ACE/BBC commission disabled artists

Arts Council England has launched five commissions in partnership with the BBC that celebrate the work of deaf, disabled and neurodivergent artists about living through the Covid-19 lockdown.

The commissions, available on BBC iPlayer, are part of the Culture in Quarantine programme.

Face It is two comedy-drama dialogues written and directed by Miranda Walker that explore how two women feel about their appearance and the effect of wearing a mask. The main image features Crystal Marshall as Leonie.

 “I’m delighted to have had the opportunity to write the Face It monologues, which use comedy to explore rarely told narratives” Walker said. “Viewers will meet 50-something Abbey who deals with gender biased ageism at work, and 20-something Leonie, who, like me, has a visible facial difference. It’s wonderful that Face It will reach the large BBC iPlayer audience, and I’m excited to take this step in my career today.”

The other commissions are Hen Night by Vici Wreford-Sinnott, a disabled women-led piece that centres on a young woman celebrating her hen night when  she finds out her  care package has been cut; How to Thrive in 2050 by Kai Syng Tang looks forward to a more creative, decolonised, equitable and “neuro-fantastic” future; SILENT WORLD is a film by deaf musician Signkid that explores living in a silent world in the pandemic, using rap and “sign slang”; Spectrum Sounds is a series of musical compositions by Andrew Hugill inspired by colour, synaesthesia and the autistic spectrum.

The projects were commissioned in May as part of a wider partnership between BBC Arts, ACE, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Arts Council of Wales and Creative Scotland to mark the 25th anniversary of the passing of the Disability Discrimination Act forming part of wider disability programming across the BBC.

 “This batch of commissions from artists across the country showcases the breadth of inspiring work we’ve all missed experiencing over this past lockdown year” said the BBC’s new head of art, Lamia Daboussy. “I’m thrilled that, as part of Culture in Quarantine, these pieces will be brought to life by the BBC. It’s imperative that D/deaf, neurodivergent and disabled professional artists are supported to carry on making brilliant work, as the constraints and continuing effects of this pandemic threaten to silence their vital creative voice.”

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