CRIPtic is showcasing a variety of artists and artforms exploring – directly and tangentially – the D/deaf and disabled experience. With Jamie Hale’s NOT DYING forming the first half of the showcase, each evening 6 performers will respond to themes of anger, resilience, and joy, through a variety of techniques. To meet the artists, read on:
Jamie Hale (directed by Kate O’Donnell)
Jamie Hale is a part-human part-cyborg poet//performer whose creative work narrates the agency and urgency of living as a disabled person in the world. Their dependence on tubes and machines leads their work to explore the intimate connections between the medicalised sphere of illness and mortality, and the social and political implications of disability. They have recently performed poetry at the Barbican Centre, the Tate Modern, and the Lyric Theatre, and were one of the winners of the London Writers’ Awards for Poetry 2018. Disability Arts Online described them as “clearly on the ascendant” (Colin Hambrook, Disability Arts Online).
Kate O’Donnell is a transgender performer, activist and theatre-maker. In 2016, she founded Trans Creative arts company with the tagline “telling our own stories”. Her theatre work includes the award-winning ‘Big Girl’s Blouse’ and acclaimed one woman show ‘You’ve Changed’. In 2017, she initiated Manchester’s first trans-arts festival, Trans Vegas, which has given a platform to 300 trans voices. Kate has directed Transpose at the Barbican two years running and regularly speaks on panels as well as making guest appearances on the Guilty Feminist podcast. In 2018, she was nominated for the Gay Times Arts and Culture Award.
Written whilst undergoing experimental medical treatment, and developed through the Barbican OpenLab residency scheme, Hale’s NOT DYING opens in a hospital as they face mortality and threatening death, but focuses steadily on their battle to exist in the world on their own terms, as a disabled person. Through inviting the audience into their pain, they challenge them to consider their position in a system that has constructed a world hostile to the idea of disabled people demanding ramps, independence, and to be the agents of their own lives, politically, personally, and sexually.
The Visual Experience
Signkid is the UK’s first and only deaf music producer, writer and performer to have pioneered and developed a unique aesthetic by integrating and adapting British Sign Language (BSL). He signs into a visually-based language suited specifically for live Hip-Hop, Rap and Urban music performance. He has subsequently evolved this approach into music video production by simultaneously overlaying a hearing rapper onto his distinctive BSL performance. SignKid has performed at festivals including Deaf Rave, Wireless and Latitude, and has received BBC Breakfast, BBC News and BBC radio coverage. He also featured in a LadBible x Smirnoff advert.
This Is Not A Safe Space (condensed)
Jackie Hagan is a self-described council estate queer with one leg. A playwright, stand-up comedian, poet, theatre-maker and activist, she is also a Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellow who has received the Saboteur ‘Best Spoken Word Show’ twice. Her plays have been produced by Graeae, Royal Exchange, Contact and many more, and performed at Southbank, Tate Modern. Jackie has led over 2000 workshops in prisons, psychiatric wards, hostels and more. She often features on R4, and is currently working with Channel Four.
Jackie will be performing a condensed version of her award-winning show ‘This is Not a Safe Space’ in which she interviewed 80 people on disability benefits. Expect angry poetry about being the undeserving poor, bedsit avant-garde advice, some stump action, and a kick and a cuddle in the heart.
“Very Funny” – The Guardian
“Politically Urgent” – The Stage
“A perfect antidote to … Benefits Street” – Disability Arts Online
“Fabulous subtlety and wit” – Emma Thompson.
Amelia Cavallo, AKA Tito Bone is a blind performer with experience in theatre, burlesque, aerial circus, music and drag. Their work explores intersections of identity, which for them means looking at how being a queer, disabled femme with a big smile and a dirty mind can create art that is unique, provocative and enjoyable. When Amelia isn’t on stage, flying through the air or behind a musical instrument, they can be found working towards a PhD in critical theory. They are co-founder of Quiplash, an LGBTQQIA disabled-led theatre company whose upcoming project, Unsightly Drag will be showing at the Bloomsbury Festival on October 18th. If you’d like to see more of Tito, come along!
Elle Chante and Katie Walters
Elle Chante is a musical self-expressionist based in Birmingham. Using her vocals, lyrics and instrumentation she strives to encompass and share the world that she lives in. Elle combines her unique sound with emotional raw lyrics to capture and hold the audience with her honesty.
Katie is an autistic and chronically ill performance poet with a soul full of stories that can’t be contained. She writes complicated metaphors about serious things like sickness, loss, and love. Together, Katie and Elle have formed the Radical Body collective, which aims to create radical new performance art, by and for disabled people.
