6 un-missable shows at DadaFest 2016 – Skin Deep

Posted on 17 November 2016
By Pierce King
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DaDaFest has become a firm favourite on the Liverpool festival map, flying the flag for diversity. This year’s festival theme is Skin:Deep, and organisers hope to explore how disability is viewed in today’s society.

The two-and-a-half week showcase, the biggest of its kind in the UK, is now in its 13th year, and continues to pushing the boundaries of art with a series of eclectic shows, events, discussions and performances, all designed to breakdown the barriers deaf and disabled people face every day.

With highlights including a sculpture trail called Balancing Act by Liverpool artist Faith Bebbington and a performance by Grammy award-nominated afro-funk duo Amadou & Mariam, there’s plenty to see and do including plays, musicals, dance, art and debates, to stop you in your tracks and make you think. Here’s our guide to 6 shows you won’t want to miss…

* The Viewing – November 19th – 20th – Bluecoat

A live art show by Martin O’Brien and Sheree Rose. This is the final part of a trilogy, originally conceived by Sheree and Bob Flanagan to address his early death from cystic fibrosis, in 1996. Bob passed away with just one of the three works completed.

Martin, who also has cystic fibrosis, is presented as a corpse in this finale piece which takes place over 24 hours at the Bluecoat, and due to the sensitive nature of the show’s content, is recommended for ages 18 and up.

* Assisted Suicide The Musical – November 17 & 18 – Unity Theatre

Opening the festival tonight with another taboo-busting show is Disabled activist and actress/comedian Liz Carr, who has selected the spectacular world of musical theatre to explore the complex and controversial subject of assisted suicide.

The musical is directed by Mark Whitelaw and addresses the controversial subject matter of the September 2015 ballot by MPs, which saw them overwhelmingly vote against legalising assisted suicide.

Opinion polls would have you believe that the majority of the UK population believe it’s a humane choice to legalise assisted suicide for terminally ill or disabled people, but Liz Carr and many other disabled people disagree.

* Burlesque from Biscuitland – November 20th – Invisible Wind Factory

This weekend sees Liverpool’s Millie Dollar and friends return to the festival with a larger and more ambitious than ever Burlesque from Biscuitland show.

Millie, who has become our city’s most endeared Burlesque performer, will be bringing an array of amazing acts, daring feats, side splitting comedy, and plenty to make you feel hot under the collar, at one of Liverpool’s newest and coolest venues, the Invisible Wind Factory.

With host, Jess Thom a.k.a Tourette’s Hero, leading the night’s events – whatever she says goes, so expect the unexpected and jokes that will come as a surprise even to Jess herself!

* Scouse of the Rising Sun – November 28th & 30th – Royal Court Theatre

Liverpool’s Royal Court Christmas show has become a benchmark for audacious and bawdy fun. In this theatrical treat, the gang are off to the Far East in search of a Great Wall (and a very good window). On the way they’ll find plenty to keep them (and you) entertained.

A crazed dictator with a massive chip on his shoulder is set to launch a nuclear weapon at Liverpool. Our best hope is a Tin Man, a cowardly liar and the ever so dim Clare Crow. Guided by an eastern mystic and a well meaning panda they are the only thing that stands between our great city and total destruction. Will our heroes find what they are looking for? Will they save the day? We urge you to go and check it out.

The show will feature Audio Description and a Touch Tour on Monday 28 November and British Sign Language Interpretation on 30 November.

* Independence by Laurence Clark – November 25th & 26th – Unity Theatre

Making his debut at DadaFest many years ago, Laurence has made his mark on the UK comedy scene with his unique brand of humour, tackling his disabilities head on. With appearances on the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5, Laurence also starred in the BBC One documentary We Won’t Drop the Baby.

He was awarded Shortlist magazine’s Funniest New Comedian, regularly performs with the comedy collective Abnormally Funny People and came runner-up in the Amused Moose Edinburgh Laughter Awards.

In this show, Laurence is inviting you to come and laugh at sh*t he can’t do – guilt-free. In this journey from his adolescence, love and Harry Potter to discovering no man is an island, except perhaps the Isle of Mann!

* Maddy & The Invisible Groovers – November 25th – Bluecoat

This is a fun and family friendly performance, with tons of audience participation. The show uses storytelling, puppetry and songs to celebrate diversity, difference and friendship, this charming show is performed by four actors and encourages you to believe in yourself.

We join eight-year-old Maddy who longs to be in the school play, but her lack of confidence is holding her back. Sensing her bad mood, Mum sends Maddy to help Grandad unpack. Her Grandfather has just moved in, the last thing she wants to do is help him unpack his boxes. But, when Maddy opens a very special box, Grandad lets her into a secret, involving a girl with portable ears, a piano teacher, vile siblings, an old potato and a bus driving owl.