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Shape founded 1977.

Basic Theatre Company founded by Ray Harrison Graham

Community and Recreational Arts in Barnet (later to become Community Focus) founded to enable everyone to participate in the arts, to overcome barriers and to help people develop their artistic skills to its full potential.


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Graeae (Theatre group of Disabled People) founded by Nabil Shaban and Richard Tomlinson. First production: Sideshow.

British Council of Organisations of Disabled People founded.


International Year of Disabled People

Carry On Cripple season of feature films about disability at National Film Theatre, programmed by Allan Sutherland and Steve Dwoskin.

Artsline founded.

Path Productions founded, then the only company to integrate the able-bodied, physically and mentally disabled performers.

Oily Cart founded, aiming to provide theatre for the very young and for young people with complex learning disabilities


Strathcona Theatre first public performance.


First Covent Garden Day of Disabled Artists (Organised by Geof Armstrong, then worker for Shape).


Fair Play campaign for disabled people in the arts founded.

Strathcona Theatre Company Now and Then.


GLC funds 7 month pioneer project for No Kidding, a project using puppets to increase awareness of disability in Junior Schools. Company of four performers with and without disabilities.

Ellen Wilkie Pithy Poems published.

Strathcona Theatre Company: Tonight at Eight

Samena Rana speaks on Disability and Photography as part of Black Arts Forum weekend (25 Oct: ICA).


John McGrath appointed Development Officer for Arts Integration Merseyside, a Shape type service, with funding from Merseyside Arts. Later job-sharing with a disabled woman, Mandy Colleran. By 1987 the organisation will have two disabled women workers and a Users Committee of 90% disabled people. It will later become North West Disability Arts Forum (NWDAF).

Working Parts formed with the aim of promoting visual theatre, puppetry and music by and for disabled people through performance and/or workshops. Funded by Haringey Arts Council

Workshops at Mulberry Day Centre Deptford - the start of what will become Heart 'n' Soul - run by Shape and the Albany Empire, Deptford. Their first show is The Great Rock and Roll Dance, in which they are joined by jazz group Jodelko. Subsequently, they get bookings from Covent Garden Disabled Artists Day, Lewisham People's Day, LDAF event at Watermans and a tour of Shape venues.

Strathcona Theatre Company: This Very Same Hall

Mockbeggar Theatre Company set up.

Arts Integration Merseyside (later to become North West Disability Arts Forum) withdraws from the Shape Network at the Chorley Conference.

Disability Arts Forum Day Disability - Our Arts, Our Culture, (26 July: Albany Centre)

National Youth Theatre of the Deaf Cabaret

  • Discussion
  • Graeae Theatre (Pictures show Sideshow, with Jag Plah, Maggie Woolley)
  • Adam Reynolds, sculpture
  • Sets up London Disability Arts Forum Steering Group. Members: Michael Abelson, Geof Armstrong, Haim Attar, Rudi Breakwell-Bos, Linda Bunn, Lawrence Dawkins, Andrew Dick, Kathy Fenton, Vic Finkelstein, Clair Graydon-James, Chris Harrison, Stephen Herbert, Stella Hutton, Jan Jodelko, Clifford Kent, John Mason, Martin Norris, Jean Poitevin, Kate Portal, Geraldine Quinn, Anne Rae, Adam Reynolds, Dorothy Rolston, Angela Smith, Michael Turner, Sian Vasey, Anna Young
  • Photos of the day by CLIC (Community Links in Camera)
  • Organised by representatives of Shape, Artsline, Graeae Theatre Company, Haringey Disability Association, Strathcona and Greenwich Association for Disabled People

November 1986

First issue of Disability Arts in London (DAIL) edited by Artsline. Sian Vasey, Michael Hempstead, Pat Place, Claire Wheeler, Rudi Breakwell-Bos. The magazine is co-owned by LDAF, Artslineand Arts Media Group.

Common Ground Sign Dance Theatre set up.

Origins of Room Temperature Exhibition with Adam Reynolds, Nicola Oxley and Nicolas de Oliviera. (Adam Gallery, Walcot Square)

Rainmaker picture story theatre on tour. Exists to bring enjoyment and appreciation of theatre at a high artistic and professional level to all children, especially the partially hearing. Company includes Tim Barlow who has severe hearing loss himself.

Replacement funding for No Kidding agreed with ILEA.

Moving On '86 Festival of Arts by Disabled People. Artists include Isobel Ward. (Chat's Palace, E9)

December 1986

Ellen Wilkie scripting new video with Double Exposure.

Gemini Arts presents We must Go by Magic Box Theatre Co (10 Dec: Special Education Centre, Lissom Grove).

Shape workshop exhibition. An exhibition of sculpture and photographs of activities and work done by Shape workshops for mentally handicapped young people (5 - 8 Dec: Hammond Community Centre NW1)

LDAF Christmas party, Boundary Road, December 86. Music from Jodelko. Poems by Ellie Wilkie.

Annual conference of Shape network workers and associates. Paper by Vic Finkelstein (LDAF, BCODP and OU). One of the themes was that disabled people constitute an oppressed group in society.

