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Owen Lowery reading at the Southbank Centre on 7 September

17 September 2014

Blog Unlimited 2014

up close portrait of Owen Lowery, poet, with his face turned side-on

By John O'Donoghue I was a little underwhelmed last week by the Poetry Book Society’s announcement of the ‘Next Generation of 20 Poets' expected to dominate the poetry landscape of the coming decade.’ For one thing I’m sceptical about marketing campaigns that seek to highlight poets and poetry.  The Great British Public seems as indifferent to their bards as they are to their politicians, as if the two tribes are becoming beleaguered, endangered species. And...

Playing with words and rolling the terminal roof in Yokohama.

17 September 2014

Blog Gini

looking down on the wood-clad roof/floor of the terminal building at people sunbathing, relaxing and promenading. Looking inland with Yokohama skyline as a backdrop, you can just fit glimpses of blue sea on each side of the building.In white paint on the

Yokohama is also a familiar destination, the annual visit to its Chinatown being a regular enticement. Sadly this year our favourite dim sum restaurant has closed. Friends choosing the alternative venue are carnivores and simply don't understand eating without meat. But one of them has spent time in a wheelchair and has an understanding of access requirements. Shopping for strange Chinese goods is part of the deal, browsing the two main, crowded streets, is fascinating and as usual the...

Making language visual: an interview with Jean St Clair

17 September 2014

Blog Kaite O'Reilly

Photo of Jean St Clair collaged in half in two separate photos. In one she wears a dark blue suit and in the one a light grey suit. She stares at the viewer with an intense expression

British Sign Language (BSL)  creative consultant and performer Jean St Clair has been a close friend and collaborator for a dozen years. She has worked with me on many productions – advising on translation/ reinvention from spoken/written language into visual language with National Theatre Wales (‘In Water I’m Weightless’, 2012), Graeae (‘peeling’ 2002) and now for a second time with Forest Forge Theatre company (‘peeling’ 2011, ‘Woman...

On walking wheels in Ginza...

16 September 2014

Blog Gini

This is a photograph of two telephone booths, one twice as wide as the other. they are both black metal framed with lots of glass. The door of the wider both does not extend to the ground, but stops about 3/4 of the way down. the handle is close to the bo

A visit or so ago I discovered the most sparkly wheelchair on display on the designer floor of a Tokyo department store. I attempted to enquire about this diamanté encrusted spectacle, but could find no-one able to tell me more. I kept an eye on the space. The chair disappeared for a while, but now it's back together with the words 'walking chair' - I'm thinking about that... Not one day goes by without seeing someone with a visible disability out on the streets,...

'Happy to be Me': panel discussion at the Southbank Centre on 6 September

16 September 2014

Blog Unlimited 2014

photo of performer Claire Cunningham under a red light surrounded by religious imagery

By Emmeline Burdett ‘Happy to be Me’ was chaired by Jude Kelly, featuring the disabled artists Liz Carr, Alex Bulmer, Claire Cunningham and Katherine Araniello. The subject under discussion was the ways in which disabled artists use art to get across ideas about impairment and disability which often differ markedly from those to be found in mainstream discourse. To this end, the session opened with a performance of the opening number from Liz Carr and Alex Bulmer’s...

Review: Actors Touring Company [ATC]: Blind Hamlet

15 September 2014


Produced by Actors Touring Company [ATC] Blind Hamlet is currently doing the rounds on a nationwide tour. Written by Iranian playwright Nassim Soleimanpour, best known for his work White Rabbit, Red Rabbit, Colin Hambrook looks at how the author plays with theatrical convention using an exemplary charm and wit to explore metaphors on ‘sight’ and 'truth'

Review: Unlimited 2014: Caroline Bowditch: Falling in Love with Frida

13 September 2014


Combining monologue and dance, Caroline Bowditch’s Falling in Love with Frida is a passionate reclamation of Frida Kahlo as a disabled artist and a reflection on how we are remembered by others. Victoria Wright reviews a performance at the Queen Elizabeth Hall as part of the Unlimited Festival.

