National Paralympic Day and Liberty Festival returns to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park


The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has announced plans for this year’s ground-breaking National Paralympic Day and Liberty Festival, which returns to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on Saturday 3 September, featuring world-premiere shows, giant interactive games and ParalympicsGB Carnival.

A photograph of a group of people dancing around outside a red London bus

Big Dance Bus Liberty Festival Olympic Park Photo credit Charlene Davies

Taking place four years on from the London 2012 Paralympic Games, and just four days ahead of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, National Paralympic Day and Liberty Festival is family-friendly event, offering a huge range of ‘come and try’ inclusive sports for all, alongside the country’s foremost outdoor showcase for Deaf and disability arts.

Festival-goers will have the opportunity to get into the Paralympic spirit by trying out different disability and inclusive sports for free. These will include wheelchair basketball, cycling, tennis and boccia, presented by the British Paralympic Association’s ParalympicsGB Carnival, and local community sports project, Motivate East. There will also be an exclusive fanzone, giving people the chance to find out more about the Paralympic Games and meet ParalympicsGB medalists.

Two performers holding hands, one is standing vertical the other laid out horizontal with 8 legs.

Grotteschi ‘Vertical’ photograph by Catherine Chappell

Liberty Festival features an exciting programme of music, dance, theatre, poetry, art and film. Highlights include premieres of two new outdoor shows; ‘Nodus Tollens’, from Deaf and Hearing Ensemble, set around a large smoking ‘volcano’ where underground dwellers emerge into the world and interact with the audience. Also unveiled at the festival is Bingo Lingo, a big new collaboration from Nicola Miles Wildin and Daryl Beeton, centred around a giant outdoor participatory bingo game. Both shows have been commissioned especially for the Liberty Festival thanks to support from Arts Council England.

The Liberty line-up also includes a London premiere from New Zealand based integrated dance company Touch Compass, who will present their duet Grotteschi; the Up! Orchestra, a large scale musical project with learning disabled musicians, featuring Brazilian artists, supported by the Embassy of Brazil; Mind the Gap Band featuring Jez Colborne; Norwich based Indie band Hemingway; Kris Halpin, who uses Mimu gloves technology in his performances; disability campaigning band Rockinpaddy led by John Kelly; Lizzie Emeh Big Band, who has recently released her new EP; soprano Victoria Oruwari, and, working in association with Drake Music, Brazilian rapper, Billy Saga. Newham based organisation Together! 2012 will also present a community programme of film, comedy, music, poetry, theatre and dance.

Also not to be missed will be Colourscape in collaboration Laura Dajao, a giant inflatable, walk through installation, hosting a specially created multi-sensory performance, the ‘Symphony of the Senses’, combining music, dance and use of fragrance. Other highlights are Amelia Cavallo’s new commission “Sailing Through The Dark”, Marc Brew Company’s ‘Uchronia’, presented by Sadler’s Wells, and an afternoon of performances at the Big Dance Bus.

Presented by the Mayor of London, the London Legacy Development Corporation and the British Paralympic Association, National Paralympic Day and Liberty Festival is generously supported by Spirit of 2012 and Arts Council England.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said:

“As Mayor for all Londoners, I will do all I can to make our city the most accessible and inclusive place in the world. I want everyone to be able to make the most of everything the capital has to offer – in work, travel, leisure, culture, arts and sport. National Paralympic Day and Liberty Festival does just that and truly reflects why London is the greatest city in the world – it is ground-breaking, inclusive and diverse. The line-up at this year’s festival is fantastic; as well as hosting world-premiere performances and art from the best of Deaf and disabled artists, the day is action-packed with sports for all, ensuring everyone is geared up for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games just a few days later. It is not to be missed!”