Chronic illness can be a frightening and lonely experience. But nobody can ever be truly alone. ‘Seasick’ is an interdisciplinary piece of theatre from Radical Body, the collaboration between chronically ill artists Katie Walters and Elle Chante. Combining performance poetry, dance and music, ‘Seasick’ tells the story of a chronically ill woman exploring her connection to nature and her disability. An exploration of what it means to be sick, it examines how close communion with the natural world can help us to understand our bodies and their afflictions.
BSLingual Poetry – (11th Oct only)
Donna Williams is a deaf poet working in English and British Sign Language. Working with such different languages has inspired a deep interest in translation and how her work can be made accessible to signing and non-signing audiences. She has performed around the UK, including at the Edinburgh Fringe and the Albert Hall, as well as in America and Brazil. Several of her poems have been published, most recently in Stairs and Whispers, an anthology by deaf and disabled poets, and issue 69 of Magma magazine. Her poems cover many themes, from bilingualism to identity, to her beloved cats.
PREPARE IT (MY BODY) (excerpt) (12th Oct only) – created by Jessi Parrott & Crispin Lord
Jessi is a London-based performer, mezzo-soprano and poet. She has Cerebral Palsy and is a powered wheelchair-user. Her creative practice involves all these elements, and she enjoys pushing formal boundaries, combining everything from Shakespeare and opera to more contemporary physical theatre and feminist, queer and disability politics. As a performer of other people’s work, her most recent roles include Kate in ‘To Sleep’ for OffCut Festival at 53Two in Manchester, and Rebecca in ‘Creation 2.0’ at the University of Warwick, where she has just completed her PhD research into disability as an employment issue in UK theatre and television.
Crispin is a multi-disciplinary performance maker based in London, and is Artistic Director of queer performance collective MaloMalo. His work is centred on the act of queering, insidious violence and sexual practices, and often combines video, animation, sound and movement. He has recently created work in tandem with Live Art Development Agency, Pornceptual, and And What? Queer Arts Festival. As a Director, his recent credits include A Father Is Looking For His Daughter (Cockpit Theatre), Last Thursday (Royal Central), A Hand of Bridge (Waterperry Opera Festival), Carmen and Orpheus and Eurydice (Durham Opera Ensemble). He is also a Staff Director at English National Opera.
PREPARE IT, MY BODY is a play that works at the intersection of queer and disabled identity. Conceived by Crispin Lord and Jessi Parrott, it uses a mixture of spoken text, music, sculpture and technology to explore the impact of Jessi’s teenage trauma on her development of a sense of self as a bisexual woman and wheelchair user. In this series of fragmented vignettes, the perpetrators are stripped of their human form; deconstructed and transformed into an array of animations and video pieces. But in confronting them, Jessi remains herself.
Pianist (NOT DYING)
Stephan is a deaf pianist and cochlear implant-user, born in South Africa. Playing and performing from a young age, Stephan started studying with professors at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music on both percussion and piano. Stephan moved to the United Kingdom in 2011 after being offered a Music Scholarship at Emanuel School, where he performed as a singer and accompanist on tours to Finland, Slovenia, Malta and Italy, as well as many regional concerts throughout the UK. Stephan then continued his studies at Trinity Laban Conservatoire, under the tuition of Philip Fowke and Gabriella Baldocci. During his time at Trinity, Stephan collaborated with Harpist Gabriella Jones to create Miroirs Duo. This unique combination of instruments led them to transcribe and perform works in prestigious venues such as Wigmore Hall, St James Piccadilly and Blackheath Halls. They continue to perform together today. Aside from performing, Stephan has a passion for music education and regularly hosts charity concerts for his students to perform in.
Composer (NOT DYING)
Lucy Hale is a composer based in Manchester, UK. She was the inaugural (2018/19) Young Composer-in-Association with BSO Resound, the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra’s disabled-led ensemble. She has received commissions from Drake Music in partnership with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the National Open Youth Orchestra, Lasham Music Festival, Feelgood Theatre Productions and the Royal Northern College of Music. Lucy’s works have been performed in venues in London, Manchester and Liverpool amongst others, including at the 2018 DaDaFest International. She’s worked in collaboration with writers, choreographers and other composers. Lucy has also written music for film, which was commissioned for the opening celebrations for HOME, an arts hub in Manchester City Centre.
Filmmaker, NOT DYING
Samuel Dore is a freelance filmmaker, photographer and graphic designer based in Milton Keynes. As a filmmaker, he has worked as an award-winning short drama writer, director and editor with his short dramas being shown around the world. He also self-shoots and edits an array of documentaries, promotional films, behind-the-scenes films, music videos and so forth. As a photographer, he takes unit stills for short and feature length films and television programmes as well as portrait, corporate, wedding and events photos. Finally, as a graphic designer, he designs film and television programme publicity materials along with various ident and print commissions and graphics backdrops for stage performances. Further examples of his film work can be seen here; www.bursteardrum.net