Chester's Pride in Disability festival returns


Images from the 2018 Chester Kaleidoscope Festival
Images from the 2018 festival

Neurodiversity and the talents of Chester people living with a learning disability will be celebrated when Storyhouse’s Kaleidoscope Festival returns this summer for the first time in three years. The week-long event (July 11-18), celebrates neurodiversity and inclusion and will include a varied programme of events and activities. It opens on July 11 when the second Chester Disability Pride Parade fills the city centre with colour. Hundreds of supporters are expected to take part in what is one of only two such UK events (Brighton being the other), which aim to raise awareness of the 14.1 million people living with a disability.

On July 12, Storyhouse’s Garret Theatre is the venue for a 60-minute Sing Along Songs from Stage and Screen, followed by Merseyside disability theatre company RAWD’s FLASHMOB.

If you are 14 or over and identify as disabled, join the RAWD gang to learn a Greatest Showman-themed routine and then take over the Storyhouse Kitchen as part of a fun-filled flashmob.

July 13 has a pop-up Kaleidoscope Makers' Market for people to sell their hand-made items including makers from VIVO Diversity Designs in Chester. A series of short films, all made by people living with a learning disability, autism or Aspergers, will be screened in the Storyhouse Cinema.

The Stage is Yours (July 14), offers dance, drama and music performances in the Garret Theatre.

July 15 is Kaleidoscope Club Night which will launch a new monthly event in the Garret Theatre. Storyhouse’s restaurant, The Kitchen, is the venue for MiniFest on July 17, which will fill the space with music and dance. The event features youngsters from Space Cheshire, who will perform with their teachers from House of Dance and an hour-long set of original songs from the Artful Playground Band.

Finally, on July 18, there’s a chance to glam-up and hit the red carpet for the Kaleidoscope Awards and Festival Film Premiere.

All events during the week are free with a festival pass, but some have limited capacity and require pre-booking.

You can book passes for your group by emailing alex.atkinson@storyhouse.com or buy online at storyhouse.com

Storyhouse communities manager Nicola Haigh said: “The Kaleidoscope Festival was a huge success when we last held it in 2019. “It was planned to be an annual event, but the Covid pandemic meant we had to postpone it.

"What better way to relaunch the festival than with our second Chester Disability Pride Parade? Chester is one of only a handful of places across the world that celebrates Disability Pride in this way. I’m really proud the city is leading from the front - it should be an amazing and memorable day.”