Resolution passed that a working party of disabled people should draft a comprehensive Shape network policy document about its future work with disabled people and the arts.


Heart 'n' Soul founded

Simon Brisenden, Poems for Perfect People (Self published)

Community Focus move to Tedder Lounge, a fully accessible art and photography studio, including a professionally equipped darkroom.

January 1987

DAIL reports the cancellation of two planned conferences:

  • Artability, organised by Carnegie Council to follow up Attenborough report on the Arts and Disabled People (published 1986). Organised without consultation with disabled people. Protests at its emphasis on art therapy and on administrators letting us into the arts world, rather than on our own creativity. Concern about high ticket cost and access.
  • Why Not?. Initiative of West Sussex Association for the Disabled and Arun district council. Intended to be a practical, hard-working conference which aims to tackle and solve the problems preventing nearly 5,000,000 disabled people from enjoying the arts and entertainment. Cancelled because of low number of people wanting to attend.

Contrasts with success of day conference Disability - Our Arts, Our Culture, conceived, planned and executed by disabled people, which led directly to setting up of London Disability Arts Forum (LDAF).

Path Productions present Godspell with Nabil Shaban, Jag Plah and Rashmi Kawa, Fio Dennison, Ellie Hames.(Jan 6 - 17: Jeanetta Cochrane Theatre, WC1,).

We Are Human Too Photographs of children with disabilities and of disabled people in the performing arts by Sam Tanner (12 Jan - 4 Feb: Cockpit Gallery, WC1). Sam has also worked with Amici, Strathcona and Double Exposure theatre companies taking photos of them at work.

Discussion of representations of people with disabilities, with Sam present to talk about his work. (14 Jan: Cockpit Gallery, WC1).

February 1987

Deaf artist Trevor Landell awarded place to study for MA in print-making at Royal College of Arts.

Arts Week for People with and without Disabilities (Feb 23 - 28: Hoxton Hall)

  • Challenging Images and Labels or How to Speak for Yourself. A session exploring the situation of people with mental handicap/learning difficulty through video and discussion. Led by Rowena Field and Sue Pascall of the Huddleston Centre. (Feb 23)
  • Informal afternoon where people with disabilities will share skills with each other. Short play by Stonebridge Training Centre Drama Group. (Feb 24) Out in the Big City, a new play by Hoxton Hall Disabled Drama Group, about a young girl who is rejected by her family when she becomes pregnant and turns to drifting in a big city. (Feb 25)
  • Graeae Theatre Company, A Comedy by Ron White (an American playwright who is disabled) (Feb 27)
  • Arts Day for Everyone. Workshops in dance, drama and music for people with and without disabilities. Day ends with the Mulberry Crew from Lewisham, a group of disabled musicians, performing their own songs. (Feb 28)
  • Exhibition of art by disabled artists.

Meeting of LDAF steering committee includes "an enjoyable and interesting discussion on how we can deal with the problems of being involved in the research for an artistic venture, such as a play, and then having no control over the way disability is portrayed in the final product. Could LDAF become a regulatory body, or is this verging on censorship?"

March 1987

DAIL gets its first full-time editor: Elspeth Morrison.

Opening of accessible darkroom at Camerawork in Tower Hamlets by Ian Dury and The Frank Chickens.

Theatre of Black Women present The Cripple by Ruth Harris. Ruth Harris is a disabled person, writes and directs this play based on the true story of Pauline Wiltshire, who was born in Jamaica and now lives in London.

April 1987

Disability - Our Arts, Our Culture, Live Launch of LDAF (25 April: Watermans Centre, Brentford)

  • LDAF voted into being. First LDAF Executive elected.
  • Goats Rehearsed reading by Graeae Theatre Company of script by Allan Sutherland
  • Kate Portal
  • Ian Dury
  • Peter Street
  • Path Productions Godspell
  • Thomas Joseph
  • Speech by Vic Finkelstein

Maggie Woolley, presenter of See Hear is appointed Assistant Producer, the first deaf person ever to achieve this in National TV.

May 1987

Haringey's first Disability Arts Festival (9 May: Selby Community Centre, Tottenham)

Half Moon Young People's Theatre launch youth theatre for young people with physical disabilities. Nic Fine and Hamish MacDonald co-ordinate the programme. Both have worked with Graeae Theatre Company and are members of Double Exposure, an integrated company.

Heart 'n' Soul at Albany Empire. Founded 1986 as the Mulberry Crew, they have recently changed their name. (20 - 23 May)

Pardon Mr Punch by Penny Casdagli. Unicorn summer tour. Aimed at 6 - 12 year olds for integrated audiences of deaf and hearing children.

Disabled artist Alan Thornhill showing work at Morley Gallery. (1 - 22 May)

June 1987

1 day seminar at the I.B.A. to discuss Images and Employment of Disabled People in Television. Organised by FAIRPLAY - Campaign for Equal Opportunities in the arts for People with Disabilities. (June 4)

Graeae Theatre Company's grant application to Arts Council is refused. Its autumn tour Face Value the first women's show by Graeae is faced with being cancelled as a result? Will also mean cancellation of Graeae's traineeship for a disabled director. But other departments of the Arts Council have supported the project. The New Writing Committee has given a grant to cover half the writer's fee and the Training Department is due to fund half the trainee directorship. Talks are still going on…

Hidden Art (June 22 - July 3: Morley Gallery), will include various disabled artists

Arts Integration weekend at the Albany Empire to bring disabled and other people together. Organised by the British Theatre Association in Conjunction with Graeae Theatre Company, Greenwich Young People's Theatre, Link Up Theatre and Shape.

