the second year running they partnered with the Lyric, Hammersmith to produce JOY – a flagship project of the Hammersmith and Fulham ArtsFest showcasing ...

Another portrayal of the dystopian paradise that is England

I went to see the Little Cog production of Another England on its opening night at the ARC in Stockton. I have huge admiration for Vici Wreford-Sinnott's writing and was expecting a play that told the truth about the horrific times we are living in, with a sense of urgency ...

head shot of woman writer

Lesbian Pirates! – a historical look at disability and queerness

Lesbian Pirates! is a musical based on the untold true story of the ruthless, maverick and lesbian pirates Anne Bonny and Mary Read. Currently, in development, Natasha Sutton Williams tells Colin Hambrook the story behind this Working Birthday production. Natasha Sutton Williams is known for writing critically acclaimed plays and musicals ...

Molly Joyce on the influence of disability studies on her music-making

Composer and performer Molly Joyce’s music is primarily concerned with disability as a creative source. Her works have been commissioned and performed by ensembles including the New World, New York Youth, Pittsburgh, and Milwaukee Symphony Orchestras, and the New Juilliard, Decoda, and Contemporaneous ensembles. She talks to DAO about barriers ...

Ivan Riches: Surroundings – stories of home

Surroundings - Ivan Riches R&D project, involves live, improvised music played to recorded voices & projected imagery - telling stories about the London Borough of Southwark - through interviews with seven of its inhabitants. Review by Colin Hambrook Sitting down with Ivan Riches film of his live performance with the installation ...

Man slumped against toilet

Stuart Waters on Rockbottom: triggers, self-care and dizzying highs

Rockbottom is a challenging dance theatre solo written and performed by the critically acclaimed dancer/actor Stuart Waters and produced by Vicki Balaam. Through its delivery, the project is asking the dance sector to consider the mental health of its performers. Stuart talks to Colin Hambrook about the development of the ...

Person reads from script

How Disabled Are You? highlights troubling attitudes

Tommy The Queer Historian's How Disabled Are You? places three disabled benefit claimants who have never read a script before onstage, getting them to read out real-life problematic opinions about disabled people. It plays Junkyard Dogs: The Doghouse as part of Brighton Fringe 17 & 18 May. Review by Colin ...

image of a woman of colour

Disability Arts Online (DAO) is delighted to announce Alexandrina Hemsley as our next Guest Editor

Alexandrina Hemsley will take the reigns as Guest Editor for the month of July 2019, commissioning 12 pieces of original writing and authoring 4 articles of her own. Hemsley is a dance artist, choreographer and writer who lives with long term mental health vulnerabilities. Hemsley was chosen as Guest Editor for ...

Abstract purple image of a performance space

Realm – a gallery residency developed through a playful intent

Last Friday I got to the closing party for Realm in a public gallery in Southwark Park – an experimental collaboration between three London-based artists, chosen respectively by CGP London, Outside In and Bethlem Gallery. Hats off to the three artists Hazel Brill, Richard Downes and Mr X, for creating such ...

Anfield football ground

Owen Lowery’s Transitions

Owen Lowery has published two major collections, Otherwise Unchanged, (2012), and Rego Retold (2015). His latest project, Transitions, has had several outings including theatrical interpretations and a film.  He will be performing live alongside a screening of his Transitions film as part of 'I'm Here Where Are You' at Cambridge ...

an actor in a large pink dress stands centre-stage

Taking Flight’s production of Kaite O’Reilly’s celebrated play ‘peeling’ brings together disability and feminism

Taking Flight's production of Kaite O'Reilly's 'peeling' opened on international women's day, 8 March 2019, and is currently on a tour of Wales until 2 May. DAO talked to members of the company about the importance of the production both regionally and for the company itself. First produced in 2002 with ...

Playlist: Unlimited

Unlimited has been a key funding platform for deaf and disability arts with four iterations since the original 2012 festival originally conceived as part of the Cultural Olympiad. I've attempted to capture something of the essence of the intention behind Shape and Arts Admin's criteria to program work that is ...

A performer of colour stands smiling at the camera, with a balloon

Unlimited announces latest awards with over £550,000 to support the development of ambitious new artistic work

Unlimited, the UK's arts commissioning programme which supports disabled artists to create and present exceptional work across all art forms, today announces its latest awards to 26 artists to develop ambitious new work. Currently funded by Arts Council England, Arts Council of Wales, British Council and Spirit of 2012, and delivered ...

Playlist: Katherine Araniello – the legacy of a SickBitchCrip

Following the announcement of the death of performance, video artist and activist Katherine Araniello on 25 February 2019, there was an outpouring of grief on her Facebook page, offering tributes and condolences. Katherine made radical and politicised art that touched many artists with its direct humour targeted at the hypocrisies of ...

Jess Thom: Embody the change you want to see you in the work you are making

There's a bit of a revolution going down at the Battersea Arts Centre. The recent Rest & Resistance festival, curated by Jess Thom and Touretteshero, was the beginning of a new inclusive approach being spearheaded by the arts centre to considering what it means to be a relaxed venue. To give ...

TheTheatreTimes.com and Digital Theatre+ launch The International Online Theatre Festival

IOTF is an online theatre festival, showcasing the work of diverse global artists. From April 1- April 30, 2019, IOTF will present the work of 30 international theatre artists and companies, from many countries, including Complicité, Frantic Assembly, National Theatre of Australia, Vakhtangov Theatre and Grand Teatre de Liceu, and ...

People sitting on floor in workshop

Benedict Phillips on how to be a Dyslexic Artist

Benedict Phillips is an Artist, Writer and Curator whose artistic career has been very much informed and influenced by his experience of dyslexia. In a candid interview, he tells the story of his current two-year Arts Council funded project How To Be A Dyslexic Artist. There is a direct relationship between ...

a young white female sits in a chair on a rooftop garden

The Festival of Rest & Resistance: a celebration of the concept of a ‘relaxed venue’

Curated by Jess Thom of Touretteshero, The Festival of Rest & Resistance at Battersea Arts Centre (BAC) from 4th - 16th March is the beginning of the venue’s commitment to becoming a relaxed venue. Jess talks to DAO about the festival and its aims to provoke, disrupt and inspire change. The ...

Six people sitting on the edge of a stage

The heights and depths of Rockbottom

I saw an excerpt from Stuart Waters' touring show Rockbottom last Friday in the Marlborough's black box theatre in Brighton. Stuarts commitment to this rollercoaster of a piece of work is extraordinary, as entertaining as it is disturbing. This theatre-dance performance, tells the story of Stuart's own tussle with death ...

Photo of perfomer Katherine Araniello wearing a bright orange quiff and a huge red tie

Katherine Araniello: An obituary for SickBitchCrips, the queen of mischief

All of us at Disability Arts Online are deeply saddened at the news of the untimely death of performance/video artist and creator of SBC (SickBitchCrips), Katherine Araniello. Katherine leaves behind a legacy of live performance, films and digital art, much made in collaboration with the Live Art Development Agency, Artsadmin ...

Abandoned Scary Doll

Sarah Kane revisited through Graeae and RADA’s production of BLASTED

Seeing Graeae and RADA's production of BLASTED moved me. I had expected to witness theatre in the raw; a form of theatre meant to make you squirm, but I hadn't expected a script as poetic and full-on in-yer-face and in such contrast to the kinds of naturalism and entertainment that ...

a woman stands, her back to the camera in an art gallery

Sinéad O’Donnell – Crossing Permissions

Crossing Permissions is a journey through the performance art body, responding to feminine place and landscape in Asia, Latin America and Ireland. Sinéad O'Donnell's exhibition at Millennium Court Arts Centre documents a year long process including to camera performance, photographs, drawings and sculptural forms developed across three continents. The artist ...

A group of young black and white people stand in a line in front of an 'aspiration' wall

Hijinx Theatre and Hugh James partner for pioneering Equality and Diversity training

Cardiff based inclusive theatre company, Hijinx, have partnered with top 100 UK law firm Hugh James for What Is Discrimination?, a brand new corporate training video starring neurodivergent actors and cameos from the law firm's employees. The innovative video, which premiered on Monday 21st January, seeks to break stereotypes and shine ...

Lasana Shabazz crouching on stage

Brownton Abbey: a radical, Afro-futurist intersectional performance party

Brownton Abbey (supported by Unlimited) is an Afro-futurist performance party of intersectional identities, where queer, trans and disabled people of colour lead the narrative, born initially from the idea of flipping power structures to create a world in which queer people of colour are at the centre, as opposed to ...

A medium shot of a white woman with thin fair hair hanging horizontally left to right from a black aerial silk.

Extant and Yellow Earth Theatre present a UK tour of Flight Paths

Extant and Yellow Earth theatre companies have joined forces to present an ambitious new play which involves innovative approaches to writing, choreography and technology to integrate access into aerial silk performance. At the culmination of a five-year process of research and development, DAO hears from Maria Oshodi, Kumiko Mendl, Glen ...

portriat photo of a young learning disabled man looking at the camera

Mind the Gap’s Staging Change project gets people with learning disabilities employed in the arts

Bradford-based Mind the Gap is one of Europe's largest learning disability theatre companies, having championed learning disability arts for over 30 years. At the end of 2018 they launched Staging Change, a project focussing on getting people with learning disabilities employed in the arts. Working with five partner venues, including Leeds ...

landscape multicoloured print layered with abstract shapes, circles and chequered squares with words and letters running down vertically and horizontally

Poppy Nash’s new exhibition in Glasgow’s The Lighthouse centre’s on ‘care curtains’, made from untold stories

Poppy Nash is a designer living and working in Glasgow using textile design and printmaking as a tool to discuss social issues. Her new exhibition 'Care' employs different textile techniques and type faces, layered to reveal how people feel about their position living close to someone with a long term ...

