Liberty Festival

Went to Liberty festival in Trafalgar Square with my client today. Usual crowd, where lots of disabled people in London congregate together. Which is fascinating to see. I came along in particular for Extant as recommended by my friend Kirin whom she is a part of but wasn’t taking part in as she had to go see an audio described version of ‘Oliver’.

‘Extant’ are an all blind theatre company and were performing ‘Tandemonium’. Five visually impaired people riding on the back seat of Tandem bikes controlled by PA’s in front seat. Singing some show tune while going round in some formation with their voices amplified through speakers in the back of the bike, in a cordened off area in the centre of Trafalgar Square.

I enjoyed watching Mikkel as he also wore a pink fluffy cow boy hat and seemed to love every minute. It had a fun and frivolous quality about it. I guess I’ve never seen that before. But that is a thing about Liberty I would hope it does bring out ideas that get rarely seen. Aswell as promoting disability rights and awareness.

I also quite enjoyed Heart and Soul’s Fish Police music with songs about ‘chicken and rice’ and ‘Japanese girls’. The boy I was with also liked the chicken song as its his favourite food. All the songs were also sign interpreted.

We watched some bollywood type show up by the National Gallery which was fun as the performers would get the audience to join in with the dancing as part of the story. It was quite beautiful to watch.

Amici Theatre did a short dance piece from their recent show Tightrope, with white umbrellas and then watching a man with some kind of physical disability get hoisted up on a rope up into the air suspended by the frame as the finale.

I didn’t get round to see the comedy tent but I have seen previous shows there, the usual suspects always performing their disability related jokes. I recommend going if you have never been before. Liz Carr is brilliant with her very acidic and sharp wit. I first saw her perform as Mother Courage some years ago.

Liberty is really the only time you see so many disabled people get together as other festivals in Trafalgar square are not so accessible. It was not that crowded as some other festivals such as Chinese New Year, but I look forward to it growing more and more in years to come.

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