  • Voice/music session led by Janet Wyatt
  • Mime by Tim Barlow
  • Dance by Wolfgang Stange
  • Visual/tactile art by Adam Reynolds and Trevor Landell

Vision of the Inner Eye seminar and Tactile Exhibition at Oxford Polytechnic, including pottery by Mary Shaw.

July 1987

Michael Turner completes placement for disabled administrator at Battersea Arts Centre.

No Kidding advertises for Director, Administrator and Performers

Royal Academy Day for Disabled People during Summer Exhibition (July 27)

Path Productions The Beggars' Opera (16 - 25 July: Jeanetta Cochrane Theatre, WC1) Issy Schlissleman as MacHeath and Kate Portal as Polly Peachum.

Shape, Graeae Theatre Company and Lewisham Arts hold a Seminar Focussing on the Arts and Disabled People (July 22: Albany Empire)

Graeae Theatre Company and NBHS Training Course 1987 Training for the Theatre (July 22 - 25: Albany Empire)

9 - 12 July, Talent '87 conference at Bulmershe Resource Centre to discuss employment opportunities for disabled people in the arts, funded by the Bureau for Action in Favour of Disabled People, an EEC organisation.

The disabled people present place two motions before the conference, requesting that the conference mandates all the Disabled participants, with their advocates, when invited, to seek funds to ensure that they can come together to:

  1. Meet with the Bureau for Action in Favour of Disabled People to discuss the issues and initiatives that have arisen during this conference and to ensure that the recommendations of the conference become practical action, and
  2. To find ways of involving other Disabled people in directing the recommendations until the steering group becomes a democratically elected body.

Both motions and all recommendations are accepted by the conference.

One day seminar at IBA headquarters on Images and Employment of Disabled People in Television, organised by Fair Play, the Campaign for Equal Opportunities in the Arts for People with Disabilities.

August 1987

2 Aug, Day for Artists with Disabilities, Covent Garden

  • Artists include Isobel Ward Band, Heart 'n' Soul, Lee Baxter and Common Ground Sign Dance Theatre, Graeae Amateur Group, Kate Portal. Poetry readings by Simon Brisenden and Peter Street, Reading of play by Roger Edwards. Music by Geoff Chilkes and Claire Graydon-James.
  • The Lizard's Tongue, performed by Carousel (initially very tedious and later plainly an adaptation of a workshop.)
  • Happy-Go-Lucky Wheelchair Dancers (nothing more than musical physiotherapy)
  • Visual artists Gill Gerhardi, Samena Rana and Trevor Landell

Café of Dreams Double Exposure production. I8 person integrated cast, including Jackie Birtles and Dave Kent.

Integrated puppetry weekend at the Puppet Centre. Participants include artist Nancy Willis.

23 Aug: Unicorn Theatre seminar on Theatre Writing for Integrated Audiences of Deaf and Hearing Children. Run by Penny Casdagli. Performance of Pardon, Mr Punch? by Penny Casdagli, d Sue Parrish with cast of deaf and hearing actors, including Ray Harrison as Graham.

September 1987

CRAB (Community and Recreational Arts in Barnet) organise 10 week course for disabled photographers. Designed to enable participants to pass on photographic skills effectively.

The Arts and Disabled People, seminar of 40 people at the Albany Centre, Deptford, comes to a stop when the 7 disabled people present, led by Anne Rae, Chair of LDAF, withdraw to consider their position.

CHANCES Open Day at Wigan Pier complex. CHANCES is an Arts organisation based in the North of England which aims to bring together disabled and able-bodied artists.

Common Ground Sign Dance Theatre. Current shows: Light Cycle 5 and Home to Happyland.

Margrethe de Neergard, recently appointed Arts Council Disability Officer, dies.

October 1987

Oct 10 Representing Disability. Camerawork conference.

  • Chair Chris Davies.
  • Speakers: Anita Munsell (Spastics Society), Philipa Potts (Open University), Ron Greenwood, speaker from INVALID, Mandy Colleran, CLIC, Chris Killick

Victory over funding for Graeae Theatre Company after an all-day meeting at which the re-application was considered.

Oct 25 Deaf Broadcasting Campaign lobby Television Centre (and other TV studios across the country) to demand "a daily 30 minute national news programme on at least one television channel, using Sign Language and subtitles as well as voice".

LDAF advertises for Development Worker. Geof Armstrong is subsequently appointed.

November 1987

Moving On '87. Festival of Arts by Disabled People. Artists include Heart 'n' Soul, Jodelko, Ellie Wilkie and Graeae TIE team. Mandy Colleran leads discussion on integration. (Chat's Palace, E9)

Meniscus. Exhibition of work by visually-impaired artist Jennifer Maskell-Parker at the Dance Attic, Putney. Taped commentary (but only 1 tape/Walkman).

