24 November 2016



What is that festival going on in Liverpool with the funny name, DaDaFest? And why should we know about it?

First – a disclaimer. I chair DaDaFest so I am biased. But I am proud to be biased in this case. Because what DaDaFest does counts. It changes things. It shakes us up, just when we had got comfortable (again).

DaDaFest’s biennial international festival offers a dizzying array of talent from artists and performers who are disabled. I hazard a guess that you will not find in any other single festival such entertaining explorations of death, dying, pain, exclusion and disability through darkly ingenious and joyous music, dance, comedy (yes, comedy), sculpture and art. These performances take us to the limits of our understanding of what makes us human – then they push us a bit further.

And the great news is you get even more from joining an event: DaDaFest doesn’t just create great, challenging art, it campaigns for social justice and access to the arts for all. So every ticket sold, every person turning up or joining us online helps support DaDaFest’s message that disabled people are not going to allow their rights to be eroded, we do not accept the lazy negative stereotypes in our media and we are not going to let others speak for us.

This year’s festival title, SkinDeep, could not be more appropriate at this time when many are questioning how we perceive the people who claim to lead us, what lies beneath the surface of the promises we have been made and what cultural diversity really means to those at the sharp end.

And for anyone who cannot get to the UK’s beating cultural heart of Liverpool, fear not, as several of this year’s events are live-streamed – so you can give it a go from the comfort of your computer screen. But I warn you before you try: DaDaFest can be addictive!

DaDaFest’s 2016 Festival: SkinDeep runs until 3 December.

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