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Liverpool’s DaDaFest returns with full revival programme

DaDaFest International Festival returns to Liverpool this month with a huge programme of theatre and other work by disabled, deaf and neuro-divergent artists and performers.

This year’s festival, under the title Hybrid, runs over six weeks from October 26 to December 3 at venues across the city including the Unity Theatre, Bluecoat, the Museum of Liverpool and St Helens Library – as well as online.

The festival programme features national collaborations, joint commissions, programme sharing and organisational development covering disabled and non-disabled artists, plus local partnerships working collaboratively to support local established and emerging artists.

Rosa Faye Garland in Trash Salad
Rosa Faye Garland in Trash Salad

Artists include Rosa Faye Garland, a performer and clown, in Trash Salad, a genre-bending burlesque adventure using lip-sync, striptease and song, which was a cult hit at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe.

The programme continues on October 27 with 24, 23, 22, a “little earthquake” of a gig-theatre show from Nottingham-based theatre company Chronic Insanity.

October 28 brings queer, neuro-divergent Kadisha Kayani in Sunshine and Shadows. It’s mid-covid and 19-year-old Estelle is feeling alone and reflective. When her relationship between her best friends is put to the test, and in the era of social media, will she feel like this forever or will she begin to face her fears?

Deaf actor, theatre and textile designer Rhiannon May presents Crash Landing: A Theatrical Sensory Experience on October 29, which invites its audience to “plunge into the chaotic world of Planet Zoe”.

The second week of the festival takes place online and on demand until December 18 and features Hera’s We Ask These Questions of Everybody, Past Life by Alice Christina-Corrigan, Flight Paths by Extant – one of the UK’s leading professional performing arts companies of visually-impaired artists and theatre practitioners, and Rachel Parry’s Malper.

"We Ask These Questions of Everybody" - transforms a benefits interview into opera, and shares surprising disabled perspectives on society
"We Ask These Questions of Everybody" - transforms a benefits interview into opera, and shares surprising disabled perspectives on society

The festival also has exhibitions, a DaDa Academy Digital Showcase – an online collaboration between young people at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital and the Young Musicians Ensemble, which runs from November 7. The Museum of Liverpool will stage an exhibition that is part of Shielded in the Community, a disabled-led project that gathered artistic responses to shielding from disabled people in the North-West, responding to prompts from professional artists (from November 16, coinciding with the start of Disability History Month).

The festival features lectures, performance pieces, cross-cultural art, poetry and other art forms. Full programme on the link below.

DaDa was founded in 1984 (the first festival was in 2001) and develops disability and deaf art works through a multi-art form programme that includes festivals, interventions and events, as well as a year-round programme of engagement work with developing and established artists, young disabled, deaf and neuro-divergent people, their families and the wider community.

Festival executive producer Joe Strickland said: “The festival title and theme, Hybrid, highlights our continued approach to presenting work post-lockdown. We are always working to find ways of making work more widely accessible without compromising quality.

“This year, we have aimed to support artists to experiment with new approaches to inclusive and integrated access and develop their own skills and style of inclusive practice.”

The festival operates a “pay what you decide” policy, with tickets for individual events ranging from a suggested £10 to £8 for concessions, £5 half-price and free.

The full festival programme and tickets can be found here

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