A one-night festival showcasing solo performers with learning disabilities will take place at The Patrick Centre at Birmingham Hippodrome 10 March.
The CanCanCan Festival is headlined by the Edinburgh Festival hit, The Misfit Analysis, written and performed by Cian Binchy. Cian has autism and was autism consultant for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time. Using multi-media, video projection and Cian’s own brand of performance poetry, The Misfit Analysis takes us through a world of wheelchairs and blow up dolls in an unconventional exploration of an autistic mind.
A host of warm-up acts complete the line-up of this ‘Live at the Apollo’-style evening, including comedian Nicky Priest, poet Vicki Taylor and physical theatre performer Jake Jarvis. Portraits by artist Rory Baird will also be on display.
Richard Hayhow, Director of Open Theatre Company, commented,
“The CanCanCan Festival is full of performers who are unconventional and extraordinarily creative: Cian Binchy’s The Misfit Analysis has been hailed by one critic as ‘definitely and defiantly different’. The CanCanCan Festival will be a great evening of entertainment and I hope it will make us take a fresh look at the place of disability in the modern world.”
The CanCanCan Festival accompanies Is That All There Is?, a two day conference to spark new thinking and meaningful change in work with young people with learning disabilities right across the arts sector.
“In Birmingham alone there are 7,000 young people with learning disabilities but on average only 5% of them have any kind of arts provision outside of school. Extrapolate this number to the Midlands, and then to the whole of England. What an enormous opportunity the arts sector has to make real and boundary-breaking change. Our conference will address some of the fears and misconceptions on extending access to people with learning disabilities and will challenge arts leaders to be more bold. I hope it will be a game-changer in how the arts sector deals with issues of diversity and inclusivity.”
Speakers at Is That All There Is? include Nina Bhagwat, Off-Screen Diversity Executive at Channel 4, and Abid Hussain, Diversity Director at Arts Council England.
The CanCanCan Festival and Is That All There Is? are organised by Open Theatre Company in association with Birmingham Hippodrome, with support using public funding from Arts Council England and Birmingham City Council.