This festival feature a UK troupe of disabled drag queens, Quiplash, who provide their own audio description to comedic effect during their performance; New Zealand artist Pelenakeke Brown’s Enter/Return that explores queer indigenous disabled identity; A Sensoral Lecture, a soundscape performance from Sweden-based movement performer Sindri Runudde that uses the medium of intimate voice messages to explore how we communicate; and Butching the Cowboys, a dance performance based on principles of South American surrealism by AnajaraAmarante.
The festival is breaking new grounds, it’s not only for its political message but also for its novel, bold aesthetics.
What makes this festival special is not only the fact that the performers and creators are disabled and queer, but also that the performances provide as welcoming and accessible a space as possible for people from these groups. Sign language interpreters and audio descriptors will be available for a number of shows, as will wheelchair access and comfortable seating with bean bag chairs. The festival ends with a two-day audio description workshop, led by Quiplash, where artists will learn how to improve audio description for blind and visually impaired people, and how to accurately and respectfully describe queer bodies.
“Sophiensaele is the only theatre I can go to without having to call up first to talk about my accessibility needs,” says Noa Winter, who lives with chronic pain and has curated the festival in cooperation with Berlin’s Schwules Museum. In Germany, theatres are often left to rely on their own regular budget to fund increased accessibility, which is a hard decision to make, stresses Winter.
But if the festival is breaking new grounds, it’s not only for its political message but also for its novel, bold aesthetics. “This festival isn’t just about putting on performances about the challenges of being queer and disabled. It’s first and foremost about the aesthetics that queer disabled artists are actually creating.” Straight, able-bodied, Willkommen!
- Queering the Crip, Cripping the Queer Festival Sep 9-17 Sophiensaele, Mitte, in German, English, sign language and audio description.