Notts festival celebrates learning disabled and autistic people

Published: 20 August 2021
Reporter: Steve Orme

Speaking up for learning disabled and autistic people: OneFest

Nottinghamshire town Mansfield is to host for the first time a week-long event called OneFest, a programme of performance and discussions celebrating learning disabilities and neurodiversity.

The festival will present an opportunity for learning disabled and autistic individuals to “take part in workshops that are usually not on offer to them, create new friendships and generally access society in an equitable way”.

OneFest is a collaboration between OneConversation, an activist group campaigning for the rights of learning disabled and autistic people, and Ingenious Fools, a Nottingham-based production company.

OneConversation co-founder Tracy Radford said,we want to ask the question of why society seems to place little value on the rights and lives of learning disabled and autistic members of our world: we’re not satisfied and neither should you be.”

There will be an opportunity to see Mansfield-based disabled-led theatre company Unanima’s State of Independence in which storytellers take an audience “through the tensions and messiness of being learning disabled and autistic”. It will be staged in the Old Library Theatre on Friday 17 September at 7PM.

The following day there will be a family event, Jonny Awsum’s The Kids Show, at 2PM. Britain’s Got Talent winner Lee Ridley, aka Lost Voice Guy, will perform his new work-in-progress show at 7:30PM.

On Sunday 19 September, there will be a panel discussion, Are You Satisfied?, in which some of the OneFest artists and activists debate why society seems to find it difficult to value learning disabled and autistic people.

OneFest will run at venues across Mansfield from Monday 13 until Sunday 19 September. The full programme is available at the OneFest web site.