Unity Festival 2012
Details of this year's Unity Festival in Cardiff from June 21 to 30 have been announced and tickets are now on sale.
The Unity Festival is created by Hijinx Theatre and will showcase and celebrate the best in inclusive, disability and learning disability arts from Wales, the UK and around the world, promoting positive images of disability and social inclusion to audiences.
This, the fifth Unity festival will be the biggest since it began in 2008 and will be the largest inclusive festival in Wales and one of the main events of its kind in the UK.
The festival rejoices in the very best of arts entertainment where people of all abilities come together for inspirational performances for all to enjoy including dance, physical comedy, music, exhibitions, storytelling, workshops and street theatre.
This year, thanks to Arts Council of Wales funding, the festival will be bigger and better than ever before, hosting leading international inclusive companies from a wider range of art forms, some of who will be performing in the UK for the very first time.
This year for the first time, Unity is part of Cardiff Festival, a programme of city-wide events and festivals taking place over the summer months.
Highlights of the line up for 2012 includes The Opening and The Closing by physical comedy specialists Spymonkey, UK comedian featured on BBC TV Laurence Clark , Portuguese dance company Grupo Dançando Com a Diferença, Seville based Danza Mobile with their flamenco performance involving disabled and non disabled dancers. Australian- award winning Back to Back Theatre will perform small metal objects in Cardiff's Queen Street, their ground breaking show which will see unaware shoppers mingle with the learning disabled and non disabled cast who will be heard by audiences via headsets.
The Festival will also feature a variety of workshops open to disabled and non disabled participants, including a sign mime workshop from aerialist and physical theatre practitioner Ramesh Meyyappan, a percussion workshop from Community Music Wales and a Waggle Dance session to compliment Tin Bath Theatre's sign interpreted children's show.
The Unity Festival will be presented in association with Wales Millennium Centre who will be hosting many of the performances with The Weston Studio and Glanfa stage the setting for many of the festival events. The streets of Cardiff will also provide the backdrop to street theatre where audiences can also get involved and enjoy the fun. The Back to Back street performances are presented in association with Sherman Cymru.
Preview Festival Exhibition Event
Wales Millennium Centre will also be the venue for The Unity Festival's Preview Event taking place for the first time this year from June 7 - July 30.
Juan Torre's Photographic Exhibition features images with a difference.
The partially sighted Spanish photographer has created a tactile and innovative photographic exhibition of musicians, pioneering a specialised printing process in which he creates textured large scale prints. The images can be touched and the smallest detail can be detected by touch from the marks on people's faces to the hairs on their arms giving an extra dimension to visitors to the exhibition as well as the usual visual element.
Ben Pettitt Wade, Unity Festival Director looks forward to this year's festival events "I am delighted to be welcoming some of the best inclusive performance in the world to Cardiff for Unity 2012. Audiences will be able to enjoy acrobats from Marseille, flamenco from Seville, an innovative invisible drama played in Cardiff's busiest shopping street and enter a giant bee hive in front of Wales Millennium Centre, whatever happens you can be sure the place will be buzzing!"
Louise Miles-Crust, Artistic Programme Manager at Wales Millennium Centre says "We are thrilled to be working with Hijinx Theatre on the 2012 Unity Festival. The line-up is fantastic with such companies as Back to Back and Laurence Clark. The Centre will truly be alive during the week with workshops and performances in the Weston Studio and on the Glanfa stage and this year, outside the building too. You never know what you might come across during the week!"
Sherman Cymru Director Chris Ricketts adds "Back to Back Theatre is an inspirational company and we're thrilled to be working with the Unity Festival to present small metal objects. It is a fantastic piece that I sat rapt through when I first saw it, enjoying tremendously both its simplicity and cleverness. I'm really looking forward to seeing it here in Cardiff."
Arts Council of Wales has provided support for the festival this year with funding of £100k which has put festival on a much larger scale. It has enabled Hijinx Theatre to invite more performing companies to take part and to reach as wide an audience as possible with the entertainment on offer.
Nick Capaldi, Chief Executive Arts Council of Wales said
"We're delighted to be helping Hijinx Theatre to stage their unique Unity Festival. The Festival is an international arts festival first and foremost. But it is also the only festival of its kind in the UK, presenting art and performance created by people with and without disability working together as equals. The festival will offer new insights and new arts experiences, showing imagination and creativity in all its many forms."
The Unity Festival is an international festival of art that is created by all to be enjoyed by all. Cardiff hosts and showcases the best in inclusive performance from the UK, Europe and across the world, offering opportunities for all visitors to enjoy and get involved.
Hijinx Theatre was founded in 1981 by Gaynor Lougher and Richard Berry. The Company's mission is to create high quality theatre which is accessible, entertaining and challenging for small communities throughout Wales and England.