Layered image of a bus in a street

Surroundings – a journey into the known

Ivan Riches is a disabled visual/ sonic artist, filmmaker, musician/ composer and writer. He talks to DAO about Surroundings – an innovative live installation project combining improvised music/ soundscapes with projected imagery, incorporating the voices of interviewees in England & Germany, talking about notions of self, family and community during ...

Colin outting together the DAO zine

2018 annual highlights

2018 has been a year of cuts to services, with Disabled People Against the Cuts (DPAC) leading the way in protesting against Universal Credit, which is being rolled out across the country. Combined with the dissolution of Disability Living Allowance, the Independent Living Fund and cuts to Access to Work, ...

A signer is pictured in profile to the right of Ruth Gould seated on stage in a wheelchair.

DaDaFest 2018 takes on themes of living and dying under the title of: Passing: What’s Your Legacy

DaDaFest in Liverpool has held a big place in my heart since the early 2000s. I know there are many disabled / Deaf artists and allies who feel a powerful emotional connection to the DaDaFest International Disability Arts Festival and look forward to when it comes around. The popularity is very ...

Side on portrait photo of Suzanne Bull

Attitude is Everything announces Outstanding Attitude Awards 2019

Attitude is Everything has revealed initial details of the Outstanding Attitude Awards, which will take place at Islington Assembly Hall on the afternoon of Wednesday March 12th 2019. The music charity has issued an industry-wide call for nominations. Celebrating innovation and best practice in access to live music and referencing some ...

Film Festival introduces new film ratings system to highlight Disabled people’s contribution to and exclusion from the film world

A new ratings system, the D system, has been introduced by the Together! Disability Film Festival to highlight the contribution that Disabled people make in front of and behind the camera, and their widespread absence from the film world. The D-system is based on the F-system developed by Bath Film ...

Pictured in sepia, the full cast of Amy Dorrit line up for the camera

Liz Carr makes her radio drama debut in a radical re-imagining of Dickens’ classic Little Dorrit for BBC Radio 4

Following last year’s acclaimed radio adaptation of Midwich Cuckoos, Graeae Theatre Company and Naked Productions Limited (NPL) have joined forces once again to present a radical and pertinent new imagining of Charles Dickens’ classic Little Dorrit for BBC Radio 4, to be broadcast over new year 2018/19. Amy Dorrit is a ...

painting of several figures with a blue tinge

Interrogating the Art World – a personal look at DAO’s panel conversation held at the Midlands Arts Centre

I think I have probably been to about a dozen exhibitions this year. On reflection I think that somewhere between 8-10 exhibitions a year is probably about my average. I'd get to more if I could... if I had the energy and the capacity for getting out to galleries. But ...

rows of small ceramic sculptures sit on shelves in the art studio

Process and Presence: Contemporary Disability Sculpture Exhibition

Following the livestream of a disability fashion show on the 22 September, Chris Smit, Co-founder/Co-director of Michigan-based disability arts organisation, DisArt, talks to DAO about their current exhibition and programme of events ‘Process and Presence’ on show in Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park and online until  6th January 2019. The ...

Two crows face each other off, perched on a street lamp against a blue sky

Into The Light – a journey told from the heart

Corina Duyn describes her Artist Book-in-a-Box 'Into The Light' as an adventure. The result of a seventeen-year-long journey with the chronic illness ME and having taken 3 years in the making, it is a real testament to human resilience to carry on despite the slings and arrows that life throws ...

a group of actors with the theater director standing on stage

Andy Smith and Fuel’s SUMMIT considers our differences using a blend of languages

Moving, Working, Staying Together: Andy Smith writes about some of the inspirations and ideas behind his new play, SUMMIT, which is performed in a blend of languages, including fully integrated BSL. This feels to me like a fragile time. There’s a lot of uncertainty about. Quite a few things are ...

an actor poses on stage, dressed as a doctor

Deafinitely Theatre break taboos on suicide with their production of 4.48 Psychosis

In communication with DAO, Deafinitely Theatre's Artistic Director, Paula Garfield writes about what inspired the company to produce a bilingual adaptation of Sarah Kane's 4.48 Psychosis, a play which foretold the writer's own suicide. I had read the script for 4:48 a number of years ago, and had considered it for ...

The performer sits with her arms across her knees

DaDaFest Announce their 2018 Festival Programme

DaDaFest International returns to Liverpool City Region venues this autumn from 1st November to 8th December 2018, showcasing a series of high-quality cutting-edge work which challenges stereotypes and celebrate disability and D/deaf cultures. Comedian Francesca Martinez, theatre-maker and comedian Jess Thom, Stop Gap Dance Company, artists Faith Bebbington, Jonathan Griffith, Simon ...

Scored in Silence – a physical retelling of the story of Hiroshima from the unique perspective of deaf survivors

Chisato Minamimura's Scored in Silence featured at ONCA Gallery, as part of Brighton's Digital Festival from 14-15 September. Review by Colin Hambrook On 18th September 1944 US president FD Roosevelt met the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill to let him know about a new weapon that had been developed in America. ...

image of the artists wearing a red conical hat, standing in frot of a blackboard

Disability Arts Online Instagram account HACKED!!!

For Dyslexia Awareness Week (1 - 7 October 2018) pro-dyslexic artist Benedict Phillips takes control of Disability Arts Online Instagram account: www.instagram.com/disabilityarts/ Benedict says "when it comes to dyslexia, most people talk about what happens in the first 10 years of life at school. I'm here to talk about what others ...

a small girl smiles at the camera wearing large tinted glasses

Amy Bethan Evans talks about her latest play Tinted

After their success with Chris Campion’s Catching the Ghost at the Bloomsbury Festival last year, Extant have been invited to take Amy Bethan Evans new play Tinted there in October. DAO spoke to the playwright to find out about the forthcoming production. It feels amazing to be a part of the ...

a screen shows a man wearing a mask

Richard Butchins: The Voice of the Unicorn – art as a defining act

Known for his eclectic body of film work, Butchins brings the life of the autistic artist and the history of Japanese cinema together in a Sheffield Doc Fest award-winning installation, commissioned by Unlimited (delivered by Shape and Artsadmin). Review by Colin Hambrook Placing Richard Butchins masterful The Voice of the Unicorn ...

Dolly Sen holding a pill

Dolly Sen takes the reigns as Guest Editor of Disability Arts Online

Mad writer, artist, performer and filmmaker Dolly Sen will be guest editing Disability Arts Online over the coming weeks. Dolly's unique, anarchic brand of humour and Mad politics expressed through her artwork, poetry, film and prose have been gracing the virtual pages of DAO ever since we reviewed her mad memoir ...

Festival brochure with image of three faces

DaDaFest International 2018 announced with performance by Jess Thom

Award-winning disability and D/deaf arts organisation DaDaFest announces Merseyside wide festival this November. DaDaFest International will take place from 1 November - 8 December 2018 showcasing artwork. With over 50 events, this year's festival will be bigger and better this year. This year's festival theme is Passing: What is your legacy? which ...

Atmospheric photo of artist Liz Crow sitting on the mudbanks of the Thames river

Are we in an era, post Disability Art?

Colin Hambrook and Trish Wheatley explore ideas about the history of Disability Arts and how it is understood by different factions of our community. To some people Disability Arts is a political expression of ways that discrimination underpins who we are in the world, to others it is about access or ...

An edwardian house is pictured with teh artist Bobby Baker standing in front of it

A house in Newcastle to host Bobby Baker’s Great & Tiny War

Great & Tiny War is conceived and made by acclaimed female artist Bobby Baker. Commissioned by 14-18 NOW as part of its finale programme and co-produced by Daily Life Ltd with Wunderbar, it will occupy a terraced house in the West End of Newcastle from 7 September - 9 November ...

A face illuminated by the hood it's wearing

BBC Two to screen Me, My Mouth and I – a new film exploring neurodiversity in the arts through the works of Samuel Beckett

Me, My Mouth and I is a new film, co-produced by Touretteshero and Sunshine, that is part of BBC TWO’s Performance Live strand (a partnership between BBC Arts, Arts Council England and Battersea Arts Centre) which showcases some of the most exciting artists working in performance today. Artist, activist and performer ...

House of Krip Caroline Parker

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

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 ...

Photo of young female actress standing on stage

Natalie Kimmerling walks tall in the latest Sleepless Theatre production due to play in the Edinburgh Fringe

Sleepless Theatre Company are gaining a name for innovative theatre that tackles big subjects. Their latest production 'Nine Foot Nine' was shortlisted for the 2018 LET Award, and had a 5 minute showcase at the Royal Court as part of their International Women's Day programme. Colin Hambrook talked to disabled ...

Black and white photo of 5 actors rehearsing a musical number

Launch of the National Disability Arts Collection and Archive (NDACA)

The National Disability Arts Collection and Archive (NDACA), a £1-million digital archive chronicling the history of disability arts in the UK, has launched to the public. NDACA is the first archive in the world to offer a major retrospective of disabled people’s art and activism. The Disability Arts Movement – a ...

People in a pool for Oily Cart's Splish Splash

Oily Cart’s Watery Wonderland Awakens the Senses

Oily Cart – the internationally acclaimed children's and young people's theatre company – have a new show Splish Splash, which is staged entirely in and under water. DAO interviewed director Tim Webb about the production, which is set to coincide with a month long celebration of 70 years of the NHS. This ...

