“Roar is for disabled people to be heard and let you know how we feel, so people don’t jump to conclusions about people with disabilities. People focus on ability not disability.”
(Minty Hoyer-Millar, Roar Project Assistant)
Roar Festival 2018 creates biggest Roar yet!
On Friday 31st August and Saturday 1st September, the Ark-T Centre in Cowley centre was alive with creativity and energy for this year’s Roar Inclusive Arts Festival. Hundreds of people from across Oxfordshire came together to make a Roar for disability, diversity, and inclusivity in the arts. The festival consisted of an exciting and packed-out program of inclusive workshops, well-being and performances, aimed to inspire Oxfordshire’s Disabled Youth in the arts.
Minty Hoyer Millar, Festival coordinator said “this year was better than ever as there were more people and the festival was over 2 days instead of one”.
A volunteer at the festival said ‘It was really great to be a part of ROAR this year. The sense of community and love was overwhelming.’
The Roarsomes, an inclusive group of young disabled and non-disabled activists and creatives worked every week this summer to plan the event and many of them were there over the two days to host the festival. They also took to the stage on the Saturday, in a Dance Performance choreographed by Hannah Ensor and Cecelia McFarlane.
A Mother of a Roarsome said ‘I’m so proud of all the Roarsomes, all the acts were fantastic. An amazing local event’
On Friday, the festival saw young attendees trying their skills at hula-hooping, juggling and acro-balance at the extraordinary bodies inclusive circus skills workshop, creating banana pianos with My Normal Music and Science Oxford and learning to sign-sing with Handy Voices, amongst an array of music, dance, drama and art run by local organisations. Attendees also decorated themselves with Henna, hair-styling, and face-painting, and pampered themselves at the well-being centre with yoga, reflexology and massage run by Christina Sage.
An attendee on Friday noted ‘It was wonderful to see people of all abilities participating’
Saturday highlights included a beautiful Solo dance performance portraying the hidden strength and purity of a woman by Anjali Dance company, stunning and moving music Performances by local young people from Ark-T’s own My normal Music project: a creative intersectional project for LGBTQ+ and disabled young people, a very entertaining interdisciplinary arts performance called ‘Bossy’ fresh from the Royal Academy by Roland Carline and Frances Majekodunmi, and last but not least a comedy line-up to end the night on a high: the critically acclaimed Lost Voice Guy and Juliette Burton.
Comments from attendees on Saturday included: ‘A very inclusive experience’ and ‘I came home inspired and enriched’
Roar Festival was conceived in 2015 as a disability arts festival for young people; to celebrate diversity, ability and difference, with a spotlight on accessible and inclusive arts. It has grown to become a more inclusive two-day festival; a day of workshops and a day of performance.
Roar has evolved to be more than a festival. This year the Roar project has involved working with many groups of disabled and non-disabled young people. Roar encompasses a programme of outreach and in-house workshops and creative opportunities over a six-month period around the festival; celebrating the potential of young disabled people specifically and bringing young people together through the arts. It has extended to involve young disabled people from Oxford in other cultural events, both locally and nationally.
We know that co-production is essential to building any project successfully. As a festival that highlights and celebrates diversity and disability in the arts, we work closely with our expert committee of young disabled people, who direct and shape how the project and festival happen.
The Roarsomes meet regularly to research who is invited to perform in the festival, how the event should run and what should happen to make this as inclusive as possible for people who attend. The Roarsomes provide the crucial perspective of young disabled people who have been involved in arts and are able to share both positive experiences as well as negative ones. They provide us with an understanding of what impact inclusive arts can have and why. We thank them for their endless inspiration, knowledge and hard work to make this festival possible.
If you are interested in joining the Roarsome, an inclusive group for young & disabled creatives, activists and leaders aged 12-25 or would like further info please contact Su at firstname.lastname@example.org
Click here for the Roarsomes page
Once again a huge thank you to our partners for their wonderful support in the movement to secure more inclusion for disabled people in the arts and in society as a whole.
Autism Family Support
Cowley Road Works
Oxfordshire County Council Disability Services
Let’s play Banbury