Countdown to disability arts festival

Acclaimed wheelchair dance artist and trainer Alan Martin
Acclaimed wheelchair dance artist and trainer Alan Martin
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A TROUPE of 250 dancers, dramatists, musicians and media maestros is preparing to take to the stage to herald the start of a major disability arts festival across Wigan and Bolton.

Each year, the Dis-patches Festival brings together the very best in local talent from the two boroughs together with nationally acclaimed artists.

The free festival, which is supported by Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust (WLCT), Wigan Council and Bolton Council, will take will take place at a range of venues across Wigan and Bolton between Monday November 26 and Friday December 7.

During the two-week culture festival, 32 events will take place including live performances, film and arts projects from local groups, arts and cultural workshops.

Dis-patches is a local network of disability arts groups which began life in 2006. In previous years the festival has been so popular that it has drawn in more than 1,500 people to either take part or to watch and enjoy the spectacle.

This year’s festival begins with a bang on Tuesday November 27 with a special showcase performance at Tyldesley’s Fred Longworth High School. As well as a mass gathering of local artistic talent, visitors to the showcase will enjoy a performance from critically acclaimed wheelchair dance artist and trainer Alan Martin.

Dis-patches 2012 is also supported by the Liverpool-based Disability And Deaf Arts organisation (DADA). DADA company director and director of North West Disability Arts Forum Ruth Gould will be the guest speaker at the event.

Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust Arts Development Officer, Vicky Fletcher said: “This is a fantastic event which brings together disability art groups and companies from the two boroughs. It aims to highlight the needs and aspirations of local people who have a disability.

“As well as providing a platform for the local disability arts groups the festival will provide a legacy, with the outcomes from the various workshops being used to develop an exciting programme of media-based training courses to help further support disabled people during 2013.”

The Dis-patches Festival showcase takes place at Fred Longworth High School, Printshop Lane, Tyldesley, on November 27 between 6pm and 9pm. The event is free but advance booking is essential. A sign-language interpreter will be available on the night.

Bolton’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Coun Chris Peacock, said: “The Disability Arts Network has grown from strength to strength over the past few years and Bolton Council is proud to be a key partner with its Wigan counterparts in bringing disability arts to the fore.

“There is a wealth of talent out there – from musicians to dancers - and the festival is a perfect showcase for such talent, as well as providing an opportunity for people to get involved in something new.”

Wigan’s Cabinet Member for Leisure, Coun Chris Ready added: “This is a great event which celebrates and shines a spotlight on disability arts. All the events are free and it is a perfect chance to see some great live performances here in Wigan and Bolton. I would urge everyone to come along, take part and enjoy.”

For more information and to book tickets contact Vicky Fletcher on 01942 828 219 or email: v.fletcher@wlct.org