Body Art Celeste Strewe Body Art Celeste Strewe CREDIT: Richard Leonard
Belly dancing Belly dancing CREDIT: Core Communications Ltd
Incredible India Body Art Incredible India Body Art CREDIT: Core Communications Ltd
Hula Hoop Hula Hoop CREDIT: Core Communications Ltd
Performance acrobats Performance acrobats CREDIT: Core Communications Ltd

Minister encourages wider community to support New Zealand's first Disability Arts Festival

Friday 21 October 2011, 4:21PM
By Core Communications Ltd


New Zealand’s first arts festival dedicated to showcasing the talents of disabled performers, promises to amaze, inspire and surprise.

Circus acts, acrobats, wearable arts, bodypainting and puppetry all form part of the InterACT Festival, taking place in Auckland from Friday 28 to Sunday 30 October.

More than 150 disabled artists will participate in the festival, in a programme that also includes music, dance, theatre, film, storytelling, and interactive forums and workshops.

Minister for Disability Issues, Hon Tariana Turia, says, "This is a chance for people of all abilities to celebrate and share their talents with us all. I support any opportunity to dream big; to try new and challenging experiences, and to aim high to reach goals. I congratulate the InterACT roopu (company) for their initiative, it’s now up to the community to view the showcases, network and connect with disabled artists communities.”

Founder of the disabled arts Interacting Theatre Company, and festival organiser, Paula Crimmens, says the programme is intended to both entertain and challenge, “The festival is designed to be exhilarating, quirky, and full of surprises. I want to open people’s eyes to what’s possible, to highlight the abilities of disabled performers, and celebrate their unique talents.”

Among the festival performers are New Zealand's premier integrated dance company, the internationally renowned Touch Compass, and the award winning Welsh actor and broadcaster, Chris Tally Evans.

As well as workshops in film, circus, drumming, belly dancing and drama, among the forums on offer is one on creative spaces using the Pecha Kucha format, presented by Arts Access Aotearoa and Auckland Creative Access Network (CAN).

“There’s a varied programme with a strong visual component for deaf and hearing-impaired people,” Paula says. “The focus is on audience development, capacity building and networking via the workshops, forums and showcase performances.”

A drama therapist, and former theatre director, Paula is directing two shows with Interacting that form part of the Festival’s evening programme at Glen Eden Playhouse. The first is Ring a Ring a Rosie, the 18 actors’ interpretation of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and the second, Journeys, stars Shannon, who has cerebral palsy and tells the story of her 16 year old birth mother, who kept her pregnancy secret before giving her up for adoption.

The historic buildings and spacious outdoor areas of Corbans Estate Arts Centre in Henderson will be the daytime home to the Festival.

“I wanted to create a hub for the festival,” says Paula, “somewhere people could enjoy a whole range of arts activities, and have a choice of venues and entertainment to choose from.”

Director at Corbans Estate Arts Centre, Martin Sutcliffe says, “The time is right for this community to have its own festival, to come together and share its aspirations and to move us with its own stories. Corbans Estate Arts Centre is honoured to be able to support the InterACT Festival.”

For a full festival programme, and ticket details, please visit http://www.interacting.org.nz/festival/festival.html or call 09 6360351

About InterACT

InterACT aims to provide a vehicle for disability arts performance that leads to greater understanding and acceptance of disability as part of the diversity that makes local communities, Auckland, and wider New Zealand a place where difference is accepted.

InterACT Festival sponsors include ASB Community Trust, Waitakere City Councils’ Creative Communities Fund, Pub Charities, and the IHC Foundation.