Portrait shot of smiling Coronation Street actor Liam Bairstow

Still Minding the Gap – 30 years on…

This week is Learning Disability Awareness Week (18th – 24th June) and right in the middle of it Europe’s leading learning disability theatre company, Yorkshire’s own Mind the Gap, will celebrate its 30th birthday. To mark its 30th year Mind the Gap will spend the next 12 months celebrating its achievements ...

Powerful sculpture ‘Gold Lamé’ unveiled on Liverpool’s iconic skyline

A striking sculpture that challenges the perceptions of disability in society was unveiled earlier this month outside Liverpool Parish Church, also known as St Nick's. The installation, Gold Lamé, originally commissioned by DaDaFest, is by disabled sculptor and artist Tony Heaton and will occupy The Liverpool Plinth, an empty platform ...

A group from Carousel Radio with celebrities on stage

Carousel Radio wins British podcast award

At a celebrity filled event at King's Place, London on Saturday 19 May, Carousel's pioneering podcast won GOLD in the Represent category of the British Podcast Awards, supported by Twitter. The award is a just marker of the quality and distinctiveness of the programme, which is planned, recorded and presented ...

Series of squares with words and thumbnail images describing aspects of the theatre companies Hub project

Deafinitely Theatre announce the Hub – a new theatre training course for Deaf artists

Deafinitely Theatre announce the creation of the Hub - a new theatre training course for emerging deaf artists to gain structured, accessible, professional theatre training, with the aim of equipping participants for mainstream arts employment. The Hub will launch its inaugural year in September 2018. The year-long programme, which has been ...

blurred image of the face of a young woman with a toy robot in the foreground

213 Things About Me – echoes of a remembrance of a life

I went to see Richard Butchins play 213 Things About Me at the Battersea Arts Centre a month ago, now. An intensely personal piece of work for both the writer/ director and for the actress - the incredibly talented Rosa Hoskins - I knew this was going to be one ...

Close up photograph of water with bright colours

SaySay Love: The Matrix of Water

SaySay.Love is an internationally renowned blind photographer who has developed a technique for making stunning images of water that highlight the growing global problem of water shortage as a result of climate change. DAO talked to the artist following a recent exhibition at Coningsby Gallery, London. If the water industry does ...

Poem by Richard Bell entitled driftwood of recovery set against a photograph of a piece of wood on a beach

Richard J. Bell – waiting for the invention of colour

Born in Bowral, Australia Richard J. Bell has lived in rural New South Wales most of his life. He has tried his hand at many artforms in a bid to support recovery from mental illness, sharing much of his creative output via his website. DAO talked to the artist about ...

Zara Bradley's painting 'By Candlelight'

Zara Bradley: powerful paintings exploring mental health, abuse and symbolism

Zara Bradley’s paintings contain a strong sense of narrative, documenting her struggles with mental health problems and abuse. Here the artist expounds on her artistic influences and the meanings within her artwork. Although I haven’t referenced her work in recent paintings, Frida Khalo was a very influential artist for me many ...

Mik Strevens' Leopard Face Dispersion

Creative Future opens online art shop

Brighton-based charity Creative Future has just launched an online shop which showcases work by under-represented artists and makes it available to buy as high-quality prints. The shop launches with an inaugural curated selection, entitled 'Eleven,' which showcases emerging artists from the South East. The artists work in a range of ...

The cover of this book consists of a stormy swirl of purple and black within a white frame and black border

David Russell’s collection of environmental poems, An Ever River – poetry for the end of time

David Russell’s poetry collection An Ever River has recently been published by Palewell Press - an independent publisher of work in all genres - exploring themes of justice, equality and sustainability. Review by Colin Hambrook As the title of Russell’s collection suggests An Ever River bursts and blisters with references to ...

Photo of a close up of bubble wrap

DASH announce a three-year project – ‘Where Are The Disabled Curators?’

DASH announce a three-year project working with three major partner organisations to provide commissions for three Curators who identify as Disabled. From 2018-2021 DASH will work with Arnolfini, Bristol, Midland Arts Centre (MAC), Birmingham and Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (MIMA), to provide individual residencies for three curators who identify ...

Photo of a young actress Sapphire Joy on stage with a backdrop of a large full moon

Our Country’s Good – presenting sign language as a language of freedom

Our Country's Good, produced by Nottingham Playhouse in conjunction with Ramps on the Moon premiered at Nottingham Playhouse in March, before touring to other venues in the consortium. Colin Hambrook caught the production at Theatre Royal Stratford East on 25 April. Here he reflects on the play's themes, as resonant ...

Group of people walking around London in boiler suits

Together! 2012: the projects and programmes

In the second of a two-part interview, Artistic Director of Together! 2012 CIC, Ju Gosling talks about the organisation's vibrant ongoing programme of projects across various artforms and communities. The Recycled Band was a Local Programme commission for Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, and consists of 12 giant percussion instruments made of recycled construction ...

Photo of a young woman on stage surrounded by musical instruments

213 Things About Me – a journey through the life of a woman with Autism

213 Things About Me is a theatre piece based on the real life story of Cate - a female singer songwriter diagnosed with Asperger's in adult life, following her triumphs and the difficulties she faced, before her suicide at the tender age of 36. Documentary maker and disabled writer Richard ...

Act Up! Perform on a brightlyd ecorated stage

Grassroots artist-led organisation Together 2012 have bold plans to change the cultural landscape in East London

Together! 2012 CIC is led by locally based disabled artists, and is creating a Paralympic cultural Legacy in East London by making the main Host Borough of Newham into an international centre of excellence for Disability Arts. In June 2017, Arts Council England announced that Together! 2012 CIC will become ...

Jamie Beddard headshot

Jamie Beddard takes the lead role in Handel’s Messiah

Staged by the Tony Award-winning director Tom Morris (War Horse), an extraordinary production of Handel’s 'Messiah' played for four one-off stagings of the masterpiece at the Bristol Old Vic in April 2017. Each night a different actor played The Messiah and the night celebrated disabled actor Jamie Beddard took the ...

A face illuminated by the hood it's wearing

Jess Thom on Touretteshero’s production of Beckett’s ‘Not I’ and the irrepressible character ‘Mouth’

Following excellent reviews from a run of Samuel Beckett's 'Not I' in Edinburgh last summer Touretteshero and Jess Thom are bringing the show to Battersea Arts Centre this March. Jess talks to DAO about her reasons for taking on Mouth - whose monologue is known within Theatre as a marathon ...

Sara Beer wears a golden crown and carries a stern pose at Richard III.

Kaite O’Reilly knocks Shakespeare for six with ‘richard III redux OR Sara Beer [IS/NOT] richard III’

Sara Beer is back and ready to rule as she takes on the role of king in The Llanarth Group’s reimagining of Richard III this spring. Written by award-winning playwright Kaite O’Reilly, director Phillip Zarrilli brings his latest production to venues across Wales in March 2018. Richard III: Bogeyman. Villain. Evil ...

Line drawing of a cube

What is the shape, colour and sound of pain?

Exploring the experience of chronic pain through a balance of theatrical elements and integrated access, The Shape of the Pain is playing at Battersea Arts Centre from 20 February - 10 March. Director Rachel Bagshaw talks to DAO about the conception of the show. Conceived and directed by Rachel Bagshaw and ...

Photo of perfomer Katherine Araniello wearing a bright orange quiff and a huge red tie

The outrageous Araniello plays the Yard…

I've followed the work of Katherine Araniello over several decades and recall her pre-Art School days in the mid-90s when she performed as Plastic Anorexic at London Disability Arts Forum cabaret events. She displayed an eye for creating a spectacle and had an ear for a 'good' pop song way ...

Raquel Meseguer lying on a bench

A Crash Course in Cloudspotting (the subversive act of horizontality)

Raquel Meseguer speaks to Colin Hambrook about her Unlimited (Administered by Shape and Artsadmin) R&D that highlights the needs of people with chronic pain in arts venues. A sharing takes place at Ovalhouse 29 January – 10 February. An abridged version of this article was published on ArtsProfessional, 25 January. What ...

Photo of liz Carr as Clarissa Mullery in Silent Witness

Silent Witness: history in the making

Silent Witness makes television history this coming Monday on BBC 1 at 9pm. Liz Carr’s character Clarissa Mullery steps up to the mark and becomes the focus of the interweaving storylines that are the hallmark of the drama series about a team of forensic pathologists. One Day - the title of ...

Book cover depicting sketchily painted figures

Jean Winter’s ‘Mindshadows’ – a descent into the vicissitudes of psychiatric care

Jean Winter’s Mindshadows is a fictionalised memoir, which follows the story of 20 year old Gardenia Baxter who has been sectioned following the experience of having an abortion with the result that she in extreme trauma and living with her mother in a state of peril. Review by Colin Hambrook Mindshadows ...

Creative Future Literary Awards 2017

The Creative Future Literary Awards – the UK’s only national competition for all under-represented writers – announced its twelve ‘outstanding’ winners at Birmingham Central Library in October 2017. Six poems and six short stories were chosen from a shortlist by a judging panel of industry professionals, to receive a share of ...

photo of disabled performers Sophie Partridge and Penny Pepper holding scripts for performance on stage at a poetry event

Going forwards and going backwards into 2018

2017 has been an eventful time for us at DAO. With the solstice yesterday I couldn’t help but think of Sophie Partridge - our 'Pink Pixie' - who died suddenly last June. She’s been sorely missed at DAO and by the disability arts community these past months. Our 2017 blogger of ...

