A disabled artist will place the government’s welfare cuts under the microscope next month, just as the coalition begins to implement its controversial disability living allowance reforms.
Liz Crow’s highly personal live performance Bedding Out will see her putting her “private bed-oriented life” in the public arena over the course of 48 hours.
The writer-director-activist has to spend much of her life in bed because of her impairment, but says that until now she has always succeeded in keeping that part of herself hidden from view.
During the performance, members of the public will be invited to take part in “bedside conversations” with her as she lies in her bed, so they can discuss the work and its backdrop of welfare reforms and cuts to disability benefits and services.
The event will be streamed live on the internet throughout its 48 hours, allowing those who cannot attend to engage with the project via Twitter.
Crow said: “I wear a public self that is energetic, dynamic and happening, but I am also ill and spend much of life in bed.”
She said that the benefits system forces her and other disabled people to “parade” their private selves in order to justify receiving support.
She added: “For some months, I have lain low for fear of being penalised, but instead of letting fear determine who I am, I’d rather stare it in the face.”
Bedding Out is a way of taking her private self and making it public, she said.
“I want to make a twilight existence visible, but more than that, I want to show that what many people see as contradiction – what they describe as fraud – is only the complexity of real life.”
Bedding Out – which is funded by Arts Council England – is a companion piece to Bedding In, Crow’s performance at last year’s SPILL Festival of Performance in Ipswich.
It is part of a new touring show, People Like You, which also features work by disabled artists Sue Austin and Gini, and which “tackles the subjectivity and perceptions of disability, and the place of disability arts in the wider art sector”.
Bedding Out is at Salisbury Arts Centre and on social media (follow @RGPLizCrow and use #beddingout), from 10-12 April, starting at 2pm. It will be live-streamed on Crow’s website, Roaring Girl Productions. The 40-minute “bedside conversations” will take place both online and at the arts centre on Wednesday 10 April at 2pm and 6pm, on 11 April at 3.15pm, and on Friday 12 April at 10.15am. There will also be a Twitter-only conversation from noon on 11 April. To attend one of the conversations in person, contact Salisbury Arts Centre.
27 March 2013