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Liberty Festival 2009

  • Date: 30 September 2009
  • Artform: Combined arts
  • Area: London
Liberty Festival, Trafalgar Square, 2009 Liberty Festival, Trafalgar Square, 2009, Photo: Stephen Maclaren

Liberty Festival is an annual celebration of deaf and disabled arts. This year comedy, cabaret, visual arts, street arts, children’s theatre and music combined to make a day of entertainment and spectacle in Trafalgar Square. Brian Oakaby, Project Manager for the Liberty Festival sums up the 2009 festival:

'On Saturday 5 September, the Liberty Festival took place on Trafalgar Square. Following the successful format established in 2007, with zones for different art forms, Liberty 2009 presented over 30 performances from a wide range of leading UK artists and companies, as well as visual arts installations and workshops.

Exciting new work specially commissioned for Liberty featured at this year’s event, with nine new performances in the street arts zone. Highlights of the day included a strong performance by Sally Edwards entitled Sugar, a newly developed collaboration with wheelchair basketball players by StopGAP Dance Company, and Marc Brew’s contemporary dance piece Nocturne. Originally performed as a duet at Liberty last year, this piece has now evolved into a larger performance with four dancers and has toured nationally through Without Walls – a consortium comprising eight of the UK's most strategically significant outdoor arts festivals.

Liberty Festival artists, including Fittings Multimedia Arts, StopGAP and Marc Brew Company, also performed at the September 2009 Decibel event, the Arts Council supported national showcase of diverse artists.

Liberty has become established as an important annual event in the capital and has helped to raise the profile of work by deaf and disabled artists. Between now and 2012, we hope to continue encouraging new collaborations and the creation of ambitious new work. This will help to ensure the participation of deaf and disabled artists in the Cultural Olympiad and in ceremonies and events for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.'

We awarded £30,000 to the Greater London Authority through Grants for the arts towards this year’s festival, which was produced by Greenwich and Docklands International Festival, one of our regularly funded organisations and a member of the Without Walls consortium.