Sculpture of a dog using found materials

Outside In to exhibit work at London’s Sotheby’s this January

The ground-breaking exhibition, entitled 'Journeys' is devised by award-winning charity Outside In, showcasing a number of the artists it supports at London's prestigious Sotheby’s auction house 11-19 January 2018. Since its founding over a decade ago at Pallant House Gallery in Chichester, Outside In has worked to provide a platform for artists ...

Swirling painting depicting 3 human forms in colours of red and yellow

It Was Paradise – and can be once again

In May 2017, UK-based visual artist, Rachel Gadsden spent two weeks in Palestine working with four visual artists from the West Bank, as part of a research and development project funded by Unlimited. With the announcement of further funding to bring the artwork of the Palestinian artists to the UK, ...

Joey S/he sharing

gobscure’s ‘Joey’ work-in-progress play with oppositional defiant dis/order

As part of their The Shape Of Things To Come programme, Camden Peoples’ Theatre recently supported a workshop and a work-in-progress of Joey from gobscure – associate artist with Greyscale. The result was a trawl through the media stories that infect our lives, then and now with the admonition to ...

Photo of members of Hubbub Theatre taking part in a workshop

Hubbub Theatre Company Launches Region’s First Learning Disabled Actor Training Programme

Derby-based Hubbub Theatre Company is launching the East Midlands’ first training programme designed specifically for actors with learning disabilities who want to be part of a vibrant company and potentially work on stage, screen and television. Hubbub Theatre Company is an integrated ensemble of performers with and without learning disabilities, that ...

Oska Bright Film Festival team

Oska Bright Film Festival 2017: increasingly imaginative

Colin Hambrook attended the eighth edition of Carousel’s learning-disability film festival, Oska Bright which took place at Brighton’s Old Market 15-17 November 2017. Having attended previous festivals, he reflects on how far Oska Bright has come. At a time when our tv and cinema screens are scheduled full of multi-million-dollar Hollywood ...

Unlimited House of Krip

#UnltdSymposium – Disability Arts Online’s hot topics

On 4 & 5 September 2018, Unlimited will be hosting a symposium as a precursor to the festival at Southbank Centre. This series of discussions and debates will consider key questions for disability-led arts from diverse and international perspectives. Unlimited are opening up the agenda with a call out for ...

Photo of actress Imogen Roberts, pictured smiling against a yellow backdrop with the word JOY, written on it

Writer Stephanie Martin talks about creating roles for learning disabled actors

Joy - a play about family, friendship, control and freedom comes to Theatre Royal, Stratford East. Playwright Stephanie Martin talks about the writing of the piece, working one to one with Imogen Roberts who take the lead role with Clamour Theatre Company I was on a train back from the Edinburgh ...

Laura Swanson Hope NY

Laura Swanson makes UK debut alongside Claude Cahun at Attenborough Arts Centre

The University of Leicester’s Attenborough Arts Centre presents a solo exhibition by American artist Laura Swanson, alongside the Hayward Touring exhibition of photography by gender-defying artist Claude Cahun (1894-1954). Gallery 1 is showing an especially commissioned work by Laura Swanson; two new photographic series, Beauty and Recluse, alongside recent work from ...

Archive black and white photo of a group of people standing behind a bench for basket weaving

Landmark new exhibition explores Bristol’s disability and architectural history

A landmark exhibition, Brave Poor Things: Reclaiming Bristol’s Disability History exploring the previously hidden histories of deaf and disabled people in Bristol, opens at M Shed on 14 October and runs until 15 April 2018  It’s estimated today that there are one billion disabled people in the world. Yet the history ...

Accomplished Australian circus and physical theatre performer Sarah Houbolt takes flight

DAO talks to accomplished Australian circus and physical theatre performer Sarah Houboult with a profile of her career progression and discussion of what makes her tick as a circus performer working within the disability arts arena. The month ahead looks very exciting for Sarah Houbolt. She will be working with Extraordinary ...

Photo of the integrated company Extraordinary Bodies, pictured against a blue sky

The pioneering Extraordinary Bodies take up residency with the National Theatre

National Theatre has invited integrated circus company Extraordinary Bodies to explore narrative ideas for new show What Am I Worth? in a week long residency with their New Work Department, October 2nd – 6th 2017. Extraordinary Bodies are a contemporary circus company made up equally of D/deaf, disabled and non-disabled performers, ...

Head shot of Vici Wreford-Sinnott under a red light

Little Cog and ARC Stockton create pioneering model of equality in Cultural Shift

Vici Wreford-Sinnott, a disabled playwright, theatre director and equality strategist, has spent much of her career in Disability Arts promoting disability equality in all aspects of the arts, and, creating and supporting new opportunities for disabled artists and audiences. Vici talks to DAO about how the partnership between her disabled-led ...

Photo of a series of artworks depicting a mix of abstact art and portraits

Hull UK City of Culture 2017 engages with disability arts practice in a bid to to break barriers

With exhibitions, events, residencies and focus groups, Square Peg at Artlink is giving a diverse group of artists the opportunity to shine during Hull’s year as UK City of Culture 2017. What would an arts programme look like from the perspective of disabled artists? That’s what Square Peg sets out to ...

Black and white photo of Robert Dellar, microphone in hand and a pair of horns drawing on his head. The poster names the guests on the all star line-up

RobertFest 2017- a cornucopia of punk and rock bands coming together for a tribute to mental health activist Robert Dellar

On Sunday 24 September 2017 a group of mental health service users from Mad Pride and the Mental Health Resistance Network are getting together to put on a 12 hour rock gig at The Amersham Arms in Deptford, SE London, to celebrate the life of well-known mental health activist and ...

Photo of a young girl pictured inside a large tube `

New Wolsey Theatre spearhead a bespoke commissioning and support fund

Jamie Beddard, Agent for Change at the New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich is passionate about opening up opportunities for D/deaf and disabled theatre makers. Here he talks about Testing Ground - a bespoke commissioning and support fund designed to develop and produce new work to be presented at New Wolsey’s annual ...

Photo of the artists involved in the Fools' Gold project

Fools’ Gold: an artist intervention in the Art Gallery, New South Wales

I’ve been in Sydney, Australia a few weeks now working with Gaele Sobott of Outlandish Arts on Fools’ Gold - a pilot series of poetry workshops, performances and critical dialogues on art, mental health and well-being. The climax of the program was a performance in Art Gallery New South Wales ...

Morgan Stern production shot

Director, Goldele Rayment: making theatre that reclaims narratives about mental health

Morgan Stern is one of a number of plays written from the perspective of lived experience of mental distress to be staged at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe. Colin Hambrook spoke to Goldele Rayment Director at Company of Rogues, who are bringing their show to the festival all the way from ...

Image of a head with several rooms in which tortuous acts are visualised as a metaphor for everything we're not allowed to say about our oppression by the powers that be

Journeying half way across the world in search of fools’ gold

I first met Gaele Sobott from Outlandish Arts in London back in the autumn of 2015 when she interviewed me for her blog and we began talking about the possibility of working together. Later that year in a conversation with Rowan James about the pitfalls of making work under the ...

Photo of two students seated in front of large camera

Bucks New University students support films charting the history of the disability arts movement

A trio of Buckinghamshire New University students are supporting the filming of a series of short films charting the history of the National Disability Arts Collection & Archive (NDACA). The students, from the School of Arts and Creative Industries, are working on the short films with 28 disabled artists, activists and ...

Robin Surgeoner

Why Robin Surgeoner is building a platform for disability and diverse arts

Robin Surgeoner aka Angryfish is a writer, performer, workshop leader and veteran of the Disability Arts movement. Surgeoner is organising the Why? Festival in Birmingham on 8 July 2017, billed as ‘a disability and diversity arts extravaganza’. Colin Hambrook spoke to him to find out ‘why’.  The Why? Festival is ...

Digital image of trees reflected symmetrically

Artist Mark Ware makes waves bringing Art and Science together with groundbreaking results

Mark Ware recently gave a presentation ‘The Wavelength Project: Art-Science investigations into how we respond to the natural environment’ at the University of Sussex covering the development of his work over the last 13 years. Colin Hambrook reported back on the development of a project, which is offering a greater ...

Screwing a light bulb into the Sky'

Creativity is the power to change: Dolly Sen’s DSM 69

Dolly Sen launched her ‘subversive look at psychiatry’, DSM 69, published by Eleusinian Press at the Dragon Cafe in Borough − a Mental Fight Club event presented as part of a week of Antiuniversity Now festival (10-16 June). Colin Hambrook was there to review the book. I have been to the Dragon ...

Super Aspie

Meet the Guerilla ‘Aspie’, Paul Wady

Guerilla Aspies, written by Paul Wady, was published in 2014 as an irreverent jibe at neurotypical society. In 2016, it was adapted into a production which went to Edinburgh Fringe entitled Guerrilla Aspies: The Show of the Book. Colin Hambrook talks to him about his work, autistic pride and future ...

DAO pays tribute to one of our most cherished writers: Sophie Partridge

We are still reeling from the heartbreaking news that DAO journalist and blogger Sophie Partridge has gone from us. Our plan is to publish responses from the disability arts sector on this page to pay tribute to one of our key writers, artists and activists who sadly died unexpectedly on ...

Georgie Morrell

Georgie Morrell: A Poke in the Eye

Georgie Morrell is a stand-up comedian, writer and blogger. She recently bore her soul with her stand-up show A Poke in the Eye, which played at the Brighton Fringe 24-26 May 2017. Review by Colin Hambrook. A Poke In The Eye is part of a trend amongst younger disabled performers staging ...

