Wednesday, August 4, 2010

London's Wheelchair Accessible Festival Celebrating Deaf and Disabled People

I was contacted recently by an organizer of the Liberty Festival in London and asked to help to get the word out about their annual event which has taken place every year since 2003. I have been contacted for help by businesses and by people with disabilities, but never by a festival. Usually, if I can support the idea, I try to help. So, I asked some questions about the Liberty Festival and the more I learned the more I wanted to help out. Why?

The Liberty Festival celebrates the contribution of Deaf and disabled people to London's culture. That sounds like a good start right there!

There will be lots of cool performances including aerial and circus performers, puppet shows, dancers, cabaret, music, etc, etc. The performers in the main are deaf or disabled, some companies are integrated groups which include disabled people. Sounds like fun!

The Liberty Festival is organized to be accessible and inclusive. There will be many services available for people with disabilities including wheelchair users, such as sign language interpreters, a wheelchair loan service, a charging point for electric wheelchairs, a free dial a ride shuttle bus, etc, etc. Cool!

I could not help to think about the costs of putting on such a well organized and accessible event. So of course I had to ask. Answer: "It is an expensive event to produce, including expenditure on creating very accessible environment in a high profile London environment, and in creating /commissioning new work by deaf and disabled artists. Has been supported by Arts Council England since 2006. Total production and progamme costs in excess of £150'000". (For non-Brits that is approximately euro 180,000 or $240,000 at today's exchange rates). Wow!

Did I mention that the Liberty Festival is FREE to attend?

I am very impressed that there is such an even in London. If I were in London, I would definitely get out to see it and support it. The Liberty Festival will take place on 4 September from 1-5pm at Trafalger Square. A lift will be operating between the upper and lower terraces.

Read more about the Liberty Festival

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