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Deaf Men Dancing, Rhinestone Rollers, mad meringues and aerial displays - Liberty hits the South Bank


Londoners and the capital’s visitors will be able to enjoy the popular Liberty festival on the South Bank for the first time. Supported by the Mayor of London Boris Johnson, the annual showcase of Deaf and disabled artists, which has previously been staged in Trafalgar Square, will take place on Saturday 3 September at two sites - Southbank Centre, as part of their celebrations for the 60th Anniversary of the Festival of Britain with MasterCard, and the National Theatre, as part of the Watch This Space Festival.

Produced and curated by the team at Greenwich+Docklands Festivals, Liberty is open to all and will include the usual lively mix of music and dance, street theatre and comedy, aerial display and circus performance. The free event is taking place just days after one year to go to the 2012 Paralympic Games (29 August) and a few days before International Paralympic Day (8 September) and will give South Bank visitors an early hint of the cultural celebrations being planned for 2012, including artists commissioned through the Cultural Olympiad project Unlimited.

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: ’We’ve one year to go to the 2012 Games and disabled people are key to their excitement and success, as athletes, as volunteers and in the cultural programme. The Liberty festival is a superb showcase of the work that is being devised by disabled artists offering a taster of some of the exciting work that will be a part of the celebrations taking place throughout the year.’

This year’s highlights include choreographer Mark Smith’s Deaf Men Dancing, who were a hit at this year’s Greenwich+Docklands International Festival, plus several Arts Council Grants for the Arts (G4A) funded commissions: acclaimed performance artist Bobby Baker; Anya Ustaszewski’s sound installation using found music from the South Bank; a film by Simon McKeown and Caglar Kimyoncu on 60 years of disability arts; Jean-Marie Akkerman’s Cirque Nova featuring four disabled aerialists; and Kazzum who produce theatrical work for children up to 16 years.

Liberty is being staged at two principal locations. The Clore Ballroom inside the Royal Festival Hall will feature music and cabaret introduced by comperes Steve Day and Liz Carr. The line up includes Heart n Soul’s Jazztronics with VJs; scintillating vocals from Victoria Oruwari; stand up comedy from Kiruna Stamell; electrifying rap from Lady MJ; and new French juggling sensation, Juggle Deaf.

Theatre Square overlooking the Thames at the National Theatre will feature exciting dance and performance throughout the afternoon, including Deaf Men Dancing with Rachel Gadsden; Graeae’s Rhinestone Rollers, StopGAP Dance Theatre, Cirque Nova and Fittings Multimedia Arts. Julie McNamara will be the compere.

Angus MacKechnie, WTS Festival Producer, said: ’The Liberty Festival is always packed with exciting, unexpected and imaginative work – full of energy, fun and surprises; so we’re delighted to welcome Liberty to the National Theatre’s Watch This Space Festival for the first time. I know we can look forward to a thoroughly rewarding and brilliantly entertaining day, so long as we can keep the Rhinestone Rollers from oiling up the Muscle Marys too much!’

Jude Kelly, Artistic Director at Southbank Centre, said: ’I’m delighted to welcome the Liberty Festival to Southbank Centre this summer. Some of the world’s best deaf and disabled performers join us for the Finale of the Festival of Britain anniversary celebrations, which brings our four months to a spectacular close. Liberty also gives us a taste of the amazing projects that we can expect to see next year in Unlimited, a Cultural Olympiad celebration of the artistic achievements of deaf and disabled artists.’

As with all Liberty festivals, everyone is welcome and the event is organised to be as accessible as possible for artists and audience. On the day, Liberty stewards will be on hand to help people navigate their way around the site, and information points will be located at Southbank Centre and Theatre Square. People are advised to check the website during the summer for regular updates on the Liberty festival programme and access information -

With primary funding from the Mayor of London, Liberty is being supported by Arts Council England, Grants for the Arts; Unison and Transport for London

Liberty 2011 is presented by the Mayor of London, in partnership with Southbank Centre and National Theatre.


Event: Liberty 2011

Location: Southbank Centre and National Theatre, London SE1

Date: Saturday 3 September 2010

Time: Southbank Centre: 1pm-5pm
National Theatre: 1pm-7.30pm





The Ballroom features a continuous programme from 1 - 5pm. A video wall behind the stage shows films and work by Heart n Soul VJs. Compered by Steve Day and Liz Carr.

1:05pm Captain Angelo

Brothers, Miles-Alex and Jonathan Peckover, craft organic sounds that combine trumpet and guitar, jazz and blues with stories about London life.

1:40pm Victoria Oruwari Singer and concert artist with classical and contemporary repertoire.

2:10pm Kiruna Stamell Laugh at the twisted preconceptions you didn’t even know you had, as Kiruna gets on the mic.

2:40pm Alex One

Acclaimed Glaswegian guitar player Peter McDonald and his band’s first big outing. Featuring members of Alabama3.

3:15pm Caroline Parker

Sign Song Diva makes music accessible to deaf people and sign language accessible to hearing people.

3:40pm Lady MJ - ‘A universal collaboration - Disability rock da nation or nothin’ stops the warrior!’ Music and lyrics by rap artist Lady MJ.

3:55pm Juggledeaf - ‘Waiting for the Train’ Juggledeaf shows off his latest routines supported by Deaf Rave.

4:10pm Simon McKeown and Caglar Kimyoncu - ‘Branches of the Same Tree’ A playful retrospective of Disability and Deaf Arts from the last sixty years and their contribution to London’s culture.

4:30pm Jazztronics Deptford meets Düsseldorf. Heart n Soul band presents an experimental blend of jazz, reggae, rock and electronic music.



DJs playing a variety of chilled 80s, ambient and world.

