Bounce! A Festival in Two Cities

Bounce festival

The Bounce Arts Festival, one of Northern Ireland’s most diverse and eclectic arts events, is building on its success by expanding into the North West for the first time.

The acclaimed d/Deaf, disabled, and neurodiverse arts festival is celebrating its 9th anniversary with a packed programme of events in Belfast and Derry/Londonderry from October 1-3, showcasing the best new work by d/deaf, disabled, and Neurodiverse artists from the UK, Ireland, and Europe.

Bounce!, which is run by the University of Atypical and supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Department for Communities and Belfast City Council, has grown into one of the top disability arts festivals in Europe featuring a mix of dance, comedy, music, art exhibitions, poetry readings and physical theatre

Damien Coyle, Chief Executive of University of Atypical, said: “Bounce has become a hugely popular event in Belfast and by expanding into the North West the festival can reach an even wider audience. We make Bounce events as accessible as possible to disabled and D/deaf audiences, but Bounce is for everyone. The festival is perfect for people with open minds and an appreciation of diverse and unique creative talent.”

Gilly Campbell, Head of Community Arts and Education, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, added,

“The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is committed to supporting the work and career development of our D/deaf, neurodivergent and disabled artists.  The Bounce Arts Festival offers an important platform to shine a spotlight on work from these artists whilst also showcasing work by disabled artists from the UK and Europe.

Congratulations to the University of Atypical who have curated a terrific programme for Bounce this year which features some of the most talented artists from Northern Ireland including, performance artist, Sinead O’Donnell, dancer, Helen Hall and playwright, Alice McCullough.  I am also delighted to see Bounce expand to the North West for the first time, offering exciting opportunities for the future of the Festival.”

Among the many fantastic performances this year is the ground-breaking Drag Syndrome, an internationally acclaimed drag-collective featuring drag queens and kings with Down Syndrome. They are fierce, versatile, hard-working, professional artists who have been featured in British Vogue, Hulu, RuPaul’s DragCon and the Royal Opera House. This show will be at the Black Box in Belfast.

Performance artist Sinead O’Donnell, dancer Helen Hall and storyteller/stand-up comedian Alice McCullough will all perform in new work Commissioned by the University of Atypical in both Belfast and Derry.

Alice McCullough will perform her Brave New Words show at The Vault in Belfast and at the Verbal Arts Centre in Derry. Alice’s award-winning combination of stand-up comedy, poetry, storytelling, and theatre is an uplifting and thought-provoking adventure. Having had many ups and downs herself, she speaks candidly about her battles with Bipolar disorder and shares inspiring words to keep us going against the odds.

Sinead O’Donnell will perform her show Trigger – derived from the artist’s experiences working in public environments – at Flax Arts Centre in Belfast and at the Nerve Centre in Derry – Londonderry.

Helen Hall will perform Collecting Moments in which she explores how we experience the moment, our attempts to try and step back into that moment and how the moment might change.  Helen will perform at the Crescent Arts Centre in Belfast and the Nerve Centre in Derry-Londonderry.

There are many more live shows and workshops and online content including multi award winning singer/songwriter and filmmaker Robyn G. Shiels who conjures up music and casts lyrical spells for a special one-off gig in Havelock House in Belfast, and multi-disciplinary artist, Declan Byrne exhibits his observed translation of the world at the Atypical Gallery in Belfast

. All in-venue events will be subject to enhanced Covid-19 protocols and procedures to keep everyone safe. For more information on all the live shows, workshops, and online content and to book tickets, go to