UNMUTE DANCE COMPANY
With Support from: Artscape Theatre Centre
And Partnership with: Wildwuchs Festival and Prohelvetia
Unmute Dance Company will be celebrating the International Week for People with Disability, with South Africa’s first Integrated Arts Platform- the Unmute ArtsAbility Festival, on its second year this year after a successful first installation in 2015.
The company has partnered with a host of local organisations to bring performers with and without disabilities together in a series of theatre events, public art and installations at Guga S’thebe Cultural Centre in Langa Township and Artscape Theatre Centre.
Festival’s co-curator and Unmute Dance Company member Nadine Mckenzie points out: “What is normal to you might not be normal to me.” She has been living with a disability since she was 2 years of age. She adds “People’s perceptions and preconceived ideas about what they think about people with disability, it’s either people run or they are apologetic towards us, people in society are not open about disability because they are hardly exposed or engage with it”
The festival’s theme is accessibility and it is aimed at starting dialogues on inclusion and opening a platform for the society to engage on disability and integration. It challenges Artists, Musicians, Dancers, Actors and puppeteers to collaborate or create inclusive works of art with mixed abled performers and also challenge people’s misconceptions about disability while focusing on ability rather than disability.
The program includes live performances and installations that have been refined through artistic workshops and collaborations facilitated by artists from the Unmute Dance Company who are currently pioneering integrated arts in South Africa. The company consists of Artists with mixed abilities and/or disabilities. As the country’s fully-fledged integrated performing arts organization, they seek to inspire the inclusion of differently abled people in society through the arts.
One of the highlights of the Unmute ArtsAbility Festival is Access-Ability and Imbizo, which will be staged in celebration of International Day for People with Disability at Guga S’thebe on the 1st of December and Artscape Theatre on the 2nd of December. Presented in collaboration with Isibonelo Dance Project, Lingua Franca, Unmute Dance Company, Muziek Sensation, Art of Hearts, Jika Madinga, Filia School for Special Needs and Light of Life Theatre. The show brings together performers from different genres and disciplines to create artistic works that interrogate, integrate and celebrate people’s different abilities.
Other exciting events include a Sign Language, Movement and Drama workshops hosted by Andile Vellem member of Unmute, Katherina Cromme and Alessandro Schiattarella both artists in Residency from Switzerland.