Unlimited 2014: Touretteshero: Backstage in Biscuit Land

13 September 2014


Victoria Wright learns never to put an elephant in an enveleope after experiencing Jess Thom, aka Touretteshero, and her accomplice Jess Mabel Jones performing Backstage in Biscuit Land as part of Unlimited at the Southbank Centre.

Review: Penny Pepper: Lost in Spaces

11 September 2014


Award winning writer, poet, performer and rights activist, Penny Pepper presented her highly anticipated, unique one-woman show, Lost in Spaces at the Soho Theatre last Monday. Review by Colin Hambrook

Review: Unlimited 2014: Jo Bannon: Exposure

10 September 2014


Jo Bannon's Exposure was a ten minute one-on-one performance event, which took place in a room on the fourth floor of the Royal Festival Hall. Sue Austin describes its impact on her in the context of her own live performance art


Unlimited 2014: Chisato Minamimura: Ring the Changes+

29 August 2014


Whilst eagerly awaiting the delights of Unlimited Festival next week, Sarah Pickthall attended a recent sharing of work in progress of Chisato Minamimura’s commissioned work Ring the Changes+ at TripSpace Studios in Haggerston - a collaboration produced by digital artist Nick Rothwell and Body>Data >Space.


Interview: Unlimited 2014: Ian Johnston: Dancer

18 August 2014


Created with the late Adrian Howells, 'Dancer' is a gentle provocation on what it is to be a 'dancer'. Producer Lucy Gaizely answered a few of Dao’s questions about what promises to be a fun and thought-provoking show in the Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre on Saturday 6 September.

Interview: Unlimited 2014: Owen Lowery: Otherwise Unchanged

12 August 2014


Owen Lowery is the author of a volume of poetry, Otherwise Unchanged (Carcanet 2012), and is the recipient of an Unlimited award. John O’Donoghue interviewed the poet by email about the inspiration, form and development of his work providing an insight into his creative identity. What follows is an edited version of this correspondence.

SenseAbility presentation: Ten Years of Dao: a potted history

17 June 2014


Dao Editor Colin Hambrook was invited to speak about Disability Arts Online at SenseAbility – an event held at the Pound Arts Centre, Corsham from 10-14 June. The festival, exploring inclusion in the arts and community, was organized by Tanvir Bush in partnership with Bath Spa University. This feature contains a transcript of his presentation

Gallery: Shape Creative Steps: David Hevey documentaries

9 June 2014


As part of London-based disability arts development agency, Shape's Creative Steps programme, seven disabled creative practitioners participated in a series of fascinating film documentaries. Made by award-winning director, screenwriter and photographer, David Hevey, the purpose of this documentary-series is to act as a calling card  highlighting the talents of the disabled artists that Shape supports - and who in turn, support...

Poetry: Penny Pepper: Lost in Spaces

19 May 2014


Penny Pepper is a writer, poet and performer with an extraordinary versatility to her work. Genre-defying and quirky, her work is infused with her passion as a veteran disability arts activist.

Poetry: Julie McNamara: Chaos Calls

17 May 2014


Julie McNamara has been a tour de force within the field of Disability Arts for more than twenty years. Her current theatre work: Let Me Stay is a recipient of an Unlimited 2014 award, and is currently touring. Julie has also had her poetry published in several anthologies. Below Dao previews a selection from her first collection Chaos Calls, published by Vital Xposure.

Poetry: Owen Lowery: Otherwise Unchanged

12 May 2014


Writing and studying poetry was initially part of Owen Lowery's recovery following a spinal injury incurred while competing in a charity judo tournament as a young professional sportsman. Having recently won an Unlimited Award, Lowery's first major poetry collection, 'Otherwise Unchanged', was published by Carcanet in 2012. The work speaks in a range of voices, drawing from poetic traditions far and wide.