A Private View, new Graeae Theatre Company touring show, starts at Watermans, Brentford Nov 3rd. All woman cast and production team. An ironic comedy that commences in an art class and ends in an art robbery.

28 Nov Disability Arts Day, Stoke on Trent.

  • Keynote speech: Sian Vasey
  • Discussion groups led by Sian Vasey, Elspeth Morrison, Allan Sutherland and Dennis Killin
  • Geof Armstrong and Maggie Hampton lead drama workshop
  • Day chaired by Annie Whitehurst

December 1987

Elizabeth Hill. Painter with MS, who lives and works in St Andrews, exhibits at Sayat Nova Gallery, Archway.

A Private View touring until 30th Jan.

LDAF Christmas party, (11 Dec, Swiss Cottage Community Centre). A Private View and party.

Puppetworks present the Sun and Moon Club, arts project for young people with severe learning difficulties.


Oily Cart develop Box of Socks, their first performance specifically for children and young people with Severe Learning Disabilities.

January 1988

Heart 'n' Soul have been performing their second show, The Longest and are now working on a new show with the provisional title, Peace on Earth.

15 - 23 Jan Androcles and the Lion (Path Productions), Jeanetta Cochrance Theatre, WC1.

The Arts Council and Shape London have appointed Ad Lib research team to investigate work on photography being done by and with disabled people. Project starts Jan '88, to be completed by June, with database and accompanying report.

Jan 22 Whitechapel Art Gallery set aside special day of Fernand Leger exhibition for visually impaired visitors. 15 came.

Nabil Shaban has been denied work on Granada's Microman children's TV series, because executive producers are worried that children would find him frightening.

25th Jan 60 people demonstrate outside Granada studios against dropping of Nabil Shaban from Microman. (Organised by Brian Lewis and Norman Colledge of the Derbyshire Coalition of Disabled People and Ian Stanton of GMCDP.)

February 1988

Graeae Theatre Skills Training Course 1988, with sessions in mime, mask, movement, giant puppetry, voice and acting skills. (15 - 25 Feb)

Graeae women's company invited to tour Malaysia.

Talent '87 conference produces an embryonic European Disability Arts Forum (EDAF). UK reps: Geof Armstrong (LDAF), Sian Vasey (Artsline) and Rob Tiplady (Green Jam).

London Deaf Drama Group present King James and his Beau . Alex Crenwell. Uses BSL and SSE (Central Institute, Longford Street, NW1, 19th and 20th Feb)

Common Ground Sign Dance Theatre at The Place perform Light Cycle 5, which "uses the medium of contemporary dance, fusing it with sign language, original music and theatre to create a new style of dance theatre".

March 1988

Manchester Disabled People's Arts Conference. (26 - 27 March) Discussion to be opened by Mandy Colleran of Arts Integration Merseyside and Anne Rae of LDAF. Playwright Brian Hilton. Cabaret and social event featuring Disabled artists from around the region

Exhibition of work by disabled people (2 March: Aylesbury Day Centre SE17). Photography, performance, music, video and craft work.

Ringroad, a play with music written especially for deaf and HOH children over 8. (Theatre Venture, touring North and East London.)

Amici Dance Theatre Company in Ruckbluck. (16 - 19 March)

Disability Arts Conference, Manchester (26 - 27 March)

Speakers include:

  • Ken Lumb (GMCDP)
  • Ann Rae (LDAF)
  • Mandy Colleran (Arts Integration Merseyside)
  • Subjects explored include:
  • working definition of culture
  • short history of oppression of disabled people
  • Disability Arts - a segregated or mainstream culture?
  • Strong debate on issue of integration:
  • Is integration acceptable if it isn't on disabled people's terms?
  • Why do disabled people need a separate space to explore their identity and culture?

Conference planned by Manchester City Council Equal Opportunities Unit (Disabled people's section) in association with North West Arts.

April 1988

April Experimental Workshop for Deaf People in Visual Expression of Music (9 - 10: Unicorn Theatre, WC2).

LDAF first AGM (16 Apr: Diorama)

  • Clare James and Kenny Ellison
  • Sian Vasey interviews Seona Reid and Anne Rae
  • Allan Sutherland MC
  • Isobel Ward

Jag Plah wins City Limits/New Variety New Act of the Year Award.

Launch of cabaret club at the Diorama. (later to become the Workhouse) Allan Sutherland compere. Isobel Ward, Keith Armstrong.

May 1988

Blood, Sweat and Fears by Marie Oshodi, d David Salkin, abt Sickle Cell Anaemia (6 - 8 May: Battersea Arts Centre, then touring nationally)

DisAbility in De Community A festival in aid of Sickle Cell Anaemia. (14 May: Chat's Palace, E9)

US activist Judy Heumann speaks at County Hall. (14 May)

Bucks Disability Arts Day (28 May: Limelight Theatre, Queens Park Centre)

  • Workshops: Poetry, song writing, drama, painting, mask-making
  • Open spot: Allan Sutherland compere, Johnny Crescendo, local performers
  • Discussion: Gill Gerhardi and Geof Armstrong. Issues which arose were the abuse of Disabled parking spaces by non-disabled users in Bucks and the need for more arts activities in the area for Disabled people.
  • Samena Rana taking photos

June 1988

June Premiere of Peace on Earth, new Heart 'n' Soul show (following success of The Longest '86 and Rock and Roll Dance 87) Devised by Heart 'n Soul. Jazz by Jodelko. Special guest Timothy Sagosz. Heart 'n Soul are fresh from TV appearance on 1 in 4, have a single recorded and due for release with tour. Currently negotiating tour of India.