Chris Campion

Extant: Catching the Ghost

Britain's leading professional performing arts company of visually impaired people has a track record of producing intelligent, ground-breaking and award-winning work. Extant Theatre took Catching the Ghost − a new play by emerging actor-musician Chris Campion to the Brighton Fringe Festival. Review by Colin Hambrook. The blurb for Catching the Ghost read ...

Nadeem Islam

Nadeem Islam on playing a misfit for Deafinitely Theatre’s Something Else

Something Else, Deafinitely Theatre’s stage adaptation of Kathryn Cave’s children’s story of the same name plays Derby, London, Bristol and Oxford 28 May – 2 June. It tells the story of a small creature who lives his life always trying to fit in. But he never does, because he's Something ...

Photo of the Euan's Guide team posing in front of the camera

Euan’s Guide named a digital pioneer in the Digital Leaders 100 List

Founded in 2013, Euan’s Guide, created by powerchair user Euan MacDonald, is a website where disabled people, their families and friends can review, share and discover accessible places to visit. The website has been shortlisted for ‘Digital Charity of the Year’ at the Digital Leaders 100 awards, to be held ...

A production shot from Hijinx's Meet Fred. A cloth puppet is being held by four puppeteers (Dan McGowan, Morgan Thomas Craig Quat and Martin Vick). A cloud is held above the puppet's head.

Fred gets up to some hijinks at the Brighton Fringe Festival…

We’ve got a small feast of performance from a range of disability performing arts companies in the Brighton Fringe Festival this year. In a recent interview on DAO Sarah Perryman, Head of Participant Services said that the Fringe were making inroads towards upping their game in terms of attracting disability ...

Flyer image shows a male and female actress holding a St George's flag in front of a seaside railing

Teesside based playwright brings show about surviving modern day England to the stage

Playwright and theatre director, Vici Wreford-Sinnott, is returning to ARC on Thursday 18 May with a new politically charged show about two people trying to survive modern day England. Set in 2022, the new play shows a rarely seen portrayal of England, and Vici plans to take her audience on an ...

Playing on Workshop

Theatre that changes hearts, minds and attitudes in a bid for social cohesion

During March 2017, RE:CREATE Psychiatry invited Playing On Theatre Company as guest curators to produce Shifting Perspectives Through Theatre, a series of workshops and performances. During one busy activity-filled day at The Dragon Café, Colin Hambrook talked to CEO and Co-Artistic Director Jim Pope about the company’s methodology. The Dragon Café, ...

A grainy black and white image of a dark figure, perhaps a ghost

Brighton Fringe Festival’s agenda for access and inclusion

Brighton Fringe is one of England’s largest arts festival, setting out to stimulate, educate and entertain through a diverse range of art forms. Sarah Perryman, Head of Participant Services spoke to DAO about the festivals’ ambition to become more inclusive of disabled performers and audiences. Brighton Fringe is open-access, which means ...

a new, less intimidating instruction to remind people they are being watched by cctv, reads 'smile on, system opera by'

Mental health and the medical model: reclaiming the languages of lunacy

On 24 and 25 April as part of a residency at The Art House in Wakefield, writer and performance artist gobscure invited applications from artists with lived experience of mental distress to join him for an 'unreliable narrator' tour as part of his 'reclaiming the languages of lunacy' residency. Colin ...

Le Gateu Chocolat: Black

Le Gateau Chocolat: Black

Featuring a repertoire ranging from Wagner and Purcell to Nina Simone and Whitney Houston, Black is an intimate and confessional portrait of Nigerian singer Le Gateau Chocolat’s life. It played Theatre Royal Stratford East 4-8 April 2017. Review by Colin Hambrook. Inspired to make Black following death by suicide of two ...

photo of four actors set to play the messiah

The Bristol Old Vic present a staged performance of Handel’s Messiah in Bristol Proms

For four nights this April, four extraordinary actors will join renowned opera and concert conductor Harry Bicket, Europe’s most celebrated Baroque orchestra The English Concert, the glorious Erebus Ensemble and four giants of classical music Julia Doyle, Catherine Wyn-Rogers, Joshua Ellicott and Brindley Sherratt for four one-off stagings of Handel’s masterpiece, Messiah. Renowned ...

Photos of members of the cast

Ramps on the Moon returns with a controversial new production of The Who’s ‘Tommy’

Tommy is part of Ramps On The Moon, a ground-breaking project which signals a change in the UK’s disability arts provision, and Peter Straker will be joined on stage by an inclusive cast of Deaf and disabled and non-disabled actors including Lukus Alexander, Alim Jayda, Donna Mullings, Garry Robson, Max ...

Awkward Bastards challenging the absence of diversity from the cultural landscape

DASH's Awkwards Bastards symposium returns for another year, in collaboration with Live Art Development Agency (LADA) and mac Birmingham, taking place at the mac on 22-23 March. I caught the morning session of the first day via livestream. With introductions from Caro Parker and Mike Layward, DASH began their day with ...

The cast of To Belong

Belgian company Theater Stap bring ‘To Belong’ to SICK! Festival

On 20 March, 2017, as part of SICK! Festival, the Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts in University of Sussex, hosted Theater Stap from Belgium on a whistle-stop European tour with their production To Belong. Review by Colin Hambrook. Theater Stap have a track record of training professional disabled dancers/actors to ...

Yolanda Mercy performs On the Edge of Me.

Emerging theatre-maker Yolanda Mercy seeks to educate and entertain

Following a showcase of excerpts from On the Edge of Me and Quarter Life Crisis at the iF Platform as part of the recent Vaults Festival in Waterloo, London, Colin Hambrook interviewed Yolanda Mercy about her career and aspirations. Yolanda Mercy has positive commitment to making socially engaged performance work. She ...

Publicity image of an arm reaching out of a large speckled, red bag

Hijinx Unity Festival migrates North this summer

Hijinx's annual five-day international Unity Festival will take place for the first time in Caernarfon, North Wales, from 28 June - 2 July 2017. Spectacular circus, theatre, dance and music acts will fill Caernarfon Castle, Victoria Dock, the Town Square and Galeri Arts Centre for this year’s Hijinx Unity Festival, ...

Sculpture consisting of a series of bright yellow and red walking frames arranged on a blue plinth to resemble a merry-go-round

Shape Arts make a welcome move into the world of audio-description at Tate Exchange

How do you ‘see’ art? How do we describe art to others? As part of the Tate Exchange programme at Tate Modern, Shape organised 4 days of events from 23-26 February, with a showcase of artwork from the Adam Reynolds Memorial Bursary Shortlist, a series of workshops led by blind ...

David Toole stars as Dave in The Enormous Room

Stopgap Dance Company’s The Enormous Room: a new genre for dance?

Directed and choreographed by Lucy Bennett, The Enormous Room carries Stopgap’s hallmark qualities of an absurdist, narrative-driven dance genre we first saw come to maturity in the company’s 2014/15 touring production Artificial Things, a step further. Colin Hambrook caught the premier at the University of Surrey in Guildford. As the audience ...

Digital image of red flowers and green foliage with the title 'The Garden of Remember' overlaid

Launch of new digital app made for and by people living with dementia

A new digital artwork has been created by people living with dementia, school children and young people. The APP, entitled Garden of Remember will be become part of the permanent collection of NetPark, the world's first digital art park, situated in Chalkwell Park, Essex. Artists, Elsa James, Joe Magee, Alistair Gentry ...

Vici Wreford-Sinnott

Vici Wreford-Sinnott on the development of Butterfly

Vici Wreford-Sinnott is a theatre director with a passion for making powerful contemporary work that challenges and entertains in equal measure. She has written and directed Butterfly, which is currently touring the UK, accompanied by a series of ‘Reclaiming the Butterfly’ workshops, looking at the impact of mental health ’stigma’ ...

Black and white photo of the musician posing in an industrial setting

Plymouth PhD Researcher Awarded Composer Residency With British Paraorchestra

Amble Skuse, who is a PhD candidate at Plymouth University, has been selected for a prestigious composition residency with The British Paraorchestra. The British Paraorchestra is the world’s first, large-scale professional ensemble for disabled musicians. Just as the Paralympics have achieved so effectively in sport, the British Paraorchestra has shifted perceptions ...

Andy Kee as Russell

Creative Journeys: As the arts develop, so do the people

Creative Journeys is an open and inclusive project for people who share an interest in art. Produced by social inclusion organisation Certitude and working with Artist Andy Kee the group have opened up journeys through gallery spaces in London over the last two years. DAO talked to Andy about his ...

Three performers move forwards from in front of a stage curtain with tentative expressions on their faces.

Stopgap Dance Company and VAULT Festival announce iF @ VAULT

Four of the most talented, emerging disabled artists and integrated companies are bringing exciting work to the festival to raise the profile of disability arts in the UK. Following the success of the iF Platform at Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2015 and the iF Platform bursary in association with The Point ...

A picture of a man stood up talking into a microphone. Four people are sat on green chairs in the background, two of them are holding hands and looking at each other.

Mind the Gap take critically renowned show CONTAINED to Roubaix, France

Mind the Gap, England’s largest learning disability theatre company is heading to Roubaix, France from Tuesday 24th to Thursday 26th January 2017 for their Crossing the Line Festival. Three days of performances, workshops, screenings, discussions and networking opportunities from three leading European, learning-disability theatre companies: Mind the Gap (Bradford, UK), ...

