July marks the celebration of Disability Pride month. Disability Pride, originating in the USA in 1990 is described as a month to “promote inclusion, awareness, and visibility of people with disabilities, and redefine public perception of disability”. In 2023 in the UK it is now an important part of the allyship & awareness calendar.
Disability Pride Month creates opportunities to change the conversation around disability and change perceptions around disabled people’s living experiences. It is a way of celebrating diversity and difference among the disabled community and highlighting ways to better understand and support folks. It’s also a great opportunity for us to champion some amazing theatre linked to disability – but more on that later, keep reading!
So, how can you show your support across July?!
Displaying the Disability Pride flag
The Disability Pride Flag. It was created by Ann Magill, a disabled woman. The flag is symbolic of many experiences of the disabled community:
Work to become an ally
Support Disabled artists, creatives & theatre makers- go see their work.
For Disability Pride Month we want to share some upcoming shows that feature disabled voices and performers and explore the topic of disability in a variety of ways. It is vital that we champion the work of disabled people to fully reflect the world we live in on the stage. These artists showcase their unique stories and perspectives and create hilarious, captivating, and exciting performances that are relatable and accessible to a wide range of people:
Chop, Dissolve, Burn is a dark comedy written by Lisette Auton and Richard Boggie following two former lovers who are reunited after the pandemic. This story has everything- a criminal investigation, a potential romance, the hilarious dismantling of ableist attitudes and of course a flesh-eating guide dog!
On now until 8th July at Alphabetti Theatre. Tickets via: www.alphabettitheatre.co.uk/chopdissolveburn
Lawnmower Theatre is run by and for people with learning disabilities (they also run a fantastic youth theatre exclusively for young people with learning disabilities!). Their show Retake, Remake is brilliant; it’s a unique and thought-provoking show exploring how learning-disabled people are presented in popular media. They use Hollywood film footage, lip syncing and movement to open a discussion about a wide range of topics including dating, ownership, sexuality and eugenics. Last year at the Northeast Charity Awards, we were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of this show and it has stayed in our minds long afterwards.
Thursday 13th July at Queens Hall Hexham. Tickets via: www.queenshall.co.uk/events/retake-remake
Ingenious Fools presents The Blue Badge Bunch – ReRamped for Newcastle Fringe Festival – Get ready for “The disability 'Taskmaster'!” A hilarious game show where each game represents a different disability, giving kids and grownups the chance to learn about Autism and Cerebral Palsy among others. Host, Benny Shakes invites the audience to join in the games, while resident panellist Mark Nicholas and a guest comedian battle it out to come up trumps, in a show where disadvantage is an advantage!
On Saturday 22nd July at Alphabetti Theatre. Tickets via: www.newcastlefringe.co.uk/blue-badge-bunch
IncludFest is an annual festival from TinArts for d/Deaf and disabled children and young people and their families featuring a wide range of theatre, dance and musical performances and plenty of opportunities to get involved in fun workshops and arts and crafts activities.
On Saturday 29th July at Hardwick Park. No need to book – download the programme via: www.tinarts.co.uk/current-projects/includfest/
We are also looking forward to The Little Cog theatre company’s comedy night featuring stand-up and sketches from Funny Haha, a collective of disabled women comedians and comedy writers. This event is yet to have a date announced but will be held sometime in September.
Little Cog are fantastic disabled led theatre company – you can check out their work via: www.littlecog.co.uk
In November, Disciples by Stellar Quines Theatre Company comes to Northern Stage - a powerful exploration of stories that are too often ignored. Created by an ensemble of women and non-binary performers who identify as D/deaf, disabled and/or neurodiverse, Disciples celebrates joy in the company of others, faith in ourselves and each other and what it means to trust. It questions who gets to be the storytellers of our experiences.
On Tuesday 7th November – Thursday 9th November at Northern Stage. Tickets via: https://northernstage.co.uk/whats-on/disciples/
If we’ve missed any events/performances that you think we should know about across 2023 with disabled theatre makers and/or disabled lived experience at the heart of it, let us know in the comments! #DisabilityAwarenessMonth
Whatever you do this July, make sure you some something for Disability Pride Month 2023.