July 1988

BCODP demonstration against Social Security Act (28 July: Kennington Park to Elephant and Castle).

A Sense of Self "A variety of photographers, some Disabled, have been listening to how a selection of disabled people want to be seen and them translating it into picture form." Photographers include David Hevey. Includes two workshops around disabilities and photography and four talks by members of the steering committee and the photographers. (1 July - 6 Aug: Camerawork gallery, London.)

Auditions for new Neti-Neti show, The Beggar in the Palace, For deaf and HOH young people by Penny Casdagli and Caroline Griffin. Co-directed John Wilson, Deaf director of National Youth Theatre of the Deaf.

July 17 What are they saying about us?, ReVamp Productions meeting for Disabled women to look at how they are represented in mainstream film and TV.

Peer Gynt by Path Productions. (July 5 - 23: Jeanetta Cochrane Theatre, WC1)

Ellie Wilkie. Poetry and song (31 July: The Fallen Angel, an upstairs venue…)

Basement Youth Arts Festival, (from 10 July: Albany, Deptford) Riversiders. Comedy and Drama sketches devised with Graeae TIE company (11 July) Riversiders are a drama group of young disabled people.

August 1988

Disabled Artists' Day (Aug 7: Covent Garden)

  • MC Ashley Grey
  • Allan Sutherland
  • Isobel Ward
  • Heart 'n' Soul
  • Jodelko
  • Charles Hampton
  • Jag Plah
  • Artwork: Samena Rana, Trevor Landell, Gill Gerhardi
  • Connections Video
  • CLIC
  • Thomas Joseph
  • Simon Brisenden
  • Common Ground Sign Dance Theatre
  • Strathcona
  • Promoted by Alternative Arts and Artsline

Islanders. New magazine for deafened young people.

Launch of LDAF's The Workhouse (Aug 11:Tabernacle Community Centre)
  • Allan Sutherland (Compere)
  • Clare Graydon-James (Music)
  • Sain Vasey interviews Marie Oshodi, author of Blood, Sweat and Fears. Plus highlights of the show.
  • Jodelko
LDAF's Workhouse (Aug 25: Tabernacle Community Centre)
  • Allan Sutherland (Compere)
  • Clare Graydon-James (Music)
  • Thomas Joseph (poet)
  • Heart 'n' Soul: Peace on Earth
  • Sian Vasey interviews some of the cast.

September 1988

National Youth Theatre of the Deaf present Sign production of Midsummer Night's Dream, d John Wilson (14 - 17 Sept: Union Chapel)

Deaf people and Artsline. planning one day workshop on interpreter provision for theatre and arts centre staff.

LDAF's Workhouse (Sept 8: Tabernacle Community Centre)
  • Allan Sutherland (Compere)
  • Ellie Wilkie (Poet)
  • Sain Vasey interviews Ellie Wilkie
  • Electro Jazz from Phil Ford with Blue Funk
LDAF's Workhouse (Sept 22: Tabernacle Community Centre)
  • Allan Sutherland (Compere)
  • Rikki Jodelko House music
  • Terry McGinty Folk
  • Compagnie de l'Oiseau Mouche from Roubaix, France
  • Sian Vasey interviews l'Oiseau Mouche

Bradford Festival includes many events for disabled people organised by local organisation In-Valid? (16 - 23 Sept) Cabaret: Isobel Ward, Simon Brisenden, Ellie Wilkie, Nabil Shaban (Compere) (22 Sept)

Day event organised by Oldham Artability (25 Sept) (a voluntary group of people with disabilities who aim to promote the visual and performing arts through workshops and events).

Moving On '88 (20 - 24 Sept: Chat's Palace,E9).

October 1988

Oct 5, for a month. Exhibition of art and poetry at the Poetry Society, SW5, by Chances, a project which aims to bring together disabled and non Disabled artists.

22 Oct Haringey Connexions Disability Arts Festival. Performers include poet Rosita Green.

LDAF's Workhouse (6 Oct: Tabernacle Community Centre)

  • Allan Sutherland (Compere)
  • Rikki Jodelko (music)
  • Simon Brisenden (poetry)
  • Sian Vasey interviews Simon Brisenden
  • Isobel Ward (music)

LDAF's Workhouse (20 Oct: Tabernacle Community Centre)

  • Allan Sutherland (Compere)
  • Rikki Jodelko (music)
  • Graeae's latest kids' show Every Picture Tells a Story
  • Sarah Scott and Dorothy Miles (signed song/poetry)

Tower Hamlets Arts and Disability Group holding a day of exhibition, displays and demonstrations of creativity by and for people with disabilities. (Oct 18)

