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, wellbeing 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 Young Roarsomes collective, 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, hairstyling, 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’