Bounce! Arts Festival Returns From August 30

The disability and deaf arts festival returns to the Grand Opera House from August 30 to September 1

The second Bounce! disability and deaf arts festival comes to the Grand Opera House in Belfast from Friday August 30 until Sunday September 1, with an entertaining and thought-provoking programme of events.

The Bounce! festival weekender will get off to a noisy start on August 29, when members of the public are invited to beat Ireland’s biggest drum at Belfast City Hall as part of the launch activities.

Signalling the start of an action-packed three days of theatre, comedy, music, dance, performance poetry, exhibitions and workshops, the 14 foot Fuinneamh drum will be at the City Hall from 11am – 1pm and 2 – 4pm.

Bounce curator, Chris Ledger, chief executive of the Arts and Disability Forum, said: 'We are very excited about the programme and I’m delighted that the Grand Opera House has agreed to be our partner for the festival.'

One of the festival highlights is Signs of a Diva by Caroline Parker in the Baby Grand Studio on Saturday, August 31 at 7pm. Parker, who was recently awarded the MBE, performed with Beverley Knight at last year’s Paralympics Opening Ceremony. Signs of a Diva has integrated access, including audio description for visually impaired people and captioning and sign language for deaf people.

Parker will also run a sign song workshop from 3 – 6pm at the Shakespeare Room in the Grand Opera House for fluent BSL (British Sign Language) users over 18.

'Caroline Parker is one of the leading practitioners of sign song, which is a beautiful art form that moves beyond BSL interpretation to become the physical embodiment of a song,' adds Parker. 'Caroline makes sign language accessible to hearing people and music accessible to deaf people.

'Signs of a Diva is a virtuoso performance that combines expressive sign language with mime and dance and includes some famous torch songs. This piece is being staged by Graeae, the world’s longest established disability arts company. And it’s camp as anything!”

Other highlights include The Wheelchair on My Face, a fascinating piece of memoir, theatre and stand-up comedy, written and performed by Sonya Kelly and which won the Scotsman Fringe First Award at last year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

The music programme includes a concert by jazz singer Victoria Geelan accompanied by harpist Joleen McLaughlin of the Henry Girls, while on Saturday singer-songwriters Pat Dam Smyth and Catherine Hatt will perform, supported by performance poetr Dan Eggs.

Visit the Arts and Disability Forum website for more information about the Bounce! festival. Tickets are available via the Grand Opera House website.