From live comedy to inclusive workouts, the Mayor of London’s flagship disability arts festival, ‘LIBERTY’ heads to Croydon

This is Croydon, Croydon’s year as London Borough of Culture, and the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, have announced the line-up for Liberty Festival 2023. The jam-packed programme from Friday 1 September to Sunday 3 September will celebrate the works of Deaf, disabled and neurodivergent artists, taking place across Fairfield Halls and the surrounding areas.

From Friday 1 September the festival will welcome audiences of all ages from the local Croydon community and beyond to showcase art in various forms. From live comedy, joyful dance performances and immersive theatre, to thought provoking poetry, film and exhibitions, plus juggling and inclusive fitness workouts, Liberty’s 2023 programme is set to bring something for everyone. The festival is primarily free to attend, with a mixture of unticketed and ticketed events. Events that require audiences to obtain tickets in advance are listed on Culture Croydon.

The cutting-edge showcase will have access and inclusivity embedded throughout. All performances will take a relaxed approach to movement and noise, with audiences free to leave and re-enter, tic and move around if needed. The curators of Liberty Festival, Drunken Chorus, founded in 2007 are a Croydon focused charity curating inclusive and accessible festivals, events and creative experiences. Drunken Chorus work with numerous local organisations to promote and create interesting, contemporary and alternative performances.

The first day of the festival, Friday 1 September, sees audiences being treated to a night of stellar comedy curated by Ingenious Fools at Liberty Live Comedy Night. The show features some of the UK’s best stand-up comedy talent, including Francesca Martinez, Aaron Simmonds, Steve Day and Variety D. Elsewhere, there’s an immersive dance performance NOISE by Nua Dance and a dynamic live art and sound performance premiere, TransHuman Embodiment and Beyond, from disabled visual and performance artist, Rachel Gadsden and sound designer, Freddie Meyers.

On Saturday morning the festival celebrates the power of movement for all, as movement and mind coach Leroy Elevates and Deaf personal trainer, India Morse of Joe Wicks’ The Body Coach App take participants through an Inclusive High Intensity Interval workout.

A variety of events take place across the weekend. Poet, performer and theatre maker, Ellen Renton’s exhibition IF YOU’VE SEEN IT YOU HAVEN’T SEEN IT conjures up questions around the ways in which our eyes and our minds often sit at odds with each other (Friday, Saturday and Sunday). Saturday and Sunday sees Touretteshero return to Liberty Festival with Journey to a Better World. An immersive experience, inviting audiences of all ages to explore what our post-pandemic world should look like, through creative encounters, conversations, and interactive activities.

Saturday afternoon also sees Queen’s Gardens being taken over by a Liberty Garden Party. This family friendly outdoor pop-up event will feature a variety of performers entertaining audiences each day. Saturday’s performers include Def Motion, Moxie Brawl, Savvy Theatre Company, Stopgap Dance Company and Tit for Tat, with Club Soda, Hijinx, Moxie Brawl, SLiDE and Tit for Tat performing on Sunday. On both days refreshments will be provided by Dialogue Hub’s Mobile BSL Dialogue Café. Dialogue Cafe is the first British Sign Language (BSL) cafe in the UK. They employ Deaf and Hard of Hearing baristas so customers have to sign their orders in BSL to communicate to the staff.

Festivities conclude on Sunday with the Liberty Festival Finale which includes performances from: Candoco Dance Company; a poetic exploration of what it means to grow up a girl, and how this experience intersects with disability and visual impairment in An Eye For An Eye For An Eye from Ellen Renton; and a special collaboration between Inner Vision Orchestraand Rachel Gadsden. Inner Vision Quintet x Rachel Gadsden will feature a quintet from India, Colombia, England and Japan, with Gadsden live painting to capture the music.

Additional events will be announced in the coming weeks with further details listed HERE

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “This year’s incredible Liberty Festival has something for everyone. With an inspiring line-up incorporating everything from comedy, dance performances and immersive theatre, to thought-provoking poetry, film and inclusive fitness workouts. The festival is a highlight of Croydon’s year as my London Borough of Culture and showcases the immensely talented creatives from our disabled, Deaf and neurodiverse community, as we build a fairer and better London for everyone.”

Jason Perry, Executive Mayor of Croydon said: Liberty Festival, curated by Croydon’s Drunken Chorus, is an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the achievements of Deaf, disabled, and neurodiverse artists and groups in Croydon.

At its heart, the festival will be run as a relaxed event including performances where audience members are able to come and go as they need. I encourage all residents to drop into Fairfield Halls or The Queen’s Garden’s to experience the festival.

“The festival, which is part of Croydon’s London Borough of Culture events, showcases belonging and pride for all communities within the borough and beyond.”

Liberty Festival takes place from Friday 1st until Sunday 3rd September 2023. To find out more about the festival, visit here…

Written by Theatrefullstop