Milton Keynes Disability Arts and Sports Day Organised by disabled people for disabled people. (30 Oct)

November 1988

One day course on signed singing (5 Nov: organised by Music Advisory Service of Disabled Living Foundation)

London's first fully accessible dark-room and studio to be opened in Hendon - a project by CRAB and CLIC. (28 Nov)

LDAF's Workhouse (3 Nov: Tabernacle Community Centre)

  • Allan Sutherland (Compere)
  • Ned Smith (Jodelko piano player)
  • Liz Porter
  • Kata Kolbert
  • Sian Vasey interviews Kata Kolbert

LDAF's Workhouse (17 Nov: Tabernacle Community Centre)

  • Compere: Co-sign
  • Music: Ned Smith
  • Johnny Crescendo (poetry and song)
  • Doug Alker (magic and mayhem)
  • Johnny Crescendo talks about his poetry with Sian Vasey.

LDAF's Workhouse (1 Dec: Tabernacle Community Centre)

  • Compere: Co-Sign
  • Ned Smith (piano)
  • The Boys from Elivia (music)
  • Sian Vasey interviews the Boys
  • Theatre from Acting Up

Neti-Neti The Beggar in the Palace by Penny Casdagli and Caroline Griffin. Brand new play written in BSL, English and Bengali. (Touring)

  • Inspired by Homer's Odyssey, but set in 1988, the play looks at cracks in the rich and glittering world of the hero, and tells not only of Odysseus, who went to war, but of Penelope who stayed at home.
  • Co-directed Penny Casdagli and John Wilson.

Maggie Woolley appointed first disabled Director of Shape.

Royal Academy runs its first Workshop for Visually Impaired People

Signed production of Pinocchio, at Unicorn Theatre. w Dorothy Miles. Tony Newton, reviewing, praises Jenny Hutchinson as Pinocchio: the only member of the cast whose Sign Language was well articulated.

December 1988

Heart 'n' Soul single Peace on Earth launched at House of Commons.

Focus, Ealing Disabled people's organisation, launches with Disability Cabaret. (10 Dec) Line-up includes:

Christmas in the Workhouse. (15 Dec)

Presentation by and for Disabled Women Artists. (2 - 3 Dec: Women's Slide Library)

  • Slide seminars by Mary Duffy, Elizabeth Hill and Lucy Jones
  • Video about the work of Frida Kahlo and Tina Modotti
  • Info pack and more information from Nancy Willis

Heart 'n' Soul single Peace on Earth

The Owl and The Pussycat Went to See… (14 Dec - 4 Jan, Path Productions, Jeanetta Cochrane Theatre, WC1)

North East Media Training Centre recruiting for two year professional Film and Video Production Course. Six places for profoundly Deaf people.


Shrinkin' Man Ian Stanton cassette includes Chip On Yer Shoulder, S.O.S. and Talking Disabled Anarchist.

Freedom Liberty and Tinsel Aaron Williamson's first poetry collection.

January 1989

Whitechapel Gallery holds touch workshop relating to Richard Deacon exhibition. (5 Jan)

Neti-Neti's The Beggar in the Palace criticised by Deaf for low standard of signing.

Ellen Wilkie: Wilkie and the Tallboy poetry and songs (29 Jan: Teatro Technis, NW1)

Mid-Jan to mid-Feb Exhibition of work by Asian batik artist Shaheeen Merali (Tom Allen Community Arts Centre, E15, Shaheen runs a series of workshops for Black and Asian people with disabilities.

Linda Moss, Arts Council Disability Officer, criticises bad integrated companies in DAIL article Towards a Disability Culture - A View from Outside for including disabled performers to attract funding and as their apology for not reaching the highest standards.

February 1989

Outrage among disabled people when they find that the Arts Council is applying for exemption from employment quota.

Common Ground Sign Dance Theatre spring show, A Stranger Disintegrates

  • Feb Touring Southern Arts Region
  • Mar 14 1st London Performance at The Place

Feb 9: The Workhouse

  • Wanda Barbara (compere)
  • Ray Allan (resident musician)
  • Liz Porter (songstress)
  • Timothy Sagosz (guitar)
  • Sian Vasey interview

Feb 23: The Workhouse

  • Wanda Barbara (compere)
  • Kate Portal (folk music)
  • Rory Allam (resident musician)
  • Fish Our of Water (music)
  • Sian Vasey interview

21 Feb - 31 Mar. Theatre Venture presents The Adventures of Curly, new play for deaf children by Terry Ruane. (Touring)

March 1989

From March 2. Red is the Colour of the Night, a new play about fantasy and isolation by Peter Storfer. Double Exposure Theatre Company. "Double Exposure is a professional company integrating performers with and without disabilities in all its productions. Marte, an adolescent girl, is diagnosed autistic and is institutionalised. This is her story…" Marte played by Caroline Parker. Presented by spoken text, sign language and music. (Touring, starting Towngate Theatre, Basildon.)

Mar 3 - 4 Rainbow Drama Group present Get Out of Bed - an evening of zappy sketches and songs - sad, sinister and side-splitting - all around the theme of getting up. (RDG are theatre group of people with learning difficulties based in Hoxton Hall.)

