On Monday I was lucky enough to attend the theatrical premiere of Total Permission at Watershed, Bristol.
The 30-minute documentary offers a glimpse into 12 of the performances that made up the Unlimited Festival as part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. Timed to coincide with the Paralympic Games, each of the creators was disabled in some way, and produced works that challenge our perceptions and preconceptions.
It was utterly entrancing. Each of the artists had their own story or emotions to convey, and did so with skill, insight and extraordinary innovation. Each one presented their own unique highlights, but the ones that stood out for me include Sue Austin (pictured top and left), who had herself filmed underwater in a customised wheelchair; Stumble danceCircus who portrayed the thoughts, feelings and behaviour of Bipolar Disorder with the show Box of Frogs; Laurence Clark’s wryly comedic “You Inspire Me” piece, and Claire Cunningham’s exquisite and very raw Ménage à Trois.
“We all have issues to transcend,” says Austin, “I’m hoping for other people [this film] will push them outside the box, because the whole project is completely outside the box. People said it wasn’t possible.”