Congratulations to the Unlimited 2023 Open Award Welsh shortlist
SPACK the Musical
A musical extravaganza throwing a middle finger up to discrimination and celebrating the charisma, nerve and talent of learning disabled artists.
This co-production between House of Deviant (Wales’ first learning disabled drag troupe, run by Fflamingo CIC) and Vaguely Artistic (Hijinx’s rock band) will culminate in a recorded album and live performances.
Moses, Grobbelaar and Me
A funny and poignant semi-autobiographical show, by Jonny Cotsen and Bridget Keehan (PaperTrail). The story is inspired by Jonny’s experience of his Bar Mitzvah aged 13 and his community’s attitude towards his Deaf identity.
Lauren Jane Williams
The Bestial Room
This immersive installation blends visuals arts, moving image, XR/ AR and durational live performance. The Bestial Room is site-specific and produced in partnership with Gwrych Castle, a picturesque Gothic ruin in North Wales.
Inspired by Angela Carter’s The Infernal Desire Machines of Dr Hoffman, the piece is an atmospheric installation exploring metaphors of isolation, mutability and resilience, in relation to the dis/abled and chronically sick body.
Taking Flight Theatre Company
Martha imagines a world where you can pop down the street and everyone speaks your language. This Deaf-led show follows a group of Deaf adventurers as they travel back in time to Martha’s Vineyard in 1840, in search of a Deaf utopia.
Exploring language, identity, and Deaf history, Martha draws parallels between the historic oppression of two minority languages: BSL and Welsh
Congratulations to the Unlimited 2023 Open Award English and Scottish Shortlist
Access All Areas
The Lifecycle of Locusts
A new immersive stage production featuring 360 video projection.
Inspired by the lives of two famous black autistic people – 17th century polymath Benjamin Banneker and modern-day visual artist, Stephen Wiltshire. The production explores what success truly means in neurodivergent lives.
The Lifecycle of Locusts is created and devised by autistic and learning disabled artists from the award-winning production company Access All Areas.
Wading: Mad Stories from the Water
A photo-essay and interview series documents the lives of queer, Black/brown and disabled boaters currently living off-grid on the UK’s canal network. The piece focuses on the health impacts, pleasures, and challenges of being a marginalised person living a marginalised way of life.
A touring exhibition and event series on a boat, with an accompanying book with the aim to raise awareness about the threats to these off-grid communities.
Languages Between Strangers
What emerges when words fall short?
This immersive symphony weaves Urdu, Ndebele, Arabic, and English, intermingling poetry, rap, and movement. Crafted by three Birmingham storytellers, it captures the intersectionality of people and art.
Languages Between Strangers delves into everyday life, exploring the unexpected connection between two young men at a busy bus stop.
Anjali Dance Company
A triple bill celebrating Anjali Dance Company’s 30th anniversary as a leader in UK inclusive dance.
Six dancers with learning disabilities co-create work with three choreographers to demonstrate their artistic possibilities and showcase inclusive dance talent.
The piece aims to disrupt the sector, using art to ignite conversations, challenge sector norms and engage new audiences.
BLINK Dance Theatre
A play which sees neurodivergent and learning disabled young people take centre stage at the National Youth Theatre’s Creative Production House. The play celebrates a love story between two young people with Down syndrome, and sensitively explores urgent topics relevant to the learning disabled community.
Ahead of the performance, there will be a takeover of the building curated and hosted by neurodivergent young people and BLINK Dance Theatre.
England: South West
Invisible Army: The voices of Carers (unpaid) and those they care for.
Highlighting the everyday challenges and joys of unpaid carers and those they care for. An outreach programme will find 20 carers and their loved ones to provide stories for an exhibition of photography, writing and audio at hospitals in Bristol and Weston.
England: South East
Postcards From My Seaside Town
Inspired by older learning disabled residents’ memories of seaside towns, the project is led by Carousel, working alongside world-leading immersive theatre company dreamthinkspeak.
Together they create, produce, and stage a multi-artform live and digital performance. It uses the familiar and unique elements of the seaside to produce immersive, multi-sensory experiences.
A daring aerial theatre piece weaving black British salon culture with the complexities of disability.
Farrell Cox weaves multiple stories into a gripping social commentary on disability, illness, community care and healthcare. Her narrative-driven aerial performance uses sounds, smells and the circus to immerse the audience and all their senses into its world.
The Pleasure of F**king your Mother
Can a disabled person escape their identity? Can anyone? Can we separate the art from the identity of the artist?
The Pleasure of F**king your Mother is a metatheatrical show about a disabled-led company trying to make work that has nothing to do with their disability. Provoking audiences to think deeply about thorny questions of representation and identity politics.
Echo Adventures – spreading co-created messages of change (working title)
A new children’s dance puppet theatre work by FRONTLINEdance, artist Kim McDermottroe, and a composer.
