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Artists With Disability Invited To Pitch Proposals For 2021 Sydney Festival

Due to the impact of COVID-19, the deadline for submission to this initiative has been extended to 5pm on 20 April 2020.

Artists with disability are being encouraged to submit proposals for their work to be showcased as part of the 2021 Sydney Festival through an initiative that’s been developed by Sydney Festival in partnership with Accessible Arts.

Launched in 2019 and developed in partnership with Accessible Arts, Sydney Festival’s Disability Programming Initiative invites artists with disability or who are Deaf to put forward projects for inclusion in the Festival’s annual programs.

The Disability Programming Initiative aims to increase the representation of artists with disability in the Festival program by providing a dedicated pathway for the experiences, perspectives and voices of artists with disability to be supported and showcased.

Through the initiative, artists with disability or who are Deaf have been invited to pitch projects for inclusion in the 2020/2021 programs. The selection process is accessible and inclusive and provides support to applicants at each stage of the process. Successful applicants are then offered an opportunity to be a part of Australia’s largest summer annual arts festival.

Kerry Comerford, Accessible Arts CEO: “Accessible Arts is delighted to once again be involved in this important initiative for bringing the work of arts practitioners with disability to a wider audience. The unique perspectives and experiences of artists with disability present exciting avenues for new artistic possibilities right across the spectrum of visual, performing and literary arts. Congratulations to the teams whose work is being presented at the upcoming Sydney Festival 2020. We hope this great outcome will encourage lots more artists with disability to submit proposals for the Festival in 2021.”

Artists with disability are currently being invited to submit proposals for Sydney Festival 2021. Creative teams submitting to the Initiative must be disability-led. This means applicants must demonstrate that the artistic process within the group is led by artists with disability. NB! Due to the impact of COVID-19, the deadline for submission to this initiative has been extended to 5pm on 20 April 2020.

Sydney Festival received over 40 submissions for the 2020 Festival which were reviewed by Accessible Arts and a specialist advisory panel to ensure submissions met criteria. Thanks to the initiative, the 2020 Sydney Festival program presents two new shows that share unexplored aspects of the lived experiences of artists with disability.

Written and performed by Hanna Cormick, The Mermaid weaves together real-life personal narrative, essay-style analysis and poetic imagery in an act of radical visibility. A physical theatre artist for 15 years before she developed a cluster of rare genetic disorders, Cormick cannot breathe normal air or safely be among people. Recontextualising the image of a mermaid, her intimate performance is a meditation on rare disease and a rebellion against the limitations it sets.

Co-written and performed by Green Room Award-winning duo Ryan Smedley and Sophie Smyth, The Aspie Hour is a delightfully irreverent and joyous cabaret from two talented performers who relate their experiences living with Asperger’s Syndrome through the prism of their love for musical theatre. Described as “a masterclass in musical comedy,” Smedley and Smyth’s hilarious performance sees the pair explore their experiences with “Aspiness” – from misreading social cues to their knack for recalling obscure musical theatre facts.