A woman with an angry expression holds a wand, dagger-like, to a heart rendered in the shape of a spell

Door Ajar Theatre reinterpret Shakespeare’s characters using sign language

The newly-formed Door Ajar Theatre are touring nationally with Thisbe - a BSL-integrated production of a story derived from a sub-plot within Shakespeare's popular comedy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Producer Euan Borland talked to Colin Hambrook about the company and its decision to play with principles of creative access. Door Ajar ...

Stopgap’s new touring work ‘The Enormous Room’ reflects on the surreal aspects of loss

Stopgap Dance Company’s new touring production The Enormous Room, premieres at Sadler’s Wells Lilian Baylis Studio on 2 and 3 March 2017. Featuring renowned disabled dancer David Toole in a central role, The Enormous Room focuses on the complex but poignant relationship between a father and daughter during a time of ...

A production shot from Hijinx's Meet Fred. A cloth puppet is being held by four puppeteers (Dan McGowan, Morgan Thomas Craig Quat and Martin Vick). A cloud is held above the puppet's head.

Where will you ‘Meet Fred’? Hijinx’s Edinburgh hit comedy sets off on a UK and European tour

Following a sell-out run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2016, Hijinx (Cardiff) in association with Blind Summit (London) are launching Meet Fred on a 50+ date tour around the UK next Fri 20 January at Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff. Following the UK tour, Meet Fred will be touring Germany, ...

Front cover of Wendy Young's The Dream of Somewhere Else

Wendy Young: The Dream of Somewhere Else

Published by Survivors' Poetry as an ebook available on Kindle Wendy Young’s The Dream of Somewhere Else is an autobiographical account of one woman’s journey to rise above the impact of a childhood of neglect and abuse.  Review by Colin Hambrook. Written with a raw honesty, Wendy’s collection charts her troubled ...

Jenny Sealey and Kathryn Hunter redefine Lorca’s final masterpiece with the Royal Exchange Theatre

A bold exploration of female identity, sexuality and power: Lorca’s The House of Bernarda Alba is beautifully transformed for the Royal Exchange’s distinctive in-the-round theatre in a co-production with the trail-blazing Graeae Theatre Company. The House of Bernarda Alba is directed by Graeae’s Artistic Director Jenny Sealey, in a translation by ...

A photograph of Liz Carr on stage at the Royal Festival hall. She is using a golden wheelchair with confetti all around her.

2016 Round up: a year of ensuring disability arts is known about more widely

When you look at DAO you’re only seeing a half of the work we’re doing to support the disability arts sector. 2016 has been an incredibly productive and busy time for us at DAO. The year began in the thick of our Viewfinder series of workshops hosted by Goldsmiths University. ...

Photo of Jackie Hagan wearing a bookcase dress

Power Through Diversity

Arts Council England recently launched its diversity data report Equality, Diversity and the Creative Case 2015/16 at their Power Through Diversity event at Contact Manchester on 12 December. Colin Hambrook reflects on highlights from the live stream. The day was live-streamed through the Arts Council’s website and footage of the artists ...

The Kindness of Strangers

Tim Jeeves, The Kindness of Strangers

The Kindness of Strangers is an immersive theatre piece ruminating on the generosity of others, contextualised by Tim Jeeves’ personal experience of being diagnosed with cancer and subsequent bone-marrow transplant at a young age. It played the Bluecoat on 1 December as part of DaDaFest International 2016. Review by Colin ...

DaDaFest Congress Thomson Hall drawing

DaDaFest Congress 2016: to go with the flow of the mainstream or swim against the tide?

DaDaFest 2016 hosted a two-day Congress at the Museum of Liverpool 1-2 December. Designed as a set of provocations to explore the impact of disability and d/Deaf arts within the context of growing media exposure and responsiveness to the work within the mainstream, 40 years on. Colin Hambrook reflects on ...

Joey Hateley diRTy

DaDaFest 2016: diRTy by Joey Hateley, The Gender Joker

diRTy is a surreal semi-autobiographical performance piece devised by trans artist Joey Hateley, exploring the conflicting personas within one mind and societal attitudes towards gender, with integrated sign language from Siobhan Rocks. It played at Bluecoat on 30 November as part of DaDaFest International 2016. Review by Colin Hambrook. This year’s ...

Deafinitely Theatre appointed Bush Theatre Associate Artist

The Bush Theatre announced today that Deafinitely Theatre will become one of their new Associate Artists. This is part of the launch of a new talent development strategy designed to revolutionise the diversity and quality of artists and artistic leadership in the UK. From 2017, a new cohort of artists will ...

Photo of a large shape covered by brown cloth next to a tree

Auto Agents supports learning disabled artists to take a curatorial lead at The Bluecoat, Liverpool

Bluecoat, Liverpool’s centre for the contemporary arts have launched Auto Agents - an art exhibition curated by the AaA collective, a group of five artists with learning disabilities: Hannah Bellass, Tony Carroll, Diana Disley, Leah Jones and Eddie Rauer. Led by PhD candidate Jade French, the exhibition forms part of the ...

Oil painting of a sunflower

Vince Laws paints ‘Debbie the Sunflower’ for Disabled People Against the Cuts (DPAC)

Artist Vince Laws has been making a series of 100 named Sunflower paintings. While working on the project he heard the sad news that Debbie Jolly, co-founder of Disabled People Against Cuts (DCAP) has died. Debbie’s family and friends have asked that donations be made to DPAC in Debbie’s memory, ...

Photo of actor Nicky Priest wearing a t-shirt

Nicky Priest cuts against the grain to take on the RSC in a new play about Caravaggio

Nicky Priest has begun to make a name for himself principally within stand-up comedy.  He recently landed the part of Danny in the RSC’s forthcoming production of The Seven Acts of Mercy. Colin Hambrook talked to the young actor about the role. “I first heard the Royal Shakespeare Company were looking ...

Monument to the Unintended Performer by Tony Heaton

DASH – The Incorrigibles

The Incorrigibles is a new book produced by DASH which features artwork by, and interviews with, 14 prominent disabled artists, plus essays by way of introduction. The Incorrigibles emerged out of conversations that took place after DASH’s Awkward Bastards conference at the mac in Birmingham in March 2015. Review by ...

Unlimited Commission Opportunities… don’t miss out!

Unlimited is a commissions programme, delivered by ShapeArts and Artsadmin, funded by Arts Council England with additional funding from Arts Council Wales, British Council and Spirit of 2012. In the run-up to the closure of the first Expression of Interest stage of the application process for Unlimited 2017, three previous ...

Photograph of Madlove - Designer Asylum project a woman is looking at the blue diorama with pink model buildings

Bedlam, chaos and the fight to make Psychiatry truthful…

Bedlam: The Asylum and Beyond at Wellcome Collection in London contains an assortment of historical documentation, artwork, ideas and presentations/ interventions. In giving a flavor of the history of mental hospitals, the attitudes and the treatment of people both within the asylums of old and within contemporary mental health service ...

Photograph of Gisele Calazans stretched out across the back of Marc Brew's wheelchair as they hold hands in MayBe

Unlimited: Marc Brew Company: MayBe

In an international co-creation between Natalia Mallo, Gisele Calazans (Brazil) and Glasgow-based Marc Brew, MayBe took place at Tramway's Unlimited Festival in Glasgow on 17-18 September. Review by Colin Hambrook. MayBe is a dance piece crossing boundaries, internationally and artistically using digital screen and lighting interventions choreographed to live music. Marc Brew ...

Gary Gardiner and Ian Johnston in 43 Percent, one of them stands in a dinghy while the other sprays him with water

Unlimited: Ian Johnston and Gary Gardiner: 43 Percent

43 Percent is a dynamic new multi-media work, created by 21st Century Challenges and performed by Gary Gardiner and Ian Johnston, which explores the medical and social definitions of being human. It played at Tramway’s Unlimited Festival 15-16 September 2016. Review by Colin Hambrook. Ian Johnston and Gary Gardiner shared some ...

A photograph of Aairon Williamson standing on a platform surrounded by absurdist furniture. He is joined by a BSL interpreter

Unlimited: Aaron Williamson: Demonstrating the World

Aaron Williamson’s Unlimited-funded (administered by Shape and Artsadmin) Demonstrating the World is a performance art piece that utilises bespoke ‘absurdist furniture’ and was unleashed on the unsuspecting public on London’s Southbank 10 September and Glasgow city centre 16-17 September. Review by Colin Hambrook. Having followed Aaron Williamson’s live art performance since ...

Photograph of a performance of NCA Small Theatre's Hiraeth, a woman lies on a reflective stage, five more performers stand behind her, their heads cocked to one side.

Unlimited: NCA Small Theatre: Hiraeth

A collaboration between the UK’s Candoco Dance Company and Armenia’s first integrated theatre company, NCA Small Theatre, Hiraeth tells a story of migration, statelessness and a longing for home. It played at Tramway as part of the Unlimited Festival 15-16 September 2016. Review by Joe Turnbull. Hiraeth is a Welsh word ...

Black and white headshot of the actor Tim Barlow, in profile

Sheila Hill on her Unlimited commission, HIM

Drawing on recorded conversations between Tim Barlow and Sheila Hill, made over a period of a 20-year friendship, HIM crosses the boundary between theatre and visual art. Colin Hambrook interviews writer/theatre-maker and installation-artist Sheila Hill to find out what motivated the collaboration. My relationship with Tim began 20 years ago when ...

Photograph of Liz Carr performing assisted suicide the musical, a woman in a nurses outfit leans in towards her.

