Liberty returns to Olympic Park for Paralympic festivities


newslatestLondon’s annual disability arts festival Liberty will return to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park next month as part of National Paralympic Day.

It will be the second time that Liberty’s disabled artists have shared London’s Olympic Park venue with some of Britain’s medal-winning Paralympians for a free, joint celebration of Paralympic sport and disability arts.

Liberty’s artistic line-up on Saturday 30 August – from noon to 6pm – will include live music, street theatre, film and dance.

Highlights of the 11th annual Liberty festival are likely to include performances by singer-songwriter Ren Harvieu, whose first album, Through The Night, entered the UK chart at number five, and fellow singer-songwriter Louise Rutkowski, formerly of This Mortal Coil.

Other highlights will include Deaf Men Dancing, the integrated all-female dance company Moxie Brawl, and pianist Derek Paravicini.

There will also be a collaboration between the aerialist-singer-dancer (and academic) Amelia Cavallo and the aerialist-acrobat-circus choreographer Paul Evans, while artists from the Drake Music Project will play a live electro soundtrack to a short sci-fi film, in association with the British Film Institute, and Jez Colborne and Mind the Gap will perform their sound installation The Gift.

Heart n Soul will be inviting the public to make digital music by using apps, iPads and microphones.

Other highlights will include Eye Queue Hear, an audio-tour performance that has been adapted for the Olympic Park after starting life on the streets of east London, and a DJ area curated and presented by Deaf Rave and Incloodu.

For children, Rachel Freeman and Everybody Dance will perform Lovely Bugs, an aerial piece featuring a giant spider’s web, while Hijinx Theatre will present a non-verbal, interactive show featuring clowns and synchronised swimming.

From the host borough of Newham, the disability arts, culture and human rights organisation Together! 2012 will present a community programme of film and performances.

Dr Ju Gosling, Together! 2012’s artistic director, said: “We are very pleased that the Liberty festival has provided us with the opportunity to promote locally-based disability arts activities to visitors and to showcase local disabled artists.

“We are delighted that after last year’s trial run, Liberty has relocated permanently to Newham, which fits well with our aim of making the borough an international centre of excellence for disability arts as part of the Paralympic legacy.

“Newham now offers a year-round programme of free arts activities that, thanks to our unparalleled accessible public transport links, can be enjoyed by disabled people from across London and beyond.”

Meanwhile, two years to the day since Britain won its first medals at the London 2012 Paralympics, 10 ParalympicsGB swimming medallists will return to the Olympic Park’s London Aquatics Centre for two sessions of races, the first time they have competed at the venue since London 2012.

There will also be athletes from boccia, goalball and wheelchair basketball in action at the Copper Box Arena, and a chance to meet some of the Paralympic stars of London 2012.

Tickets for the sports sessions are on sale now at £5 per person.

Visitors will also be able to try out – for free – inclusive sports including wheelchair basketball, cycling, tennis and boccia, with representatives from community groups and the disabled people’s sports participation project Motivate East providing advice about sporting opportunities.

The event is presented by the mayor of London, the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) and the British Paralympic Association, and supported by The Spirit of London 2012 Trust and Arts Council England.

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, an LLDC board member, said: “Thousands of families enjoyed a day of disability sport and culture at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in 2013 and we’re thrilled to be hosting an even bigger and better event this year.

“Events like this are vital to ensuring that the momentum from the London 2012 Paralympic Games continues to inspire disabled and non-disabled people to take up sport, try arts and make the most of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.”

London’s mayor, Boris Johnson, added: “London is home to some of the finest Deaf and disabled artists and performers in the world and this year’s Liberty has something to appeal to everyone.

“With Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park now transformed and fully open, National Paralympic Day will be even better than last year’s successful event.”

3 July 2014