June 19, 2024

Liverpool based disability arts charity DaDa has undergone a huge board expansion to strengthen the Arts Council Portfolio funded organisation, and solidify its creative future as it heads into its 40th anniversary year.

The charity put a call out for new members in the spring and have now welcomed and impressive line-up of 5 new members.

The new board includes award-winning stand-up comedian and writer, Laurence Clarke, Erin Pritchard senior lecturer in Disability studies at Liverpool Hope University, artist and Community Engagement Development Manager with Options for Supported Living Christine Bithell, Barry Avison who serves as Chair of Board of BSL Celebrations and Deaf Explorer, and returning to the board is one of the earliest serving board members Mandy Redvers-Rowe, Edinburgh TV Festival nominated writer and Access Consultant who writes for TV, radio and stage.

Laurence was selected for 4Screenwriting 2021 and the BBC Writersroom Writers’ Access Group. He was one of four winners in the Triforce UKTV Writerslam (out of 1600 submissions) and consequently his comedy pilot Perfect was screened on Dave in 2022.

Laurence indicated he is keen for his involvement with DaDa to see the organisation “involving many more disabled artists and making a difference.”

Historic board member Mandy Redvers-Rowe previously worked as a Youth Theatre Director with The Liverpool Playhouse, was course tutor for Solid Foundations at LIPA, Applied Theatre Lecturer at Hope University, and Head of Participation at Collective Encounters.

Mandy said:

“As a blind writer I am keen to place characters with a different lived experience at the heart of her dramas.

I am delighted to be invited onto the DaDa board and hope that my experience and knowledge can be useful in shaping the future of this strong disabled-led organisation.”

DaDa’s board members serve a typical term of 3 years before either taking a break for 12 months or moving on in order to keep perspectives fresh, with the recent recruitment seeking to build new areas of expertise to expand on DaDa’s work.  Alongside the new additions, board members Alison Breadon, Rob Martin and Hormoz Ahmadzadeh continue to serve with the charity.

Founded in 1984, DaDa (then Arts integrated Merseyside) announced in November 2022 that they had once again been selected as an Arts Council National Portfolio Organisation as part of the Arts Council England’s 2023-2026 investment programme.

Now in its 40th anniversary year, DaDa are continuing their award-winning and pioneering work by reimagining trusted formats, refocusing on our social justice mission, continuing to break down barriers and campaign for change and explore new ways to enable disabled artists to create challenging, entertaining and powerful work.

Executive Producers for DaDa Ngozi Ugochukwu and Rachel Rogers say:

“We are thrilled to welcome a diverse and highly experienced group of artists and disability advocates to support our team in driving DaDa’s vision forward.

It was important to us that our board of trustees was reflective of the disabled community we serve, so it is exciting to have a majority representation of disabled trustees in place.

DaDa has accomplished so much in 40 years, but there is still work to be done in driving change that builds an equitable art world for disabled artists and their influential work.”

DaDaFest International 40th Birthday Celebration edition will take place in Liverpool in March 2025.

Follow https://www.dadafest.co.uk/ for artist commissions and festival announcements.

A BSL version of the announcement of board members will be available over on the blog: https://www.dadafest.co.uk/news/blog/all/