Access by Various artists

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Art and disability: a festival

by Russell Brown

The three-day InterACT 2014 Disability Arts Festival kicks off tomorrow at Auckland's Corban Estate and, in its fourth year, provides an intriguing mix of established artists and joyous, unbridled inclusion.

One one hand, there are the gala nights on Thursday and Friday, which feature, respectively, Bionic Valentine, a new production by Interacting Theatre, with music by Genevieve Skinner and Gareth Edwards; and the irrepressible Caitlin Smith, with Touch Compass dance company (who are amazing), Variety Voice choir and The Mutes, with Mike Loder as MC.

But there are literally hundreds of other performances over the three days, along with workshops and longform classes aimed at bringing creative work and play within the reach of people with disabilities. It's quite a remarkable achievement to bring all this together on the part of festival director Paula Crimmens. And it's free. (Although reservations are available for the gala events.)

It also makes me think that although I know a few people the people involved, I know little about disability art, outsider art, or whatever name you care to give it. Help me out here, folks: what happens in this world? What's the buzz?

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