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Arts Festival

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Riita Sits Badly

Image 1 for Riita Sits Badly Disbility Arts Festival
Presented by Link Up Arts

Riita Sits Badly (not a comment on Riita’s posture, but an anagram of ‘Disability Arts’), is an exciting first for Salisbury: a week-long festival celebrating disability arts, being promoted by the new emerging disability arts organisation for Salisbury, Link Up Arts.

Riita Sits badly takes place from Friday 17th to Friday 24th June in the beautiful, newly refurbished, fully accessible Salisbury Arts Centre, housed in a grade 2* listed church with new contemporary extension.

The key feature of this festival is that all the arts events are led by or created by disabled people. The aim of the festival is to raise the profile of disability arts, provide a platform for local and regional disabled artists, show national work by disabled artists, and reach new audiences and participants (disabled and non- disabled) for high quality disability arts events.

The principal events happening during the week are:


The Way Ahead
Friday 17th to Friday 24th June
Open daily 10am to 4pm excluding Sundays and Mondays.
A national touring exhibition, co- ordinated by artist Caroline Cardus. This wonderful exhibition takes a bold, humorous and thought-provoking look at disabled people’s experience of access and integration. In this exhibition, Caroline Cardus supports disabled artists to speak out about their everyday experience of access, through creating a series of ‘road signs’ drawing attention to the challenges and barriers which disabled people face and which society creates. The artist says: ‘The people who took part in this project produced a very diverse collection of signs. They speak frankly about abuse and discrimination, but also look forward – to personal relationships and integration. Together with them, this exhibition is stronger than one voice alone could hope to be’. Entry FREE

Artist’s Talk by Caroline Cardus
Friday 24th June at 3pm
The artist herself comes to Salisbury to talk about the making of The Way Ahead, and to take questions.

Every nook and cranny of the exhibition space in the Arts Centre will be used to show a stunning selection of work by local disabled artists alongside The Way Ahead. This includes work by Salisbury Shopmobility artists ‘Artmob’; an installation by Tracy Benecke; ‘Fantasy textiles’ by Sue Bunce; ‘Layered Prints and Crumpled Poems’ by Gini Churchill; and landscapes by Heather Jones. Entry FREE.


Sensing the Space
Tuesday 21st June 7.30 – 8.30pm
Dance workshop leader Michael Mitchell creates an original, quirky and fun workshop open to all. Sitting, lying, standing or relating to others, explore how your body moves. There will be interactive music and lighting/visuals specially composed for the event by OpenTone.

Michael is a wheelchair user who will work alongside another dancer in this workshop which is open to all abilities and sensitive to different needs. Regardless of experience, this is a really fun workshop for everyone to get involved in. £3.50 (concessions £2.50).

Riita’s Wild Things
Wednesday 22nd June 10am to 4pm
Visually impaired visual artist Mike O’Hara has been running a series of workshops over recent weeks to create willow sculptures which can be seen in the Arts Centre during Riita Sits Badly. Today Mike will run a one-off workshop to create wire sculpture animals. No experience is needed – just come along for a day of creativity. £3.50 (concessions £2.50).


Wednesday 22nd June at 7pm
Freaks is a disturbing and challenging film – a cult classic described by Time Out as ‘a superb and unique film’. Set in a travelling circus, it shows the revenge taken by a group of circus freaks on a beautiful trapeze artist and her strongman lover after they have tried to kill a midget. The film combines strong black humour with a real sense of terror. Made in 1932, the film wasn’t seen on British screens until the 1960’s, but has now achieved recognition as a masterpiece. 64minutes, black and white. Film subtitled, BSL and audio-described. The film will be followed by a post- show discussion, chaired by Padraig Naughton, director of Equata, the disability arts development agency for the South West region. £3.50 (concessions £2.50)

Live lunchtime music
Thursday 23rd June, 12 noon.
Contemporary and classic guitar music on the Arts Centre café stage from blind musician Carl Morgan. Entry FREE.

Riita’s Big Night Out
Thursday 23rd June, 7pm.
A great night of entertainment, with bar and café open. The evening kicks off with a special ‘Poetry Café’ event: an informal poetry performance from local writers and poets. This will include an ‘open mic’ slot for anyone who would like to have a go at reading / performing their own poetry. The session will be introduced by poet Sam Moran. This is followed by contemporary and classical guitar from Carl Morgan. Headlining the evening is a performance of signed song by the unique and wonderful Caroline Parker, singer and actress. Caroline uses her expressive sign language along with trained mime and dance skills to wow audiences all over the country with her performances of well-known songs such as Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody and Olivia Newton- John’s Physical. Her performances are funny, sexy, moving and beautiful to see. She makes songs accessible to deaf people and signing accessible to hearing people. £3.50 (concessions £2.50).

…and finally, Friday 24th June at 6pm will see the launch of Café LUA, which we hope will provide a regular opportunity for artists to get together for fun, support, discussion and inspiration, in the informal setting of the Arts Centre Café. Open to all to join in. Entry FREE.