One of Northern Ireland’s most diverse and eclectic arts festivals bounces into Belfast from September 5-8 for a packed weekend of entertainment.
Bounce Arts Festival features a mix of dance, comedy, music, art exhibitions, poetry readings and physical theatre.
The acclaimed disability and Deaf arts festival has 20 events squeezed into an action-packed long weekend at venues including the Black Box, The MAC, the Brian Friel Theatre and the Atypical Gallery in Royal Avenue.
The festival, run by the University of Atypical, showcases outstanding new work by Deaf and disabled artists, musicians, actors, comedians, dancers and performance poets, supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. Now in its eighth year, it has grown into one of the leading disability arts festivals in Europe.
Chris Ledger, Chief Executive of University of Atypical, said: “We are very excited about this year’s Bounce line-up. Disabled artists and performers continue to create top-quality, thought-provoking work and the festival attracts greater audiences every year.
“It’s a source of great pride that Northern Ireland is hosting a festival that is becoming so widely respected in other parts of the world. This year we have arts and disability organisations from Turkey, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Croatia and the Czech Republic here for the whole festival and have visitors from as far away as Canada coming to enjoy Bounce.”
The line-up includes ‘111’, a powerful duet featuring narrative dance and aerial collaboration from dancers with very different strengths and vulnerabilities. The duo is made up of Joel Brown from Candoco Dance Company and Eve Mutso, former principal dancer at Scottish Ballet.
Another highlight is Neon Dream – featuring cult Afro-futuristic music icon Lady Vendredi, described as a ‘voodoo priestess and popstar from another dimension’.
There is also Turbo Hallion – surreal, Pythonesque comedy from Belfast’s own Paul Currie, winner of the Comedians’ Choice Award at last year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe, described by Stewart Lee as his favourite comedy act at the world’s leading comedy festival.
Playwright Christian O’Reilly (author of Inside I’m Dancing and Sanctuary) will talk about his new project ‘Unspeakable Conversations’, which he is developing with actress and campaigner Liz Carr from Silent Witness. This play explores the controversial subject of euthanasia. It is an event not to be missed by people interested in championing the rights of disabled people in cultural media.
And award-winning Guardian journalist Frances Ryan will launch her new book, Crippled: Austerity and the Demonisation of Disabled People, charting how public attitudes towards disabled people have transformed in recent years from compassion to contempt.
Other events include ‘Bounce at the Box’, a series of workshops, gigs and performances for younger people aged 13-25 and a Streetwise family entertainment followed by a circus skills workshop. There are lots of chances to try out new experiences, including a Claymation workshop led by internationally-renowned animator Joel Simon.
Gilly Campbell, Head of Community Arts and Education, commented, “Bounce Art Festival is our leader here in celebrating and raising the profile of the work disabled artists, both from Northern Ireland and abroad. It’s an eclectic festival with something to suit all tastes and I would encourage everyone to go along and enjoy.”
For more information about the festival, visit www.universityofatypical.org/bounce or contact a member of staff on firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 028 9023 9450. Deaf people can text via 07517 132554.