Artscape is excited to announce the fifth annual Unmute ArtsAbility Festival: a six-day event – from November 28 to December 3 – of live performances, theatre shows, exhibitions/installations, site-specific shows, workshops, and public art performances that take place in and around Cape Town in celebrating the International month for Persons with Disability.

To celebrate the fifth anniversary of Unmute ArtsAbility Festival, Unmute Dance Theatre has partnered with Artscape Theatre Centre, Theatre in the Backyard, Kayelitsha Art School & Rehabilitation Centre and ES Records with financial support from Survé Philanthropies, National Arts Council and The Goethe Institute to present a theme called SHIFT (Spaces and Homes Integration Festival of Transformation) with a display of collaborative artistic works by artists with mixed-abilities (with and without disabilities) from mixed genres (music, dance, drama, visual arts, etc).

The jampacked festival will kickstart on the 28 November at 17:00 (Artscape Isibaya) with a music and dance performance film, HERE, by multi-award-winning filmmaker Shelley Barry and artists with disabilities from across the country. The film, which premiered at the National Arts Festival will be followed by a fine showcase of professional works by “Unmute and Friends” at 19:30 (Artscape Theatre) that promises to artistically steer the country towards a vision of an inclusive South Africa as far as disability/ability is concerned. Taking the stage will be more than 20 mix-abled artists from across the country brought together in one space and one performance that will be highlighting what inclusion means to all artists through an integrated dance performance.

Audiences on 29th November at 12:00 (Artscape Theatre) will witness a showcase of works created during the Unmute Schools Outreach Program with Astra School, Mary Kihn School for the Deaf, Eros School, Africa Jam Youth Group and Project Playground from Langa and Gugulethu, featuring works by Unmute Dance Company in celebrating Ability Day. The free event is aimed at encouraging the youth to break the barriers and stigma that is attached to disability and make them realise that we are all abled and have our own abilities.

On 30th November from 13:00 – 18:00 (Artscape Theatre), Unmute’s Inclusive SA Program will be showcasing young talents from from across the country in the form of dancers, actors, musicians, designers and visual artists including UHUSIANO by Foot Expression Dance Company (Kerksdorp, North West), SHEBA by Kutloano Headbush (Gauteng), I STAND TALL by Nyathela Art Works (Witbank, Mpumalanga) and two of Unmute Dance Company’s present works that recently had their world-premiere in Berlin, Germany – 21 QUESTIONS by Nadine McKenzie and BLOODBATH by Siphenathi Mayekiso. The show will be followed by “The Kingdom of Ubuntu” (at 20:00), a music concert directed by Elvis Sibeko and comprising of singers and rappers from ES Records with the aim of showcasing an epic Afrofuturism and depicting the ideal world of Ubuntu.

On 2nd December (from 13:00 – 18:00), Unmute will be taking the festival to the township areas with the aim of creating inclusive platforms for artists and people living with disabilities who might not have the opportunity to go and see theatre performances. “Kasi Ability” will showcase professional works created by Unmute Dance Company in collaboration with Kasi RC, Mandisi Sondo and invited artists through a blind date maze experience that will be taking audiences through the township and presenting performances at the Shack Theatre.

The festival will then wrap up in grand style on 3rd December (from 13:00 – 18:00) with “ArtsAbility in the Backyard” which will witness the transformation of performance spaces from the present to the future by turning two residential streets and five backyards into an inclusive art experience for the Nyanga township community. The free event will showcase a variety of professional theatre work by artists with mixed abilities, an open mic session where local artists will have the platform to showcase their talents, exhibition area by artists living with a disability and an interactive, inclusive play area for young people with and without disabilities.

ArtsAbility is an end product of artistic workshops/creations and programming that is facilitated by artists who are currently pioneering inclusive arts in South Africa from the Unmute Dance Theatre.

Tickets for all productions (R50 – R150 per person) are available via Computicket or Artscape-Dial-a-Seat 021 421 7695.