Unlimited: Assisted Suicide the Musical

A Butlin’s redcoat aesthetic, a buddy-song with the Pope and a serious challenging of preconceptions about assisted suicide all rolled into one, Colin Hambrook reviews this ‘TED talk with show tunes,’ which played Southbank Centre 10-11 September and will be at Tramway Glasgow 17-18 September. Since Southbank Centre announced the headliner ...

Dancersm Joel Brown and Laura Patay lay on the ground facing each other, Joel's wheelchair is on its side

Unlimited Festival at Southbank Centre – a round up

Unlimited 2016 has given DAO more of a focus on looking to pitch pieces we write and commission to be published on other platforms, rather than, or as well as on DAO. Our intention is to get word of the Unlimited programme out to as wide a mainstream audience as ...

Photo taken of the panelists during a discussion at Unlimited

Unlimited: Are some more equal than others?

As part of the programme of talks at Unlimited Festival at Southbank Centre, on 10 September Tony Heaton chaired a discussion panel including Claire Cunningham, Rachel Gadsden, Ivan Riches and Nicola Miles-Wildin. Together they tackled the thorny question ‘are some more equal than others’ in the context of the disability ...

Black and white photograph of actor Tim Barlow performing Him

Unlimited: Sheila Hill’s HIM

HIM is a collaborative work, lying somewhere between theatre and visual art. Colin Hambrook reviews this Unlimited commission (administered by Shape and Artsadmin) in which actor Tim Barlow reflects on life aged 80 - a time of looking back at key moments through childhood, adolescence, adulthood and old age as if ...

Photograph of a woman dancing both her hands held aloft in a gesture

Heart n Soul rock the Southbank Centre (literally) with their Beautiful Octopus Club

It has a been a busy Unlimited buzzing with excitement and packed with some excellent art, some good art, wide-ranging from the ridiculous to the sublime and back again. Baluji Shrivastrav summed it up: “This is Unlimited and anything goes!” Friday evening felt like a different festival - a different universe away ...

Claire Cunningham and Jess Curtis face each other, Claire is off the ground on her crutches and has his hands on her shoulders

Unlimited: The Way You Look (At Me) Tonight

Described as a dance, a song, a story, a sculpture, a play, a fight and a journey, The Way You Look (At Me) Tonight by Claire Cunningham and Jess Curtis was an Unlimited commission (delivered by Shape and Artsadmin) and featured at the Southbank Centre on 6- 7 September. Review ...

Photograph of Jess Thom sitting on a chair on a roof terrace

Unlimited: Jess Thom: Sit Down, Stand Up, Roll Over

Billed as a work in progress from a comedian whose unique neurology makes it impossible for her to stay on script, Jess Thom gave her first solo stand-up comedy gig at the Southbank Centre on 6 September as part of Unlimited Festival. Jess Thom has become a bit of an overnight ...

Photo of a male and a female dancer on stage in front of screens showing projections of water

Chisato Minamimura: Passages of Time

In her new work Passage of Time Deaf concept artist and choreographer Chisato Minamimura takes a brand new score and digital artwork that draws upon classical and abstract instrumentation and the construction of music. Showcased for Brighton Digital Festival 2016, Colin Hambrook reviews a hypnotic new dance work that looks ...

photo of Brazilian rapper Billy Saga wearing sun-glasses

Unlimited supports Brazilian rapper Billy Saga’s first UK Tour to London, Bristol and Newcastle

Drake Music, in partnership with Unlimited (delivered by Shape and Artsadmin), are producing the UK tour, as part of their aim to embed work by disabled artists within the cultural sector, reach new audiences and shift perceptions of disabled people. Billy Saga is one of the most authentic and combative MCs ...

Photo of the band for Mind the Gap against a green background

Liberty 2016 gives space for disabled performers

Showcasing the nation’s finest talent in Deaf and disability arts, the Mayor of London’s Liberty Festival offers a day of free live music and entertainment in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Colin Hambrook went along to soak up the vibes and experience the downpour and reported back on a few ...

photo of a performance artist with plastic around his head

Illness and Disability in Radical Performance Practices

In the run up to DAO’s launch of the Viewfinder video platform we had a lively roundtable discussion event last Wednesday in the Pacitti Company’s premises and home of the SPILL Live Art Festival in Ipswich. SPILL Festival has been showcasing radical performance practice since 2007. It stands to reason that ...

photo of a group of young performers on stage. The face of a woman is projected onto a screen behind the performers

DaDaFest Receives Major Funding from Big Lottery Fund for New Artist Development Project

DaDaFest is delighted to announce that the organisation have received a grant of more than £275,000 from Big Lottery Fund to be used for a new project called “DaDaFest Rookies”. The project aims to increase employability within the creative sector for young disabled people through training, mentoring and placements within arts ...

The new look Disability Arts Online site displayed on a computer screen and smartphone.

Disability Arts Online (DAO) announces award of Elevate Funding

Disability Arts Online (DAO) is pleased to announce that we have been awarded £150,000 over three years through the Arts Council’s Elevate programme, designed to strengthen the resilience of art organisations which are not receiving National Portfolio funding in the period 2015–18, but which demonstrate that they make a significant ...

The Balladeer poses in front of a banner reading THREE Opera

Jamie Beddard on disability, politics and his latest role at the National Theatre

For someone who professes to have fallen into arts by accident, Jamie Beddard has had a productive career as an actor. He is currently working with The National Theatre, playing Matthias – one of Mack the Knife’s notorious henchmen in a lavish production of The Threepenny Opera. Colin Hambrook asks ...

poseter image of an aerial performance showing a trapeze artist and an acrobat against a muted green background

Join in a celebration of Bristol culture for everybody!

A new event is happening in Bristol this September and the city’s residents are being encouraged to not just come and watch, but to get involved. This September the city will host Doing Things Differently, an event celebrating equality and participation for every body, hosted by Bristol City Council and ...

Jamie Beddard hams it up as Mack the Knife's henchman Mathias in the National Theatre's production of The Threepenny Opera

It’s time for Disability Arts to finally break the mainstream

Arts organisations and funding bodies have struggled for more than two decades to find ways of presenting work by artists who don’t enter the academic career routes into the arts. Colin Hambrook examines the campaigns from tick-box to creative case and concludes there are no easy answers. I love disability arts ...

photo of the artist and the musician standing on either side of the portrait on an easel

Stories to be told in nationwide portrait events by award winning disabled artist, Tanya Raabe-Webber

A unique project celebrating the diversity of our common humanity through a series of live portrait sittings with high profile sitters in well-known venues, will take place this summer and autumn across the country. Portraits Untold will see acclaimed award winning disabled artist, Tanya Raabe-Webber undertake live portrait sittings that fuse ...

photo of two dancers against a brick wall background

Full programme announced for Southbank Centre’s third Unlimited Festival

The full programme for Unlimited Festival 2016 from Tuesday 6 – Sunday 11 September 2016 is unveiled, showcasing the originality and artistic vision of disabled artists for a third year. The first of two world premieres in the Royal Festival Hall is Assisted Suicide: The Musical, created by disabled activist, ...

Photo of two artists seen from behind, placing sculptural objects on green matting

Venture Arts launch OutsiderXchanges

In collaboration with Castlefield Gallery, BALTIC and the Contemporary Visual Arts Network (CVAN), Venture Arts has launched its pioneering collaborative visual art project OutsiderXchanges - to coincide with Chorlton Arts Festival. The project brings together learning disabled and non-learning disabled artists to develop shared ideas and new contemporary work in a unique ...

Jamie Beddard hams it up as Mack the Knife's henchman Mathias in the National Theatre's production of The Threepenny Opera

The National Theatre present The Threepenny Opera

Exciting, dark, political and funny, The National Theatre’s latest production of Brecht’s Three’penny classic sports a diverse cast of actors including the earthy, comic presence of Jamie Beddard, long-loved veteran of the disability arts movement. Review by Colin Hambrook The Threepenny Opera is one of those pieces of theatre that will ...

photo of dancers

Brighton Festival: Akram Khan Company present Until the Lions

One of the most respected figures in the dance world, Akram Khan returns to Brighton Festival joined by two of his company dancers alongside four musicians providing haunting vocals and soundscape for his new, full-length production Until the Lions. Review by Colin Hambrook. Akram Khan’s genius in fusing the Indian classical ...

Brighton Festival: The Ricochet Project present ‘Smoke and Mirrors’

Ricochet Project weave acrobatic exploitations and high-flying distortions to examine the contorted state of America in the pursuit of happiness in their contemporary circus collaboration ’s Smoke and Mirrors. Review by Colin Hambrook The listing for this show promised a piece that related to mental health issues: “revealing the inner workings of ...

Photo of Simon McBurney lit in shadow and surrounded by blue lights

Brighton Festival: Complicite present 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. The Encounter is an incredibly ambitious, multi-layered piece of storytelling that challenges our linear understanding of time.  A theatre for ...

Promotional photograph for Silent Faces' show Follow Suit featuring the performers in oversized suits throwing paper aeroplanes.

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. Follow Suit as the finale piece creating a perfectly formed ending to the day of discussion and showcase at the iF Platform ...

Emma Stephenson

Emma Stephenson is a London based artist/illustrator working mainly on reportage projects and themes. Her latest project is about her perspective on the world from her wheelchair. I wanted to use the images as an informative tool. Even though I am a wheelchair user I am not defined by the chair. My work ...

Flyer for Daisyfest 2016 featuring an orchestra of young musicians

Hurrah for Daisyfest 2016 in Guildford!

