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Everyone wants a slice of the pie! by Gemma Nash, DaDaFest Co-ordinator

Liverpool - for decades a city of creativity and artistic experimentation - is set yet again to take the country by storm. What Manchester was to the music scene in the early 90's Liverpool is forecast to be to the arts scene in the 00's and beyond. Liverpool will lead the nation in explosive, creative, humorous, original and diverse arts and it is of no surprise that disability arts is at the forefront of the action.

Having been awarded the prestigious title of City of Culture 2008, disabled artists have every reason to want to come to Liverpool to create and perform their art. Now in its fourth year, North West Disability Arts Forum's DaDaFest is the UK's largest festival celebrating the work of disabled and deaf artists. Based in Liverpool DaDaFest has seen the birth of some of the most innovative, talented and barrier breaking disabled artists like Susan Hedges, Laurence Clark and the Nasty Girls.

DaDaFest is a unique mixture of both professional and community-based disability art - showcasing the best whilst giving everyone an opportunity to have a go. Without it I doubt if I'd have become a comedian, as the first time I ever performed was at the first festival in 2001.
- Laurence Clark

Working in partnership with the region's theatres, galleries, museums and community organisations, this Autumn's DaDaFest will put on a spectacular package of performances, exhibitions, events and lively debates. We have been inundated with requests from talented artists wanting a chance to be a part of this exciting and ground-breaking event, and this year will see even more fresh talent with flair and originality.

DaDaFest is a celebration of disability arts and regards the experience of disability as a rich subject for artistic work rather than as a hindrance to our creativity. DaDaFest breaks through the idea that our situations are different and unrelated, and enables us to come together as disabled people. DaDaFest will be launched on the 24 November 2004 at the Unity Theatre with laughs and fun from acclaimed comedians Paul Betney and Laurence Clark. Matt Fraser will provide musical interludes and amusing anecdotes and Caroline Parker will seduce us with her wonderful signed song.

DaDaFest has gone from strength to strength and I am delighted to be taking part again in this years festival
- Mat Fraser


Theatrical highlights

Theatrical highlights of this years festival include renowned disabled women's comedy act Nasty Girls taking a bumpy and unpredictable ride through time with their new show Time Troupers. Bill Shannon (aka the Crutchmaster) will woo us with his unique mix of street work in Church St and the Bluecoat Arts Centre. International artist Kevin Kling will be performing his astounding show - The frozen moose and other stories - somewhere between the Cohen Brother's Fargo and Twin Peaks and Ruth Collett will perform Chemical Wedding, both at the Unity Theatre. Sabastian Soleri - a superb international contemporary dancer widely recognized in the mainstream dance world - provides us with stunning underground residency in the Dingle reservoir together with Liverpool Biennial and Bluecoat.

Visual arts highlights include Wild! - A vibrant contemporary 12"x12" mural made from photos of Liverpool projected onto MDF. Wild! will go on tour at venues around the City during the festival and is a collaboration between Bluecoat Arts Centre, artist Andy Weston and a local group of adults with learning difficulties.

At the Liverpool Tate, Arts Council England will be hosting a unique and exciting symposium on the future of disability arts and how disabled artists can break into the mainstream. Throughout the festival there will also be workshops in writing, art and a children's programme.

A key feature of DaDaFest is the support on offer in providing audio description, touch tour and sign language interpreted exhibitions throughout the festival in the galleries and museums of Merseyside.

Deaf arts will see DaDaFest at its best with Deaf Culture Day. This will be the fist time a disability arts festival will hold an event specifically aimed at celebrating deaf people's rich heritage in the area of the arts. Classical mime artist Ramesh Meyyappan, Deafinitely Theatre, Common Ground Sign Dance Theatre and MerseySign Deaf Theatre will be taking part in this event. Plus there will be special guests. In conjunction with Club Attitude and John Moores Student Union a club night promoting disabled Deeejays and MCs in mainstream club culture will take place. Deejays Phil Samphire, Mark Rowland, Crip2night and Minx will be getting the party started with their sublime blend of funky, classic and deep house delights.

The DaDaFest brings the cream of international disabled stand-up comedians to Liverpool with its Comedy Night. This side splitting, laughter extravaganza will feature new up and coming talent alongside established local and international comedians. The audience will be taken on a high speed ride of one-liners, funny stories and amusing songs. Throughout the festival there will be dance, creative writing, Deejaying, Graffiti and multi media workshops.

The finale will be an awards ceremony and a three course dinner at the Devonshire House Hotel on 3rd December. Disabled and Deaf people will be given the opportunity to vote for their favourite artists via NWDAF's website. Tickets will be available soon.

Dates and contact details
DaDaFest launches at the Unity theatre 8:00pm on 24th November 2004 continuing through to the 3rd December. For exact dates and more information about any of these thrilling events and/or workshops, please contact:

MPAC Building
1-27 Bridport Street
Liverpool L3 5QF
Tel: 0151 707 1733
Fax: 0151 708 9355
Text: 0151 706 0365