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The Beautiful Octopus Club returns to the Royal Festival Hall

Event preview

ON SEPTEMBER 6, 2014, The Beautiful Octopus Club, the largest multi-media club night in London, which celebrates the best of learning disability culture, returns to the Royal Festival Hall for its sixth year with five stages, over twelve live performances and twenty top DJs.

This year’s club will be inspired by five Heart n Soul artists: award-winning singer Lizzie Emeh, multimedia artist and filmmaker Dele Fakoya, singer and performance artist Tilley Hughes, visual artist Ifeoma Orjiekwe and Dean Rodney of glitch pop band The Fish Police.

All are working in collaboration with artist Ben Connors, who will be creating a special edition pullout comic based on their stories. Ben Connors is an artist who has designed visuals for numerous music and performing artists including Gilles Peterson and poet Dean Atta.

The club, which has previously attracted audiences of more than 3,000 people, invites the public to get involved in a multi-sensory artistic experience, take part in a range of creative activities and experience high quality art.

A key highlight of the club will be the SoundLab where audiences will get the chance to create and experiment with their own music tracks. App makers Amplify Studio will create a unique installation just for the club where audiences will be able to create their own digital band using their brand new app NOiZE, which will be premiered at the event and made available for general release later in the year.

There will be live music across three stages including Lizzie Emeh, who will be performing tracks from her new album with a four-piece string quartet, and music from The Fish Police, who have invited some of their favourite bands from their UK tour earlier this year.The evening will also include DJing from some of the best DJs on the learning disability club scene across the UK.

The Tunnel of Love, Heart n Soul’s multi-media installation in Spirit Level, Royal Festival Hall, will also be open to explore, including the Piggie Powder room, created by Tilley Hughes with Bobby Baker.

Heart n Soul is a leading creative arts company who believe in the power and talents of people with learning disabilities. Their work is about art, training and taking part. Diverse artists and participants work together towards their goal of making a more creative, fun and open world. They offer a range of opportunities for people to take part in, train in a new skill or develop their artistic talents. Artists and participants share their work live, recorded or online for as many different people to enjoy as possible. The company reached over 30,000 people per year in live events, creative sessions and online.

Lizzie Emeh was the first solo artist with a learning disability to release an album to the mainstream public with Loud and Proud in 2009, describing her sound as a mix of ‘R&B, jazz and a lot of soul’. Since then, she’s won an award at the Radar People of the Year awards for her achievements in music and the arts in 2010, a Champion of the Year award at the AMI’s, and is currently working on her second album. She also performed with Beverley Knight at the London 2012 Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony. She was discovered on the open mic at Beautiful Octopus Club in 1999.

Dean Rodney is the lead singer of The Fish Police, a three-piece band hailing from South London. Combining upbeat surreal pop imagery with glitch beats and a punk aesthetic, they have created their own unique blend of electronic future funk, pop and hip hop. Along with band mates Matthew Howe (guitar) and Charles Stuart (keys, co-songwriter, background vocals) they mix their love of computer games, cartoons, fast food and Japanese culture to create sounds that set them apart on the UK urban music scene.Rodney was cited as one to watch by Dazed & Confused magazine in 2013.

The much-anticipated return of Unlimited, Southbank Centre’s festival that celebrates the artistic vision and originality of disabled artists, will run from Tuesday, September 2 to Sunday, September 7, 2014. In 2012, Unlimited was one of the highlights of the Cultural Olympiad. It returns again for an ambitious and eclectic mix of theatre, dance, music, literature, comedy and visual arts honouring difference underpinned by a spirit of artistic adventure, searing honesty and wicked humor.

The Unlimited commissions celebrate the work of disabled artists on an unprecedented scale. In 2013, Shape and Artsadmin were awarded funding by Arts Council England, Creative Scotland and Spirit of 2012 to deliver a new three-year programme with key partners including Southbank Centre, British Council, Disability Arts Online and DaDaFest. Between 2014 and 2016, the Unlimited programme will once again support disabled artists creating extraordinary work.

Suitable for ages 18+.

Admission: Free.

Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, London, SE1 8XX