1pm Matt Holmes

2pm Rayon Campbell

3pm Jamie Renton

4pm Troi (Deaf Rave)



A programme of outdoor theatre, dance, circus and aerial performance from 1 - 7:15pm.

Compered by Julie McNamara.

1pm/3:30pm Deaf Men Dancing

‘Alive!’ features a fusion of contemporary dance and live painting from Deaf Men Dancing with Rachel Gadsden. ‘Alive!’ is commissioned by Without Walls and Greenwich+Docklands International Festival and Dada South (in association with Up- Stream) and supported by Accentuate.

1:30pm/6:45pm StopGAP Dance Company

StopGAP present their latest show ‘Spun Productions’.

2pm/4:30pm Graeae‘s Rhinestone Rollers

A new power-wheelchair dance piece, ‘Wheels on Broadway’, produced by Graeae and choreographed by Mark Smith, featuring the Muscle Marys.

2:30pm/4pm Fittings Multimedia Arts

Performed by Dave “Stickman” Higgins and combining dance, poetry and drumming, ‘In Search of Master Juba’ reignites the flame of a forgotten legend of black history.

6pm Cirque Nova

Disabled circus performers under the direction of Jean-Marie Akkerman present the new commission ‘Finding Epiphany’.

An additional performance by Cirque Nova will take place later in the evening as part of the NT’s ‘Watch This Space’ Festival.


1pm- 5pm Caroline Cardus Caroline makes a statement with ‘The Way Ahead’, an installation of subversive road signs, at The High Street.

1pm- 5pm Remi Fadare Remi presents her latest graffiti-style work created exclusively for Liberty 2011, at The High Street.

1pm- 5pm Jon Adams Jon has produced specially designed dressings for the columns in The Clore Ballroom at Royal Festival Hall.


1pm- 6pm Anya Ustaszewski

A multi speaker sound installation and chill out space at

Waterloo Terrace, NT.


1:45pm/3pm/4.15pm CoolTan Arts - ‘Largactyl Shuffle’

Start point: Riverside Terrace, between fountain and entrance 4:15pm to Queen Elizabeth Hall. A 45 minute guided walk around both sites looking at the history, architecture and psycho-geography of the site.

1pm/2:15pm/3:30pm Bobby Baker - ‘Mad Meringues’

Start point: The High Street

A 45 minute promenade piece across Riverside Terrace, addressing experiences of mental illness and recovery. This performance features the artists ‘meringue ladies’.


1pm/2:30pm/4pm Kazzum - Level 2 at Royal Festival Hall

Performances and workshops for children based on the idea of looking at curiosities.

1pm- 5pm Emergency Exit Arts - Queen’s Walk, NT A jungle-themed, sensory experience of stories, music and participatory workshops produced by Emergency Exit Arts.

Notes to editors

1. The Liberty Festival is a free, annual event celebrating the contribution of Deaf and disabled people to London’s culture. This year’s event is organised by the Mayor of London, in partnership with Southbank Centre and the National Theatre, and produced by Greenwich+Docklands Festivals. It is supported by Arts Council England, Grants for the Arts; Unison and Transport for London
2. Liberty is friendly and accessible and welcomes everyone. A range of access services and facilities will be available at the festival on the day. These include: Information and Access areas at Southbank Centre and National Theatre; BSL interpreters; Audio description; Induction loops; Accessible toilets; Stewards; Viewing areas; Medical facilities; Wheelchair loan service; Charging point for electric wheelchairs and scooters; Assistance dogs area
3. The third annual report from the London 2012 Equality and Diversity Forum is out now and demonstrates the continued commitment of the London 2012 partners to ensure that London delivers the most accessible Games to date. It highlights the examples of good practice in increasing access and inclusion to a wide range of sporting, business, contract and volunteering opportunities and celebrates the success of the ODA in building fully accessible and inclusive venues. For more information go to
4. London’s South Bank, one of the capital’s most popular visitor destinations, is set to benefit from a £4 million makeover from the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, in time for the 2012 Games. The Mayor, working with Southwark and Lambeth Councils and local business and residents’ groups, wants to ensure that during the summer of 2012 everyone visiting the capital, particularly those with accessibility needs, can enjoy the South Bank’s many cultural attractions, restaurants, cafes, bars and shops. This major investment will leave a lasting legacy from the Games by making it much easier for people to access this historic, popular and special part of London.
5. Inclusive London is a new website launched earlier, which aims to make it easier for people with specific accessibility needs to plan and make the most of their stay in the capital. Businesses are being encouraged to register their details and advertise the accessible facilities they offer. The plan is for the site to become a first port of call for people who will be planning a trip to the capital in 2012 and beyond. For more information go to
6. The Mayor’s equality framework for the capital, Equal Life Chances for All, includes a commitment to working to improve the city for all Londoners. For more information go to: / Through Equal Life Chances for All, the draft Health Inequalities Strategy and cross cutting strategies, from the London Plan to the Transport Strategy, the Mayor is establishing a benchmark to ensure all Londoners are able to benefit from as well as contribute to the future success of the capital.
7. ’Inclusive and Active 2’, the five year sport and physical activity strategy for disabled people in London, created in partnership between the GLA, NHS London and Interactive, can be found at
8. Southbank Centre is the UK’s largest arts centre, occupying a 21-acre site that sits in the midst of London’s most vibrant cultural quarter on the South Bank of the Thames. The site has an extraordinary creative and architectural history stretching back to the 1951 Festival of Britain. Southbank Centre is home to the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and the Hayward Gallery as well as The Saison Poetry Library and the Arts Council Collection. The Royal Festival Hall reopened in June 2007 following the major refurbishment of the Hall and redevelopment of the surrounding area and facilities. Southbank Centre’s Festival of Britain 60th anniversary celebrations with MasterCard run until 4th September.


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