Festival focuses on inclusivity

Emery Blackwell and Alito Alessi from Alito Alessi DanceAbility International. Alito Alessi will be giving a lecture on inclusive practice at this year’s online ArtsAbility Festival.

The ArtsAbility Festival, presented annually by Unmute Dance Company, will move online this year.

Now in its sixth year, the free virtual festival will run from Tuesday November 3 to Thursday December 3.

ArtsAbility 2020 presents a space for both disabled and able-bodied artists and performers.

This year the festival pays tribute to international month of persons living with disabilities.

Nadine McKenzie, the artistic director, said the aim is to return to the original focus of taking inclusivity in the arts to community spaces and people.

“Over the years the festival has tended to move away from this vision, but last year saw a re-emergence of this core value.

“This year, with the virtual innovation, Unmute has taken the opportunity presented by a month-long event to incorporate many more artists and performances. This has not been possible in previous festivals.”

The objectives of the festival are to provide exposure for artists who are already producing works; a platform for collaborative works between South African, African and global inclusive artists; and to provide learning opportunities through lectures, webinars, Sign Language lessons and dance workshops. Some of the highlights of the festival include Access Denied; a video presentation where three artists from Unmute Dance Theatre explore the different accessibility challenges these artists deal with daily in a society that overlooks persons with disabilities and their need to move around freely and independently.

Each day of the festival will offer a different performance or learning opportunity, with some performances only staying online for 24 hours.

Visit www.artsability.com for more information and the full programme.