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Disability arts this weekend: Prometheus Awakes and Cardiff's Unity Festival

Emma Emma | 15:50 UK time, Friday, 22 June 2012

Image from Prometheus Awakes

There are a huge number of disability led arts events happening around the country this summer, 29 of which are part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad's disability programme, 'Unlimited'.

Many of the Unlimited shows are already under way around the country, with most to be showcased at the Southbank Centre in London during the Paralympics - catch them while you're enjoying the sport in the capital.

A significant number of disability arts events are happening before the official start of the Unlimited festival, however. So if you're the kind of person who is interested in arts funding, essentially there was lots of cash on offer for development of disability art this Parallympics year in the UK.

Prometheus Awakes, a collaboration between disability led theatre company Graeae and international street theatre experts La Fura dels Baus, claims to be "the first ever large scale outdoor theatre production in this country that is led by disabled artists". It has been commissioned as part of the London 2012 Festival, a UK-wide arts event to celebrate the arrival of the Olympic and Paralympic games to London.

With help from 70 local disabled volunteers, the show aims to inspire audiences with "extraordinary stagecraft, giant puppets, mass choreography and special effects".

The performance is an interpretation of the ancient Greek myth, where Prometheus is bound to a rock and sentenced to eternal torment, because he stole fire from the gods for human use. It is promised that spectators "will feel the earth move and the sky explode as an eight metre high Prometheus rises from the ground and creates fire and humanity in defiance of the God Zeus". The outdoor spectacular is free and does not require a ticket, so you can just turn up.

Prometheus Awakes premieres on the 2nd of June at 10.00 PM, against the backdrop of the Queen's House in the grounds of the Royal Museums Greenwich. A performance will also take place on the 2nd of August, at the Stockton International Riverside Festival.

The other place you can see disability art this week is at the Unity Festival, Cardiff's international inclusive arts event. Launched on the 22nd of June, it runs for ten days.

Based around the Welsh capital's Millennium Centre, the festival incorporates a wide range of arts, including visually impaired photography, interactive street theatre and plenty of dance. And just to complicate things, funding fans, some shows on Unity's programme originated as Unlimited commissions.

One such commission is a show which has been touring the country for a while and now headlines Unity's child-friendly content. Bee detective is described by the blurb as a "multisensory adventure, combining performance, projected animation and waggle dancing!" Performances take place on the 23rd and 24th of June and during the show, which has been created by deaf writer and actress Sophie Woolley, the audience must help Sophie Bee solve a honeybee murder mystery in a giant beehive tent.

Also on the 23rd of June, the Notables, a band made up of people with and without learning disabilities, will play a free gig. And For adults, comedian with cerebral palsy Laurence Clark previews his brand new show 'Inspired' on the 26th of June. Also an Unlimited commission.

To find out more and read the full Unity programme, visit WMC.org.uk/unity.

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