Echo Adventures has access and lived experience at its heart and uses contemporary dance, theatre, puppetry and music. The work is performed in a range of settings; inside hospitals, schools, outdoors and rural areas.
A rip-roaring one-woman show. Inspired by the great British seaside holiday, rollercoasters, and the Romany Gypsy fortune-telling women of Blackpool Pleasure Beach.
Using mime, song and silent film-style captions, it tells a fictionalised version of an ever-present reality for many people in the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) community. The story is told bilingually, in both English and Romani.
Julie Cunningham and Company
A reimagining of a performance between Pauline Oliveros and Julius Eastman that happened nearly 50 years ago in New York. This new dance work, with existing music by Julius Eastman, will include original vocal score devised with queer collaborators.
Crow explores themes of mental illness, exclusion, alienation and resilience through a queer lens.
England: South East
Detestable, Unmentionable and Ignominious (or, I Am Eleanor)
This novel is a modern telling of the life of Eleanor Rykener, a medieval trans woman/genderfluid sex worker. Eleanor was arrested in the 1390s for public sex in Cheapside, London.
A 14th century Fleabag, the true story is told by an unreliable but extremely entertaining and filthy-mouthed narrator. The story is also accompanied by a set of downloadable songs performed and produced by Kerry Andrew, performing as You Are Wolf.
Livia Kojo Alour
A live musical performance exploring the climate crisis and climate emotions from the perspective of black, indigenous and other people of colour.
Livia Kojo Alour produces poems to accompany live music shared with the wider community at Proteus and Certain Blacks Festival.
British Sign Language is creatively interwoven into the live performance.
A hunt for words to articulate being queer and transgender in mandla’s first language, isiNdebele, spoken in Zimbabwe.
Tracing the roots of Christianity’s influence in colonialism, queer history in Africa, and other places that have been affected by this which have been colonised by the British Empire.
CATEGORY MISTAKE takes the form of a lecture and sermon, fused with elements of cabaret and the elements of Christianity akin to performance art.
misery’s depression cookbook contains community-sourced recipes for when you’re depressed as fuck – or just really tired! A culinary love letter to Mad kin.
Fusing recipes, creative essays, visual art, sound design via QR codes, comics, crip hacks and other community contributions, this is a thoughtfully crafted, accessible choose-your-own-adventure cookbook.
By and for the Mad community and centring queer and transgender people of the global majority.
England: South East
A contemporary dance duet inspired by the Cambodian jungle that was home to Nadenh Poan as a young disabled child.
Reflections offers an intimate, personal perspective on the tensions and memories of leaving home. Nadenh Poan choreographs and composes the piece, performed by dancers Emily Lue-Fong and Christian Brinklow.
A day-long immersive mystery opera, inspired by the works and life of 12th century nun, composer, scientist, and visionary Hildegard von Bingen.
The multisensory piece combines installation, guided visualisation, electronic soundscapes, ritualistic traditions, and live performance.
The Snow Queen
Birmingham-based Propel Dance are the UK’s first all-wheelchair dance company.
An innovative fusion of wheelchair dance technique with contemporary movement. The Snow Queen reimagines the original Hans Christian Anderson story.
The company’s dance artists are all professional wheelchair dancers, and their mission is to encourage disabled people to dance on and off stage.
The Burgundy Book
Told using original music, song, and spoken word, The Burgundy Book is a poetic, humorous and richly layered story.
An artistic and creative response to Renu Arora’s life-changing accident and Near-Death Experience, where she was disabled after being dragged under the wheel of a bus.
How do you transform after a traumatic experience?
The White Noise Factory
This piece is an evolving set of music and sound collaborations, and a performance environment designed to share those collaborations with audiences.
Borne out of a desire to make something that privileges sensory meaning-making over intellectual meaning-making, the work is being made in collaboration throughout with young colleagues for whom language is not a primary means of communication.
Celebrating the neurodivergent trait of stimming as a response to the environment.
Sam Metz creates 15 sculptures that reject the idea of viewing landscape as a site for extraction, where people only ask what you can get out of it.
The sculptures respond to the environment of the River Calder in Wakefield, harmonising this with a celebration of neurodivergence, queer identities and disability.
See Me/Hear Me: The Art of an Extraordinary Life
This live theatre production is written, storyboarded, designed and directed by Sarah Ezekiel, a paralysed visual artist with Motor Neurone Disease (MND), the same condition Stephen Hawking lived with.
Ezekiel uses eye and chin movements to lead this piece exploring the complex lived experiences and fantastical imaginative inner worlds of being ‘locked-in’.
The creative team includes Andrew Irving, a Medical Anthropologist, Alex Herd, a composer with MND, and drag artists, inclduing Cheddar Gorgeous, Pixie Polite and Tete Bang.
England: South West
A fusion of storytelling, belly-dancing, drag, art and robotics, providing an accessible platform for the lived experiences of queer refugees.
