In keeping with The Gulbenkian’s ‘United’ theme of productions throughout the spring season, April sees the Autism Arts Festival taking place to bring the wonderful world of the arts to a whole new audience.
As part of a wider celebration of diversity and commitment to make arts accessible to all, The Gulbenkian will be producing a two day schedule of films, poetry and theatre for people on the autistic spectrum, by people on the autistic schedule. A two day festival pass is just £20 and buys you access to all 12 hours of creativity being showcased.
Saturday sees a series of short films produced by dyslexic and neurodivergent (of which autism is a form) content creators. Curated by DYSPLA and supported by the Arts Council England, these films formed part of the DYSPLA Moving Image Festival 2018 and explore just what it means to be on the spectrum.
The Gulbenkian Cafe plays host to an open-mic afternoon of poetry in which anything goes, really. Run by the Lava Elastic, who frequently run neurodivergent open-mic nights in Brighton, this will be the first time the company has visited Canterbury and they would love to hear from you. Don’t be afraid, get involved! If poetry isn’t your thing – performing or watching – then pop on back later in the evening for some open-mic comedy that will be sure to tickle some ribs.
Eight events take place on the Saturday and it gets even better on Sunday when The Sensory Circus are in town. Feel Theatre are in charge of that particular domain and are promising a spectacular UV and LED glow performance that combines the thrill of the circus with the sensitivity required for young people on the spectrum. Strap in as you blast into space with Neo, the adorable alien puppet who’ll give you a guided tour of the atmosphere.
Of course that’s just the tip of the iceberg, check thegulbenkian.com for full event listings, and make sure to bring yourself or your child along for what will be a groundbreaking event of inclusivity. For too long it’s been inaccessible for those on the spectrum to enjoy the arts so we’re doing something about it. A two day spectacular that simply cannot be missed. We look forward to seeing your smiling faces on April 27th and 28th!