9 Mar Women-only event at Hounslow Voluntary Action Centre. Ellie Wilkie and the Tallboy, Wanda Barbara and Dorothy Miles.

2 - 4 March Nothing to Declare. Strathcona new show. (Jackson's Lane Community Centre, then touring throughout 1989.)

8 Mar The International Women's Day Show at Hackney Empire includes Wanda Barbara, Ashley Grey/Elspeth Morrison(comperes), Kata Kolbert and Kate Portal (music), Sarah Scott (signed song)

Mar 9: The Workhouse

  • Allan Sutherland (Compere)
  • Rory Allam (Music)
  • Manekin (Rock music)
  • Jodelko (Music, with new line-up)
  • Sian Vasey interview

Mar 23: The Workhouse, Deaf Cabaret

  • Sarah Scott (signed song)
  • Colin Thomson (signed song)
  • Craig Flynn (Comedy)
  • Paul Whittaker (Music)
  • Maggie Woolley interviews one of performers about their work.

18 Mar to 8 Apr The East End Festival (TEEF) 1989

  • This year targeting elderly people, kids and people with disabilities.
  • 1 - 31 March Arts and Disability Project exhibition. The first major exhibition of art produced by people with disabilities in Tower Hamlets (Dame Colet House, E1)
  • 31 March Arts and Disability Showcase Cabaret featuring Ellie Wilkie (Kingsley Hall, E3)
  • 20 - 25 March Red is the Colour of the Night (Half Moon Theatre, E1)

April 1989

21 Apr Caxton Hall cabaret

  • Spring Chickens (non-disabled)
  • Kate Portal
  • Ian Saville (non-disabled)
  • Johnny Crescendo

May 1989

19 - 20 May Trapped in Llanwog Castle London Deaf Drama Group. (Camden Institute Theatre, NW1)

Common Ground Sign Dance Theatre Our Town an exuberant adventure for children of 12 years and under (May 9 - 12: Unicorn Theatre for Children)

Open letter in DAIL to Luke Rittner, Secretary General of the Arts Council, by Allan Sutherland, takes issue with the ACGB's application for exemption from the employment quota for disabled people.

Simon Brisenden dies.

June 1989

Feminist Arts News latest issue a diverse collection of work by Disabled women. 18 contributors, including Kata Kolbert, Sian Vasey, Ann Rae and Gioya Steinke.

14 - 16 June Broucek by Green Jam (Greenwich Young People's Theatre)

Women's Night at The Workhouse

  • Kate Portal (songs)
  • Ellie Wilkie (poetry)
  • Wanda Barbara (comedy)
  • Kata Kolbert (music)
  • Dorothy Miles (signed poetry)
  • Sian Vasey interviews Ann Pointon

July 1989

The casting of a non-disabled actor to play Christie Brown in My Left Foot is widely criticised by disabled people, including actor Nabil Shaban writing in DAIL.

The Dungeon of Love. Heart 'n' Soul new show (Albany Empire, SE8.)

The Cornflake Box by Elspeth Morrison. (Graeae Theatre Company 6 spots in Movin' On Festival and touring around London until 31 Aug .)

Movin' On. A Festival of Arts by Disabled People. (23 - 29 July)

Activities include: Two-day Disability Arts conference, theatre, dance, exhibitions, workshops led by disabled artists, photography, children's events, signed song, creative photocopying, music, cabaret, fireworks. Workshops presented by: Shape London. Shape Hackney, Shape Islington, Shape Hammersmith and Fulham, Shape Wandsworth, Studio 3, Creative Arts in Barnet, Connexions, Action Space Events and the Basement Youth Project. Exhibitors include: Disabled Artists from Hackney, David Hevey, Community Links in Camera (CLIC), Adam Reynolds, Julie Emerle. Event organised by the London Disability Arts Forum in conjunction with: The Shape London network, Southwark Disability Arts Forum, Southwark Arts and Leisure Department, the Hackney Disability Arts Steering Group, the Venues and the London Boroughs Disability Resource Team. Artists and companies:

  • Wanda Barbara (Comedy)
  • Simon Brisenden (Poetry)
  • Johnny Crescendo (Blues)
  • Fish Out of Water (music)
  • Phil Ford (music)
  • Ashley Grey
  • Isobel Ward (music)
  • Jodelko (jazz)
  • Thomas Joseph (poetry)
  • Dot Miles (sign poetry)
  • Kate Portal (songs and stories)
  • Sarah Scott and Ray Harrison Graham (Signed song)
  • Timothy Sagosz (Jazz guitar)
  • Nabil Shaban
  • Franz Shealy (Deaf clown)
  • Allan Sutherland (comedy)
  • Ellie Wilkie (poet)
  • Action Space (atmospheric fun for the kids)
  • Albion Road Social Education Centre
  • Basic Theatre: Gary
  • Common Ground Sign Dance Theatre
  • Graeae Theatre Company The Cornflake Box
  • Green Jam Theatre: Mr Broucek
  • Heart 'n' Soul
  • I Sign Theatre
  • The Lawnmowers Theatre Company
  • Strathcona Theatre Company: French Connection
  • Theatre de Complicite
  • Steel 'n Skin (Music)
  • Stardust Steel Pans (Calypso)
  • Taxi Pata Pata
  • Amici Dance Theatre Company
  • David Hevey (Photography)
  • Julie Umerle (Paintings)
  • CLIC Workshops and exhibitions for all photographers
  • Heart 'n Soul
  • Perpetual Beauty
  • Liz Porter (Folk song)
  • Nancy Willis, Lucy Jones, Mary Duffy, Liz Holland
  • Claire Graydon James

