Brighton Fringe has announced Alison Lapper MBE as their new Freedom Season Ambassador. Brighton Fringe’s Freedom Season was created in 2018 as a way for D/deaf, disabled and neurodiverse audiences and artists to access the festival more easily.
Alison Lapper is a renowned artist, television presenter and speaker who is also well known for being the subject of the sculpture Alison Lapper Pregnant, which was on display the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square from September 2005 until late 2007. Alison said:
“I am so thrilled and excited that I was asked to be the Freedom Season Ambassador for Brighton Fringe 2020. The Freedom Season gives accessibility to artists who wouldn’t normally have it. It is extremely important as it gives disabled people the opportunity to explore and experiment in different spaces, with a wide range of artists who they might not normally meet.
“It helps disabled artists to be involved with and be part of community projects and allows them to express themselves on the same level as other artists and performers. I can’t express enough how psychologically important this kind of project is for disabled people to be seen as on the same level platform as everybody else. The Freedom Season allows us to be artists like any other artists, and not just ‘disabled artists’. There seems to be an unseen glass wall that keeps us apart from other artists and I know that the Freedom Season is helping to smash through that wall.”
The season highlights events and venues that are accessible to those with visible and invisible impairments as well as events that are made by disabled people. In 2019 there were more than 150 events that provided performances for people with different access needs including touch tours, BSL interpretation, audio described and captioned performances.
The first release of Brighton Fringe 2020 shows announced last December included 26 accessible events that form the first part of this year’s Freedom Season. The programme includes ‘Till We Win’ by Extraordinary Bodies Young Artists who are the first recipients of the new University of Brighton Freedom Season bursary.
A university spokesperson said: “Inclusivity is a core value of the University, and we are very proud to be able to support such an initiative alongside our alumna Ali Lapper, and to host Extraordinary Bodies Young Artists’ performance at the University’s Sallis Benney Theatre in May.”
The bursary, worth up to £500, supports D/deaf, disabled and neurodiverse artists at Brighton Fringe by offering a free registration, rehearsal space and venue for an event.
Extraordinary Bodies Young Artists said: “We are delighted to be able to bring our performance to Brighton Fringe for the first time this year thanks to the University of Brighton Freedom Season Bursary. We cannot wait to come and we are absolutely thrilled to be part of Brighton Fringe 2020.”