The fifth Bounce! Arts Festival took place from August 25-28 with four days of music, theatre, comedy, circus, performance poetry, photography, visual arts and contemporary dance from leading disabled artists from Britain, Ireland and beyond.
The action-packed festival started with a bang with a community drumming circle on the lawn at Belfast City Hall on August 25.
One of the standout evenings was a double bill by ground-breaking Belgian dance troupe, De Zeyp at the Lyric Theatre’s Naughton Studio on August 26.
Arabesques, is a solo dance based on the poetry of De Zeyp member Sophie de Breuck, whose writings evoke memories and images of her time growing up in Algeria as a child. The second performance is Unicorn, a ballet performed by two male dancers based on poet and political activist Antje Katcher’s poem: ‘The Brave Little Tailor’.
Belfast-based dance group, Blue Chevy reprised its relationship with Linda Fearon, the acclaimed dancer whose show in 2014 dealt with the prejudices she faced growing up with cerebral palsy. The new show ‘Been There: Doing This’ at the Naughton Studio on August 25, confronted Linda’s past but also touched on her present life as a highly successful performer.
Another highlight was ‘In Just a Few Words’ the one man play by Nye Russell-Thomson at the Naughton Studio on August 28. Russell-Thomson’s play is a darkly comic and revealing insight into the mind of a person who lives with a stammer. The play was nominated for an award at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe.
Chris Ledger, Director of the Arts and Disability Forum, which organises Bounce!, said the festival had something for everyone.
“We were happy to welcome back singer-songwriter Pat Dam Smyth, who played to a packed audience in the Lyric Theatre in 2014. There were other old friends like Streetwise Community Circus, who are doing a show based on the story of Robin Hood this year.
“I was also excited seeing performance poet of Alice McCullough, who is rekindling the old story-telling tradition with an evening of poetry, comedy, music and craic.”
The four day festival featured an exciting triple bill of contemporary dance at the Naughton Studio on Sunday, August 28 with the physical theatre from Kids in Control; solo dance and hip hop culture from Nikki McLaughlin and Japanese inspired dance from Luminous Soul.
There were also a range of participative events including a Javanese Gamelan Workshop, featuring an extraordinary collection of Indonesian percussion instruments at the Spectrum Centre on August 26; a circus skills workshop with Streetwise Community Circus on August 27, a drawing workshop with Jacqueline Wylie on August 28 and a dance workshop with Helen Hall on August 27.
There were also two major art exhibitions: Juan Delgado’s multi-media installation, ‘The Ringing Forest’ at the Studio Gallery, Belfast Exposed and Shiro Masuyama’s ‘How Disability Made Me an Artist’ at the ADF Gallery at 109-113 Royal Avenue.
To find out more about the ADF and the Bounce! festival go to www.adf.ie.