Conference. Speakers:

  • Ann Rae on therapy in disability arts
  • Geof Armstrong on integration
  • Ashley Grey on disabled women
  • Trevor Landell on disabled people from ethnic minorities and the arts
  • Maggie Woolley (late replacement) on deaf issues
  • Allan Sutherland on Disability arts, disability politics


  • Albany Empire, SE8
  • Battersea Arts Centre, SW11
  • Bishop's Park, Fulham, W6
  • Burgess Park, SE5
  • London Bubble (Tent in Burgess Park)
  • Chat's Palace, E9
  • Jackson's Lane Community Centre, N6
  • Studio 3, Barking
  • Plus Copyart and a wide variety of day centres.

New Breed Theatre Company founded.

Aug 1989

Aug 20 Milton Keynes Disability Arts and Sports Festival (Woughton Centre, Milton Keynes) Wide range of workshops, plus Evening cabaret with:

  • Isobel Ward
  • Steve Clark
  • Ellie Wilkie and the Tall Boy
  • Kate Portal
  • Johnny Crescendo

September 1989

Ellen Wilkie (Ellie Wilkie) dies

October 1989

Oct 6: Ealing Disabilities Cabaret Night

  • Johnny Crescendo
  • Allan Sutherland
  • Timothy Sagosz
  • Kate Portal
  • Rosita Green
  • Sian Vasey
  • Wanda Barbara
  • Heart 'n' Soul

14 Oct Connexions Haringey 3rd Disability Arts Festival (Chestnuts community Centre, N15)

Oct 27: The Workhouse, Chat's Palace, E9

  • Allan Sutherland (Compere)
  • Rory Allum (Music in the bar)
  • Liz Porter (music)
  • Graeae Theatre Company in Why? (1st public performance of TIE company's new show.)

A Stranger Disintegrates Common Ground Sign Dance Theatre new production. (Oct 5 in Ealing as part of Disability Week, then touring nationally.)

November 1989

10 Nov: The Workhouse, Jackson's Lane, N6

  • Claire James
  • Kate Portal
  • Wanda Barbara
  • Heart 'n' Soul in The Dungeon of Love

24 Nov: The Workhouse Jackson's Lane, N6

  • Allan Sutherland
  • Johnnie Crescendo
  • Liz Porter
  • Ian Stanton
  • Claire James
  • James Conlan

8 Dec: The Workhouse, Jackson's Lane, N6

17 Nov: The Workhouse, Chat's Palace, E9

  • Allan Sutherland
  • Kate Portal
  • Rory Allum
  • Johnnie Crescendo
  • Isobel Ward
  • James Conlan

1 Dec: The Workhouse, Chat's Palace, E9

  • Allan Sutherland
  • Rory Allum
  • Maudie and Harry
  • Rupa Sarkar
  • Heart 'n' Soul

15 Nov The Workhouse, Montague Hall (Hounslow)

  • Allan Sutherland
  • Kate Portal
  • Ian Stanton
  • Claire James
  • Isobel Ward
  • Mike Higgins

Strathcona Theatre Company present Nothing to Declare (their 7th major production) at the Cockpit, NW8.

Simon Brisenden's Body Shopping is now available.

December 1989

9 - 25 Nov From the Alchemist's Library Sculptures by Adam Reynolds (Adam Gallery, Walcot Square)

Dec 1: The Workhouse, Chat's Palace, E9

  • Allan Sutherland (Compere)
  • Rory Allum (Bar music)
  • Maudi and Harry (Piano and spoons)
  • Heart 'n' Soul in The Dungeon of Love (Theatre)
  • Rupa Sarkar (Poet)

Dec 8: The Workhouse, Jackson's Lane, N6

  • Elspeth Morrison (Commere)
  • Claire Graydon James (Bar music)
  • Sarah Scott (Signed song)
  • Isobel Ward (Music)
  • Graeae Theatre Company in Why?

Dec 14: The Workhouse, The Tabernacle, W11

  • Christmas Party
  • Ashley Grey (Commere)
  • Allan Sutherland (Comedy)
  • Johnny Crescendo (Music)
  • Kate Portal (Music)
  • Mike Higgins (Music)
  • Heart 'n' Soul in The Dungeon of Love (Theatre)

Dec 16: The Workhouse, Mandela Bar, Ealing College

  • Hosted by Ealing Focus
  • Elspeth Morrison (Commere)
  • Johnny Crescendo (Music)
  • Kate Portal (Music)
  • Isobel Ward (Music)
  • Mike Higgins (Music)
  • Sarah Scott (Signed song)
  • Sian Vasey interviews Samena Rana

(NB It is not clear whether this event took place on this date - see Jan 21 1990.)