I’m delighted and excited that Daisyfest 2016 has given DisabilityArtsOnline a slot at G Live in Guildford to showcase some of the talent DAO supports through our blogging platform. So, we’re producing an event next month called Words That Defy Normality - a smorgasbord of humorous, reflective, autobiographical poetry and performance from ...

Colourful red and green painting by Mawuena Kattah featuring a stark green background with dozens of red and blue 'eyes'

Intoart announces public fundraising exhibition with over 100 artworks by learning-disabled and autistic artists

Art collective, Intoart, presents its first public fundraising exhibition with over 100 artworks by artists with learning disabilities and autism from the 21-25 June 2016. Intoart present their pop-up exhibition in Fitzrovia, central London, to fundraise for their ongoing studio programme that provides much-needed access to art education and exhibition ...

Thompson Hall painting featuring dark colours, it depicts the view from a window out onto a cityscape, with creeping creatures around the windows.

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. Within the various Creative Minds events that have ...

Sue MacLaine and Nadia Nadarajah stars of Can I Start Again Please? with very long dresses that sprawl out onto the floor. They both have their hands on their heads.

Access at Brighton Festival

Year on year Brighton Festival are making progress with small but important steps in improving the festival’s access offer and are gradually diversifying their audiences. Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival’s Theatre Producer Orla Flanagan talks to DAO about some of the festival’s outcomes, spurred, in part by engagement with Unlimited. 2015 ...

Photo of the four commissioned artists, pictured in a museum archive

Exceptional & Extraordinary: Unruly Bodies and Minds in the Medical Museum

Unique film, dance, performance and comedy commissions draw on museum collections to explore our problematic attitudes towards difference.   Since humans first appeared on earth no two have ever been the same. Yet somewhere along the way, certain bodies and minds came to be highly valued whilst others became viewed as problematic: ...

Jez Colborne pictured on stage in front of a series of video projections of himself

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.  Contained tells everyday stories of ordinary folk. With a ...

the sick lab logo contains the name in white inside a green circle with a test tube SICK! Lab logo

SICK! Lab 2016: A collaborative exploration of identity and trauma

Dedicated to using the performing arts to explore, broadly, the difficult stuff of life, SICK! Lab took place at the Contact Theatre, Manchester from 9th-12th March 2016, showcasing performance, discussion and presentations on the tricky themes of identity and trauma. Colin Hambrook gives an overview, taking the temperature of the ...

Garry Robson as JJ Peachum, King of the Beggars, leads a chorus of policemen in Graeae's touring production of The Threepenny Opera. The policemen pose with their truncheons held high against a stark stage set

Disability: a creative advantage?

Chaired by critic Lyn Gardner, Dao’s editor Colin Hambrook attended a debate at the Arena Theatre, which was part of a series of conversations hosted by the Guardian. A Nation’s Theatre is a joint initiative, from the newspaper and the Battersea Arts Centre highlighting a showcase of innovative theatre made ...

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. The competition, open to disabled ...

Marie-Louise Plum's painting Backyard Wrestling shows two purple-coloured figures grappling. Acrylic on canvas.

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. Curated loosely around themes of portraiture – portraits of the self, portraits of the imagination, ...

A photograph from Ridiculusmus' production, Give Me Your Love. It depicts a man with a box covering the upper part of his body in a stark room, as a hand creeps around the door.

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. As ...

A photograph of Liz Carr as Clarissa Mullery in the BBC's Silent Witness. The image is a close up on her face with a crime scene in the background.

Who draws the line on what is or isn’t a useful life?

The journalist Matthew Parris has a bit of a thing about ‘usefulness’ as an important human trait. When interviewed by disability activist and wheelchair user Baroness Jane Campbell on BBC Radio 4’s first Today programme of 2016, he branded her as “a clearly useful person” because of her place in ...

photo of Jessica Thom in blue superhero costume on a ride in a funfair

2015: The year impairment issues returned to the fore / 17 December 2015

In thinking about my round-up of the highlights of 2015 there are several events that stand out and a changing climate, culturally and politically, which are having an impact on the evolving beast that is disability arts. Last March, and for the third year running, SICK! Festival presented its increasingly influential ...

black and white graphic of psychiatrist R.D. Laing's head divided in two

On the uses of art and polemic in theatre.. Howard Barker and Patrick Marmion battling it out in the same theatre… / 4 December 2015

I went to the Arcola Theatre in Dalston the other night and was dazzled by an unexpected encounter with Howard Barker - considered one of the major writers of modern European theatre. I found myself in the 'wrong' studio as Barker began holding court about the state of Theatre in ...

black and white photo of the face of actor Tim Barlow, taken side-on

Embracing the taboos of ageing and death with Sheila Hill / 2 December 2015

Sheila Hill’s Him was a favourite in the Unlimited showcase at Summerhall in Edinburgh earlier this year. Aside from the quality of the work as a piece of art, the content seemed relevant to me, personally, partly because the panoply of impairment issues I deal with on a daily basis are ...

a picture of a park bench with a series of pie charts assessing how the bench feels about itself

Notes from SICK! Festival… / 17 November 2015

I was invited to be part of the SICK! Festival Thematic Advisory group and recently attended a meeting at The Manchester Museum with a large group of academics, theatre producers/ makers and representatives of Arts and Health organisations. The purpose of the thematic Advisory Group was to help shape the focus ...

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 ...

Early plans of exhibition case using a mix of text and imagery

One Sided?

Since my last blog, I have been thinking about the importance of depicting multiple viewpoints relating to genetic screening in the final piece of work.  In particular, the choice of materials will be integral to the way the concept is explored.  I have been considering a range of options but ...

Oska Bright Film Festival 2015 – Day One

Colin Hambrook reports on Day One of the Oska Bright Film Festival 2015 at the Corn Exchange, Brighton I’ve been going to Oska Bright Festival since it started. It’s a place to catch up with some of the best quality short film from the UK and around the world. As the only ...

A photograph of Jess Thom as Touretteshero in a superhero costume on a carnival ride.

Jess Thom on taking Biscuit Land to the small screen

In partnership with Battersea Arts Centre (BAC) and Arts Council England, BBC Four’s Live From Television Centre will feature a half hour slot from Jess Thom aka Touretteshero. Colin Hambrook caught up with the performer during rehearsals in the BBC studio at Wood Lane. Jess Thom’s career as a comedienne is ...

An easy-read version of DAO’s Creative Minds 2015 Conference reviews

DAO has specially commissioned an easy-read version of Bella Todd and Colin Hambrook's reviews of the Creative Minds 2015 Conference to make them more accessible for learning-disabled people. The document puts the most important points from Bella and Colin's articles side by side. Click here to download the easy-read version of ...

photo of an actor dressed as an elephant standing next to an actor dressed as Hitler

The Creative Minds conference key question: what makes for ‘quality’ in theatre? / 29 October 2015

Coming back from the Creative Minds conference in Ipswich I was mulling over the day's discussion about 'quality' and remembered how six years ago I had the privilege of sitting in on a theatre-devising workshop with Australian theatre company Back to Back. It was very different from anything I’d experienced ...

A photograph of artist and actor Chloe Phillips with another actor in Taking Flight Theatre's production of As You Like It. The other actor has her arm around Chloe's neck

Chloe Phillips explores Audio-Description as a creative tool

Chloe Phillips is an Associate Artist with Taking Flight Theatre, based in Cardiff. Earlier this year she received an Unlimited R&D award to work with the company to produce The Importance of Being Described…Earnestly? - a pilot for a production experimenting with new ideas about audio description. She talks to ...

a cartoon character holds up a glass of wine in a restaurant

Creative Minds one day conference 2015: discussions on the theme of ‘quality’

Creative Minds is an invitation to the learning-disability arts sector to have a conversation about how we define ‘quality’. Colin Hambrook reviews some of the presentations at the conference: how do we know something is quality? And when we do decide what 'quality' is, how do we then talk about ...

An image of the torso of a Rowan James sporting a variety of labels such as 'average', 'awkward', 'dribbler', 'overcome'. He wears a stethoscope attached to his chest

It’s Easy For You To Say: Rowan James and the emergence of ‘impairment-laden’ work by disabled artists / 19 October 2015

I recently caught an ITV news item celebrating the “ordinary heroes of Britain.” An eight-year-old disabled child was put on the spot for being ‘inspirational’ for completing a triathlon. It was notable because the lad was much too sharp to be fooled by media patronising bollocks: “I don’t even know ...

photo of performer and writer Jackie Hagan sitting in a bathroom

Creative Future host readings from their anthology of impossible things / 29 September 2015

Last night the Free Word Centre in Holborn played host to writers from the Creative Future Literary Award ceremony reading poetry and prose pieces on the theme of ‘impossible things’. With support from Lemn Sissay and Maggie Gee and prizes of cash and mentoring from the Literary Consultancy the room ...

Photo of Film/ TV Director Bim Ajadi wearing a puffa jacket and green baseball cap

Film/TV Director Bim Ajadi on his career so far

Award-winning filmmaker Bim Ajadi’s credits include co-directing a film for Channel 4 shown at the London Paralympic Ceremony in 2012. With a media career spanning almost 15 years, Colin Hambrook asked Ajadi about his professional journey so far and his ongoing commitment to nurturing fellow Deaf talent, as he prepares ...

The Live Art Development Agency launch a book and DVD of Katherine Araniello’s ‘The Dinner Party Revisited’ / 17 September 2015

There are only a few days left to view Katherine Araniello’s The Dinner Party Revisited on the Live Art Development Agencies LADA Screens platform. The audio-described version of The Dinner Party Revisited is a good example of using creative description to add another layer within a work of art  - ...