Central to Exceptional & Extraordinary was working with four extraordinary artists to produce new artworks that would question and challenge the ways in which we think about, respond to and treat people who are physically or mentally different. Building on the success of Stories of a Different Kind, the project that produced the award-winning performance Cabinet of Curiosities: How Disability Was Kept in a Box by Mat Fraser, the four artists at the heart of E&E created four new artworks – featuring live performance, comedy, dance and film – which were shown to audiences across the UK in 2016. Each artist – David Hevey, Julie McNamara, Francesca Martinez and Mark Smith (Deaf Men Dancing) – has their own experiences and perspectives on disability that have framed and shaped their work. The performances enthralled, delighted and challenged audiences, looking at the issues around a society that values some lives more than others from their own creative, idiosyncratic viewpoint, and proved a powerful stimulus for engagement and debate.

Photo Credit: Julian Anderson