Arts & Disability Forum Bounce!

Northern Ireland’s first ever disability and deaf arts festival comes to venues across Belfast from August 24 - 31

Bounce! Festival is an eight-day festival presenting new work by disabled artists, featuring a range of top Northern Ireland and international work from visual artists, animators, writers, musicians, performance artists and theatre and dance companies.

'The name of the festival refers to disabled people’s resilience and ability to bounce back but it is also about pleasure, bouncing with joy, and celebrating the talent of disabled artists,' explained ADF Chief Executive Chris Ledger.

The festival takes place in the Cathedral Quarter, coinciding with the arrival of the Paralympic torch in Northern Ireland. Minister for culture, Arts and Leisure, Carál Ní Chuilín, said it was a great addition to the events centring on the bringing of the Paralympic torch to the north of Ireland.


'This is a superb festival that showcases the remarkable talents of some of the finest disabled artists and performers in these islands and throughout Europe. I hope that people attending the Paralympic torch ceremony will take time to enjoy some of the many shows and exhibitions that it has to offer.'

The Lord Mayor of Belfast, Alderman Gavin Robinson, added that the city was proud to be hosting Northern Ireland’s first disability arts festival. 'I would encourage the people of Belfast and the rest of Northern Ireland to go along and see what Bounce! has to offer.'

Highlights include performances by Claire Cunningham and David Hoyle (pictured above), who are showcasing exciting new works developed through commissions by the Unlimited Cultural Olympiad programme as part of the London 2012 Festival.

Cunningham will perform the stunning Menage a Trois (see below) show, devised along with choreographer Gail Sneddon in partnership with the National Theatre of Scotland. The show premieres in Glasgow on August 24 and 25 before moving to Belfast for the Bounce! Festival.

Hoyle, meanwhile, will star in The Ugly Spirit, a new backstage play by Russell Barr which mixes improvisation and text. Directed by Garry Robson of Fittings Multi Media Arts, The Ugly Spirit references Nazi atrocities, Jake and Dino Chapman’s art, and the history of the freak show, amongst other threads. The show takes place at the ADF Gallery in Royal Avenue on August 23 and 24.

Roisin McDonough, Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented: 'This creative showcase offers a wonderfully eclectic mix of local and international arts of the highest quality, with a programme that offers up many cultural treats over eight action-packed days.'

The strong international element includes performance artists involved in CAUTION, a performance art exhibition curated by Sinead O’Donnell and presented at the Golden Thread Gallery, another Unlimited Cultural Olympiad commissioned piece.

David Roche, who has a facial disfigurement, is bringing his one man show The Church of 80% Sincerity to the Black Box on August 25. His funny and moving monologue encourages the audience to accept themselves and other people for who they are.

Local companies Luminous Soul and Kids in Control will showcase new work on August 29 - 29, while animator Joel Simon from Flickerpix is another artist premiering new work commissioned through the Unlimited funding stream.

Bounce! Festival is funded by the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, with co-funding from Belfast City Council. The ADF is core-funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. For more information visit the Arts & Disability Forum website, or check out the full Bounce! Festival programme below.