DaDaFest 2022 hailed huge success for international reach

DaDaFest International Festival 2022 – which celebrates the talents of disabled, Deaf, and neurodivergent artists and performers – has been hailed a huge success. 

The six-week inspiring Hybrid themed programme was officially launched in late October at Liverpool’s Unity Theatre, with a diverse mix of live in-person and online events which took place through to early December. 

DaDaFest International Festival 2022 dates were specifically chosen to coincide with UK Disability History Month 2022 and International Day Of People With Disabilities – two key milestones to celebrate the lives of people with disability, both nationally and internationally. 

The Hybrid theme ensured the festival was inclusive and fully accessible for all to participate and enjoy wherever they may be based, with online events and events recorded live to be streamed. 

This now continues with the entire programme now being available online to access via in demand until 18 December. 

Organisers DaDaFest have hailed the festival a huge success due to the “international reach” of this year’s event with approximately a third of audiences being overseas. While online audiences have engaged in the full programme – meaning that instead of favouring particular shows or events, digital festivalgoers have experienced a full and varied programme. 

DaDaFest International Festival Executive Producers Joe Strickland and Rachel Rogers commented, It’s important for arts organisations like DaDa, who started offering more remote and online versions of creative output during lockdown, to continue doing this moving forward. It’s such a shame to see large organisations renege on their promises to do this, but at DaDa we won’t do that. The Hybrid festival theme is very appropriate because this is the way we want to make work available now and in the future. 

“We are incredibly proud that all 15 performances or exhibitions are available online with access included to audiences located anywhere in the world, engaging with them at any time they choose. It’s hugely encouraging that almost a third of audience numbers online are located overseas – engaging a truly international reach. 

“The entire past six weeks of events are still available online until 18 December for people to watch or rewatch – and hopefully spread the word. All events are either free or pay what you decide – so it’s the perfect time to take the plunge and experience what DaDa has to offer.” 

Festival highlights have included Trash Salad; We Ask These Questions Of Everybody; Flight Paths, Past Life, and the Edward Rushton Lecture. 

The festival programme features national collaborations including joint commissions, programme sharing and organisational development covering both disabled and non-disabled artists, and local partnerships working collaboratively to increase artistic excellence, support local established and emerging artists. 

Venues which have supported DaDaFest International Festival 2022 include Bluecoat, Museum Of Liverpool, and St Helens Library. 

Founded in 1984, DaDa develops and presents excellent disability and Deaf arts through a multi-art form artistic programme that includes high-quality festivals, interventions and events, fed into by a year-round programme of engagement work with developing and established artists, young disabled, Deaf and neurodivergent people, their families, and the wider community. 

The first DaDaFest International was presented by DaDa in 2001 as a platform to showcase the work of disabled, Deaf, and neurodivergent artists. 

Image: DaDaFest 2022 – Trash Salad. Credit Joe Strickland

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