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Review of DaDaFest 2006

DaDaFest 2006 – a review by Roger Cliffe-Thompson and Faye Christiansen

13 November – 12 December 2006

DaDaFest ’06 burst brilliantly forward by winning the Merseyside Tourism Awards Best Small event of the year for 05, then broke through beyond Liverpool to Manchester and the rest of Merseyside by coming back in November bigger, bouncier and brasher than ever before unashamedly flaunting its title of the largest celebration of Disabled/ Deaf culture in Britain.

Forty six events ranging from a ‘Nasty Night Out’ to a ‘Family Fun day’ and the ‘Church of 80% Sincerity’, showcased the work of disabled and Deaf artists all crammed into 30 days of hectic performance, exhibition, workshops which culminated with a big celeb Awards night at the swanky Crown Plaza Hotel in Liverpool.

dadafest-leila-romaya.jpgWhere to start ? Well If you wanted Art you got it with full in the face with ArticulEight showing the outstanding work of James Lake who’s cardboard figurative sculptures almost breathe with vibrance and up and coming talent such as psychedelic Louise Croft in the Zion Centre Manchester and ‘On the Edge’ at the Alima Centre Liverpool which showcased work from hip young photographer, Leila Romaya and innovative, zany, video work by Max Zadow et al.

Comedy by old faithfuls the Nasty Girls and Laurence Clark played to packed houses and allowed new blood to get up there and deliver a good ‘Handislap’ to non-disabled audiences alongside the likes of the ‘black queen of humour’- Liz Carr at Comedy Store, Manchester. This was a virgin night for an all disabled line-up at the venue, looks like they’ll be veterans come next year.

Aisle 16 with Poetry Boyband took the genre to new heights and richly deserve their reputation as the best thing to happen to poetry ever! Four highly talented lads in white suits, with girls snatching at their ankles brought verse to the unversed in a fresh, comedic and yes, even sexy fashion. The word play between the ever quipping quad is extraordinarily fast, and could be difficult to follow for a hearing impaired audience member, however, both shows were BSL interpreted, so if you missed anything, do catch them next time out, it’ll be worth it!

V-E Visual Extravaganza Deaf Night at the Liverpool Playhouse was highly successful both with Deaf and hearing audience members, combining side splitting comedy with tear jerking performance from Knotty Ash children’s choir. And talking of Deaf performance, … the unmissable Caroline Parker in ‘Signs of a Diva’ transforms herself from a dowdy mortuary attendant to a high-class night club singer in song and mime before your very eyes is true West End material in the ever growing heart of the North West.

Young DaDaFest launched one hundred and sixty Deaf and Disabled young people into the performance sphere, competing for ‘awards such as ‘Got Guts’ and ‘Take Note’ all brilliantly compared by young rising star and DaDaFest Award winner, Craig McDonald … whilst the International Disabled Peoples’ Family Fun Day at the Sefton Park Palm House certainly salsa swung forward with heart stopping rhythms and interactive workshops from Drum Crazy, London sexy soul singer Minika Green and the fabulous Sign Dance guru Denise Armstrong as well as lots to see and do for all ages.

Wanna be Diva’s had the opportunity to attended excellent workshop training in performance skills from delightfully versatile Julie McNamara, culmination in a moved reading of her thought provoking and captivating play Pig’s Sister.

DaDaFest is not only getting slicker and brighter than ever, but it goes one stage further by constantly reinventing itself, new logo’s new, merchandise, new event, new locations, new acts, supporting break through performers and well-established acts is what has made this award-winning festival gain momentum for six years running.

DaDaFest deserves to be Britain’s Best and if you want to get involved all you have to do is get in touch… we can’t wait to see you at DaDaFest 07.
Please contact Gemma Nash, DaDaFest Officer, 01517071733 for details of this years festival.

Roger Cliffe-Thompson – Performance Poet
Faye Christiansen – Playwright