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Chas de Swiet, Associate Producer of Liberty talks about his hopes for this years' showcase / 29 August 2012

black and white portrait photo of chas de swiet

Chas de Swiet. Photo © Charlie Swinbourne

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Liberty is an exciting project to be involved in and since being first commissioned by the Mayor of London ten years ago it has grown to become a significant event for the capital – as a showcase of deaf and disabled artists of course, but also as a great cultural event in and of itself.

We are always pleasantly surprised to find how keen performers are to appear as part of the Liberty festival and we believe that this reflects the reputation that the festival has built up over the years.

With the 10th anniversary in mind, we wanted to celebrate how far the Liberty festival has come, featuring some highlight artists from the last decade, as well as commissioning new work, including leading international performers.

The fact that London is also staging the Paralympic Games and Unlimited is a key part of the London 2012 Festival also gives us an amazing opportunity to change perceptions around disability in general and disability arts in particular.

We were really pleased with how well Liberty was received when we staged it on the Southbank for the first time last year, especially as people had become used to it taking place in Trafalgar Square. One of the great things about the Southbank is the enormous numbers that pass through the area, meaning it gives the artists and performers the opportunity to reach even more people.

This year is even more exciting, with the festival expanding to five venues over three days, a weekend of great performance, taking in the National Theatre, the Southbank Centre, BFI Southbank, and the Potters Fields and Trafalgar Square Paralympic Live Sites.

I would like Liberty to continue to be the benchmark for deaf and disability arts and hope anyone coming down or passing by, disabled or non-disabled, will find something to enjoy and be inspired to find out more about these and other artists.

Keywords: disability arts festival,paralympics