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Lord Mayor announces new performing arts studio as Bounce celebrates 10th anniversary

Date: 20 Sep 2022

Category: Culture and arts

Members of the University of Atypical announce new performing arts studio at Bounce Festival's 10th programme launch

Belfast Lord Mayor Councillor Christina Black has announced that the University of Atypical for Arts and Disability is opening a new performing arts studio as it celebrates the tenth anniversary of Bounce Arts Festival.

The Ledger Studio in Royal Avenue will be used for theatre, comedy, dance, music and spoken word performed by D/deaf, disabled and Neurodiverse artists.

The studio will be officially opened on October 7 at the start of the Bounce Arts Festival, which showcases the best new work by D/deaf, disabled and neurodiverse artists at venues across Belfast, Derry~Londonderry and online in Fermanagh and Omagh.

Bounce, which is run by the University of Atypical and supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Department for Communities and Belfast City Council, has grown into one of the top disability arts festivals in Europe. It runs from October 7-9.

Speaking at the launch of the Bounce programme, Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Christina Black said: "To launch this studio during the 10th anniversary of the University of Atypical's annual Bounce Festival is a wholly fitting tribute to Chris Ledger who was such a powerful advocate for arts inclusion and accessibility.

“We’re very proud to invest in Bounce through our Cultural Multi-Annual Grant scheme. It’s fantastic to partner with the only festival in the region that is dedicated to showcasing outstanding new work by D/deaf, disabled and neurodiverse creatives.

“It’s so heartening to see the progress that’s been made over the last decade – and I have no doubt that the University of Atypical is bound for even greater things over the next decade and beyond.  In the meantime, I encourage everyone to take a step outside their ‘typical’ experience and get along to see what Bounce has to offer.”

Damien Coyle, Chief Executive of University of Atypical added: “This is an exciting time for University of Atypical. Over the past decade our fabulous Bounce Arts festival has expanded and we are proud to launch an exciting and eclectic programme that includes music, performance and visual art, drama and dance as well as a book launch by one of the recipients of the Chris Ledger Legacy Awards. While we make Bounce events as accessible as possible to D/deaf, disabled and neurodiverse audiences, we want Bounce to be for everyone.”

“And with the new Ledger Studio we will be able to reach even greater audiences throughout the year. This is a wonderful legacy to Chris who did so much for arts and disability in Northern Ireland.”

In addition to holding events in the Ledger Studio, the organisation is taking over the Crescent Arts Centre for the weekend as well as holding performances in the Lyric, the Black Box, Centre for Contemporary Art and the Nerve Centre in Derry~Londonderry.

Some highlights of the weekend include:

  • The Song of the Bones at the Lyric which charts the story of Ireland’s last witch trial in Islandmagee using electronic pop music with puppetry and spoken word poetry. It features spell-binding narratives by award-winning performance poet Alice McCullough.
  • Celebrated pianist Ruth McGinley performs an original piece at the Crescent Arts Centre.
  • Kids in Control’s Blue Chevy Ensemble will be performing Scenes from Inner Space, a special piece devised with Paula Clarke, the BSL interpreter for BBC NI news. Kids in Control is the Theatre in Residence Company at the new Ledger Studio.
  • Legendary DJ and musician Jonny Mac’s Warriors of the Dystotheque presents Anthropause, the House and Techno session featuring Reverse Jazz & Micky O Brien at the Nerve Centre in Derry.
  • Visual artist Hugh O’Donnell performs Liminal at the Centre for Contemporary Art in Derry.
  • Still Livin’, is an interactive, immersive exhibition by Larry McAree at the University of Atypical Gallery. Larry will also be launching a book telling the story of his life as part of Bounce Festival.

There’s a packed programme this year including pop up performances by the Open Arts Choir and Joel Kenny as well as workshops and masterclasses.

For more information, go to CommunityNI

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