ADF event showcases rich talent of disabled performers

An irreverent, award-winning cabaret show featuring disabled musicians, rappers and poets is the highlight of a two day series of performances and workshops organised by the Arts & Disability Forum (ADF) on May 28 and 29.

The Heroes and Superfreaks Show performed by Blind Grrrl and the Crips who won a Herald Angel Award at the Edinburgh Fringe, takes place at the Waterfront Hall Studio at 7pm on Sunday.

On the following day, the ADF has organised ‘eQuality’ – a day of workshops targeting disabled writers and musicians held in the Waterfront Hall studio with an evening for friends and family event later at the Black Box.

“The aim of the event is to inspire disabled artists and to encourage venues to book professional work by disability companies. The artists involved in Blind Grrl and the Crips are seasoned performers and this will be an entertaining and amusing night. This is a one-off show that has been put together especially for Northern Ireland audiences,” said ADF Chief Executive Chris Ledger.

Heroes and Superfreaks – is hosted by Garry Robson who communicates enthusiasm for life, with a rage for do-gooders, a love of country honky-tonking and fellow-feeling for Ian Dury.

Blind Grrrl and The Crips is a feisty and innovative musical cabaret outfit, splicing the music of Kurt Weil and Tom Leher, music hall and country, with a healthy dash of original material. Their performances are marked by a gothic sensibility and carny irreverence.

Garry is joined by Sally Clay – switching with mastery from motor-mouthing rap to mock-genteel pigeon poisoning; poet and drummer Stickman; and trumpeter John Sampson.

On Monday, the ‘eQuality’ workshops at the Black Box are aimed at helping disabled writers and musicians.

Alongside other experienced musicians and writers, artists from the ‘Heroes and Superfreaks’ show will lead talks and workshops targeting disabled musicians and writers. There are sessions about what it’s like to work with an editor or a publisher, from disabled writers who have this year won publishing deals and had prestigious prize nominations. Stuart Bailie and Charlotte Dryden from Oh Yeah Studios and Paddy Glasgow from Glasgowbury Festival will talk about the Northern Ireland music scene. Rosaleen McDonagh from Dublin will talk about the practice of ‘cripping up’ and about her sense of responsibility as a disabled writer.

Artists can book into the workshop day by emailing the ADF – or calling (028) 9023 9450 (from NI/UK) and (048) 9023 9450 (from RoI). Participation in the workshop day is free of charge for NI-based disabled artists thanks to funding from Arts Council Lottery. And although the sessions are particularly targeting musicians and writers, other types of artist will find them of interest.

Tickets for Heroes and Superfreaks are open to the public and available from Waterfront Hall Box Office. Online booking from,uk (£1.50 booking fee applies). ‘Companion goes free’ tickets for disabled visitors are not available online but can be booked in person or by phone or email. Please let the Box Office know at the time of booking if you have any specific access requirements. Phone 028 9033 4455; Minicom/text phone 02890 334422; Email .

The show will be captioned and will have integrated Audio Description, with a Touch Tour available for visually impaired people at 5.30pm (meet at Box Office). There are concessions for disabled people and for ADF members (use code: ADFMEMBERS). Contact if you want BASL interpretation (this is provisionally booked).