Mat is a writer and an actor who regularly hosts and does acts for cabarets, chairs conferences, does key note and after dinner speaking, gives lectures on his work in artistic and disability framings, and can provide performance skills workshops for disabled people. He has been a professional drummer of over 25 years experience.
“Having watched DaDaFest grow over the last few years to the high level of Disability Arts that it celebrates being now, I’m honoured to become one of the patrons, as well as continuing to perform my work within it. Liverpool truly is a City of Multi-Culture, one that embraces Disability Arts as part of its vibrant, exciting, and cosmopolitan character, and I’m proud to be a part of that.”
Sir Bert Massie CBE DL
Bert Massie has spent most of his adult life promoting equality and human rights of disabled people. From 2000-2007 he was Chairman of the Disability Rights Commission during which time the rights of disabled people were strengthened through legislation and through groundbreaking legal cases. Prior to that he was the chief executive of The Royal Association for Disability and Rehabilitation and was instrumental in ensuring that parliament passed the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. From 2008-11 he was Commissioner for the Compact –which is an agreement guiding relationships between statutory and third sector organisations. He has been a member of many statutory committees concerned with meeting the needs of disabled people or advising ministers on appropriate policies.
He is a trustee of a number of charities, including Motability, and is a Governor of Liverpool John Moores University.
Born and brought up in Liverpool, Mike McCartney was educated at the Liverpool Institute High School, tried to get into Art School, but ended up a ladies hairdresser. From here he entered ‘showbiz’ in a band which eventually became The Scaffold. Because of Beatlemania, Mike had to change his name to ‘McGear’, and was an integral part of the 60’s Merseybeat era, but on the more theatrical, poetic side.
He wrote Scaffolds 1967 top 5 single ‘Thank U Very Much’ and in 1968 their big hit ‘Lily the Pink’ reached the top of the National Charts and stayed at number 1 for 5 weeks. McCartney has been a photographer during his entire career, and has published over 10 books, including ‘ Mike McCartney’s Liverpool Life’, ‘Live8 Coolpix’, ‘Sonny Joe’, ‘Mike McCartney’s North Highlands’ etc…He has exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery, London, the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame and Smithsonian Institution in the USA, and in July opens his Scottish exhibition at the Butler Institute of American Art in Ohio. Martin Scorsese commissioned several of Mike’s photographs for his recent ‘Living In The Material World’ film, and more will feature in the coming Time Magazine. In 2010 he had the honour of meeting President Obama at the White House and the following year of showing the Queen round his ‘Mike McCartney’s Liverpool’ exhibition at the new £72 million Museum of Liverpool. In March this year the ‘Wall Street Journal ‘ flew over from New York to interview Mike about the re-issue of his 1968 ‘McGough Mcgear’ album, his other albums and his photography.
Julie McNamara is an award winning playwright and Artistic Director of Vital Xposure, a disability led touring theatre company based in London. She is Associate Artist at Hackney Empire Theatre. The co-founder of London Disability Film Festival with Caglar Kimyoncu, hosted at National Film Theatre, she now curates Disability Film events on an international stage. Recent work includes The Disappearance of Dorothy Lawrence, the award winning: Let Me Stay, a celebration of a life lived well with dementia and a love letter to her mother Shirley aka Queen of the Mersey. Her work with children surviving domestic violence: Whisper Me Happy Ever After has toured London schools and colleges for five years. Born in Birkenhead, she remains strongly attached to Liverpool and regularly produces work here. She has been engaged with DaDaFest since its raw beginnings as part of NWDAF. Her life’s work is about engaging marginalised communities and unheard voices. Her creative endeavours are a celebration of our complexity as human beings, in all our multi-faceted, richly textured identities. She remains a passionate advocate for social justice, an outspoken activist in Disability Arts, a long term collaborator and lifelong fan of DaDaFest.
She has won various awards for her work, including the Peggy Ramsay Award for YARD (Bush Theatre, London), MEN Best Play of 2004 for Perfect (Contact Theatre), finalist of the 2009 International Susan Smith Blackburn Award for The Almond and the Seahorse (Sherman Cymru) and 2010/11 Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry for her retelling of Aeschylus’s Persians (National Theatre Wales).
Productions in 2012 include The Echo Chamber (The Llanarth Group) and two Cultural Olympiad projects, LeanerFasterStronger (Chol/Sheffield Crucible) and In Water I’m Weightless, an Unlimited commission, produced by National Theatre Wales. 2014 saw Forest Forge’s Woman of Flowers (published by Aurora Metro), written for Sophie Stone to perform in spoken and visual languages. In 2016 her play about survivors of Traumatic Brian Injury, The Almond and The Seahorse, receives its German language premiere at Theater Wurzburg and her performance text about Frida Kahlo the 9 Fridas, closing production for the 2014 Taipei International Festival, transfers to Hong Kong. Cosy, an Unlimited Commission, will tour nationally and appear at the Unlimited Festivals at Southbank Centre and Tramway.
Her work has been produced in Ireland, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Poland, Spain, Croatia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, USA and Australia.
She has had seven plays produced by BBC Radio 3 and 4. Her prose has appeared in a variety of journals and anthologies. She edited Shelf Life for NDAF and FACE ON: Disability Arts in Ireland and Beyond for Arts Disability Ireland. She is a Fellow of International Research Centre “Interweaving Performance Cultures”, Freie Universitat, Berlin, where she has been reflecting on her work between so-called mainstream and disability culture, and hearing and Deaf culture, publishing academic papers. Her plays are published by faber&faber, Aurora Metro and Oberon books, including Atypical Plays for Atypical Actors: Selected Plays by Kaite O’Reilly (Oberon, 2016). Kaite works internationally as a dramaturg, mentor and tutor, working with theatre companies and educational institutes to develop emerging and established artists’ performance work.
She is also patron of Disability Arts Cymru and Agent 160.
Jane runs her own coaching, public speaking and equality consultancy social enterprise specialising in supporting disabled people. She is a trustee of Disability Rights UK and Manchester Deaf Centre and previously held the position of Head of Access, Training and Consultancy at RNID – Action on Hearing Loss. She has significant experience the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as a diplomat, Head of Internal Communications and First Secretary for Political and Military issues, Warsaw. Jane was most recently the Chair of our Board, a position which ended in January 2017, we would like to thank Jane for all of her support and leadership during her time as Chair.