This multi-artform performance accompanies a series of creative engineering courses looking to share the piece to a digital audience. Dancing Queer aims to foster more cohesion and empathy within communities.
England: South West
A beatboxing theatre show centring neurodivergence and transness.
This new show combines cutting-edge theatrics, pioneering technology, and jaw-dropping vocal artistry to recount SK’s personal story of an ADHD diagnosis leading to coming out as trans*.
Mara Ba (Gujarati for My Mother)
A semi-autobiographical play, written in English, Gujarati and Swahili. The play explores themes of disability, race, gender discrimination, familial relationships and love.
Telling the story of Rupa, a Gujarati woman who crosses cultural and geographical boundaries and travels in time from 1960s Kenya to 21st century England.
Through physical theatre, multiple languages, original composition, comedy and photography, Mara Ba engages with those whose stories are usually left untold.
Tink and Abra Flaherty
The Gen X Gen Z Project
How can different generations understand each other? Parent Tink daughter Abra Flaherty join forces. In this new work they celebrate family, queerness and neurodiversity.
Inspired by Tink and Abra’s own conversations about trans politics, non-normative families and intergenerational queerness, The Gen X Gen Z Project brings their chats from home to a big stage.
the vacuum cleaner
England: South East
Balmy Army London
Thirty 12 to 25-year-old disabled people from Tower Hamlets bring their work to a Balmy Army event in Manchester.
This piece supports young people in re-imagining a radical vision and new aesthetic for mental health care.
Bea Webster and Ciaran Stewart
Sponges and Spatulas
A British Sign Language piece inspired by Dungeons and Dragons written by Deaf writer Bea Webster in collaboration with a group of Deaf and Disabled BSL-using actors.
Exploring queer/trans and deaf-hearing relationships, facing inner fears and internalised ableism.
Corpores Infames: Disreputable Bodies
Using visual art and performance, this piece investigates the links between trans bodies, bogs and wetlands, and ancient Celtic rituals.
Led by three disabled, Scotland-based trans artists, expect a mud-wrestling dance and an experimental score.
Through experimental and contemporary performance dance, Cloud States explores queer migrant belonging.
Jian Yi draws inspiration from their background in Eastern dance practices to challenge our ‘upright’ perspective of the world. Exploring the diversity of individuality and challenging stereotypes of normalcy and ‘divergence’.
The project amplifies the perspectives and experiences of queer neurodivergent people of colour.
KATABASIS: an underworld opera
This alternative music project builds a mythology around lonely carp’s experience of survival sex, a shockingly common experience amongst trans women.
Drawing on inspiration from Esoteric Christianity, Gnosticism and Greek mythology, KATABSIS takes the audience on an allegorical descent into the underworld.
It proves abrasive and darkwave music can take space in a concert hall, just as trans women can unapologetically take space in a cis-gender able-bodied world.
Do our dreams help us understand who we are? Dream Weaving is a visual arts project exploring dream psychology.
Inspired by the dreams and nightmares that Molly Kent has experienced due to their autism and mental health. This exciting new body of work uses installation and textiles.
By exploring topics like neurodivergence, mental health and digital anxiety, Kent intends to kickstart a safe community conversation.
Nelly Kelly and Afton Moran
The Great British Trans Debate Off
A satirical performance piece playfully interrogates the framing of trans rights as a debate.
Devised and performed by two trans masculine non-binary performers, the piece deconstructs and pokes fun at some of the ridiculous media narratives about trans people.
The characters become ever-more exaggerated versions of how the cis-media sees a ‘typical’ trans person, until the performers are eventually able to break free and reveal themselves, as they really are.
are you paying attention?
A play for young adults exploring the relationship between neurodivergence, mental health and the media. Inspired by the recent rise in online and TikTok diagnoses, are you paying attention? strips back the stigma around self-diagnosis.
are you paying attention? will be staged as an immersive, sensory-friendly show in Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Have You Eaten?: Narratives and Stories behind Recipes from Across Asia
A cookbook of recipes cherished by generations from across East and Southeast Asia. The recipes blend the flavours of home and history with modern cooking and adaptability.
The cookbook combines photography, moving image, painting, drawing, illustrations and writing to bring to life a diversity of Asian dishes and the stories behind them.
We are Creole
This experimentation with printmaking, installation and performance demystifies cultural identities and explores contemporary creolisation, the process of merging Creole languages and cultures with others.
With collaborator Lauren La Rose the piece explores the unique perspectives, cultural expressions, and narratives of disabled, mixed-race diaspora. We are Creole invites audiences to immerse themselves in a celebration of creativity and heritage.
Consent Kitchen (working title)
This educational web series explores consent and boundaries, guided by the concept of learning by exposure.
Episodes will slow down and zoom in on different themes around emotions, grief, felt sense, boundaries, consent, friendship and more. Bringing them to life using live action, live music, choreography, sketch comedy, fantastical costumes, and the live building of sets and props. They will teach and demonstrate relational theory and practice.