Summer’s social care festivals

With the festival season under way, Mark Drinkwater highlights some of the best social care themed arts events coming up this month

Hijinx Theatre celebrates Mencap’s Learning Disability Week by performing ‘Full Circle’ at the Millennium Centre in Cardiff on 18 and 19 June, writes Mark Drinkwater. The Welsh theatre company, comprised of people with learning disabilities, will perform the play based on the true story of Andrew Williams, a man with Down’s Syndrome who climbed Everest in 1996. With dogged determination Williams pursued his dreams and, with the support of his circle of friends, fulfilled the seemingly impossible. Inspiring stuff.

Further north, the Edinburgh Film Festival takes place at venues across the Scottish capital between 18 and 29 June. There’s plenty to choose from, including previously unreleased animations, film shorts and full-length features. Two films stand out for me. The first is ‘Very Young Girls’, a documentary about the youngest victims of the world’s oldest profession that gives a voice to voiceless women tricked into the sex industry at a young age. The other notable premiere is Shane Meadows’ new feature, ‘Somers Town’. This is a bittersweet tale of a teenage runaway, Tomo, who escapes to inner city London and hooks up with a bored Polish teenager. Together they pursue various moneymaking scams to survive.

It’s Refugee Week from 16 to 22 June, which means that from Belfast to Brighton, towns and cities will be hosting cultural celebrations for displaced people. The aim of Refugee Week is to create better awareness and promote the positive contributions of refugees and asylum seekers to our cultural life in the UK.

On 15 June the Celebrating Sanctuary music festival kicks off a week of celebrations on London’s South Bank. A little further along the Thames at Waterloo, Refugee Youth will be hosting ‘Refuge in Film’ – a week of films about refugees at the British Film Institute. Visit to see what’s happening near you.

Mark Drinkwater is a community worker in Southwark, south London.

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