Launch of the fourth Bounce!

Launch of the fourth Bounce! arts festival weekender showcasing new work by disabled and deaf artists‏

Tourette’s Hero performs as part of Bounce! Arts Festival

An acclaimed comic play about living with Tourette’s is one of the headline acts at the fourth Bounce! Arts Festival Weekender.

‘Backstage in Biscuit Land’ which takes place on Friday, September 4 at the Lyric Theatre, is performed by writer, artist and part-time superhero, Jess Thom, co-founder of the website,, which celebrates the humour and creativity of Tourette’s syndrome.

Praised by Stephen Fry as “open, frank, funny, intelligent and highly entertaining”, it has picked up rave reviews everywhere it goes.

 This year, Bounce! will extend out of Belfast for the first time with ‘Backstage in Biscuit Land’ being performed at Down Arts centre in Downpatrick on September 5.

 The festival takes place from September 3-6, promising an entertaining and thought-provoking mix of music, theatre, comedy, circus, poetry, photography and dance from some of the UK and Ireland’s top disabled and deaf artists.

Chris Ledger, Director of the Arts and Disability Forum said the aim of the festival was to showcase the very best work around, all produced by artists who are disabled or deaf.

She added: “Once again, we have a strong line-up showcasing the work of some of the best disabled artists on these islands. Unlimited Impact has supported us to show new work it has commissioned and it is very exciting that we have a chance to see the likes of ‘Backstage in Biscuit Land’ being performed for the first time in Northern Ireland. The work is presented in a disability accessible context and it is suitable for anyone interested in the arts – disabled and non-disabled alike.”

For the second year, the Lyric Theatre is the main partner venue. Lyric Executive Producer, Jimmy Fay, said the theatre was excited at being associated with this year’s festival.

  “We are delighted to host the fourth Bounce! Arts Festival Weekender for the second consecutive year at the Lyric Theatre. We can look forward to a packed programme of thought-provoking events, including drama, dance, comedy and music. It’s particularly pleasing to be able to build on the success of last year’s Festival and to see such great work staged again within the theatre.”

 Available daily from Thursday 3rd September, for a limited audience of four people per show, is Shannon Yee’s remarkable immersive theatre piece, Reassembled, Slightly Askew, described by The Stage as A real-life ordeal, captured by a daring, disorientating artistic collaboration, which works brilliantly on so many levels … it should be available on prescription.”

Other highlights include a poetry reading by former British Judo champion Owen Lowery who was paralysed from the shoulders down after an accident while taking part in a charity tournament when he was 18.

Owen will share work from Otherwise Unchanged, his first poetry collection, published by Carcanet Press in 2012, to great critical acclaim. He will also reveal work from his new collection, ‘Rego Retold’. (Saturday, September 5th at 7.30pm).

And on the evening of Sunday 6th at 7.30pm there’s a warm and tender piece called ‘Dancer’, with two performers, one of whom has a learning disability, asking questions about visibility, opportunity and experience and sharing a few dances. Arrive early and there’ll be a chance to experience local poetry during ‘Bards in the Bar’.

 This year’s gorgeous festival poster image, ‘Black Swan’ by disabled photographer Sean Goldthorpe is from ‘11 Million Reasons’, a photographic exhibition commissioned by People Dancing via funding from Unlimited and staged at the ADF Gallery in Royal Avenue. The show portrays disabled people in iconic dance roles, including learning disabled ‘Full Monty’ and a wheelchair user replicating Julie Andrews’s famous Sound of Music role.

This year’s family-friendly activity includes matinee performances from NI-based companies Streetwise Community Circus (‘The Wedding Presence’, Saturday 5th at 1pm and Sunday 6th of September at 2.30pm at the Lyric) and Kids in Control ‘Little Norman wants to Fly’, (Sunday, 2.30pm, Duncairn Arts Centre). The Big Bouncy Sound Castle, which makes sounds when you jump on it, will be on City Hall’s west lawn from 11am to 4pm on Thursday 3rd. Plus there’s a whole range of workshops for all ages, including music, physical theatre, visual arts and poetry, running throughout the whole festival.

The festival launch will be at the Arts & Disability Forum on Thursday 3rd September, from 5-7pm, followed by a launch performance at the Lyric from local musician Catherine Hatt, who will tell her personal mental health story via music from her new ‘Lost & Found’ album, supported by the iDA grant scheme, which was managed by the Art & Disability Forum on behalf of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. Catherine will have a full line-up including harp, double bass, violin and cello (Thursday 3rd at 7.30pm at the Lyric).

 Bounce! has been funded this year by Belfast City Council, the Arts Council and Unlimited Impact with additional ‘in kind’ support from the Lyric Theatre, Arts & Business, Iris Colour and from disabled/deaf people who have helped out as volunteers.

 Noirin McKinney, Director of Arts Development, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented: “Bounce! is a wonderful, eclectic arts festival which shines a light on the quality work by artists, from Northern Ireland and further afield, who are deaf or disabled.  Now in its fourth year the festival features a range of music, visual arts, poetry, comedy and family events and I would encourage everyone to go along and enjoy.”

 To see the full programme as a web publication, please use this link:

 You can buy tickets online at Lyric Theatre or phone them on 028 9038 1081 or send an email to .

 For Downpatrick ‘Backstage in Biscuit Land’ tickets contact Down Arts Centre on (028) 4461 0747 or email


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