Give Me a Reason to Live – a Hieronymous Bosch-inspired tour de force

 Claire Cunningham in Give Me A Reason To Live MAIN PUBLICITY IMAGE by Ben Nienhuis

Acclaimed choreographer and performer Claire Cunningham returns to Bounce! Disabled and Deaf Arts Festival this year to perform her latest piece, the starkly beautiful Give me a Reason to Live on Friday October 6.

The Scottish dancer was the star of the first Bounce!  in 2012 with Ménage A Trois and was artist-in-residence at the Belfast Festival in 2014.

Inspired by the work of medieval painter Hieronymus Bosch, her startling new solo show fuses movement, music and feats of endurance to explore issues of sin, the judgement of bodies and the notion of empathy.

In this intense, harrowing and ultimately political piece, Claire pushes her mind and body to their utmost limits, in a series of breathless tests of endurance and defiance to a mesmerising sound score by Edinburgh artist Zoë Irvine.

Give Me a Reason to Live was created by Cunningham following her time on the B Project in 2013/14, which was set up to mark the 500th anniversary of Hieronymus Bosch’s death in 2016.

The work is dedicated to and is a live memorial to the disabled victims of the Nazi Aktion T4 euthanasia program of the 1940’s- the ‘pilot program’ of the Holocaust, and to UK victims currently dying from ‘welfare reform’.

It resonates with the experiences of disabled individuals in the UK applying for government support under the new welfare reform guidelines.

Claire said: “The inspiration for Give Me A Reason To Live came from a collection of Bosch drawings of beggars in which all beggars were ‘cripples’. It was speculated that they might have been symbols of greed for Bosch.

“This idea, of the disabled being seen as greedy seemed frighteningly current to what I am witnessing now in the UK -the increase of hate crime against disabled people, the drift of the media into labelling disabled people as scroungers and the shocking tactics of the governments supposed ‘welfare reform’ that is judging and destroying the lives of many disabled individuals.”

Give me a Reason to Live will close the festival on Friday, October 6 at the Brian Friel Theatre at Queen’s University.

The full Bounce! programme, with links to ticketing and more in depth information on the artists is available via the Arts & Disability Forum website,

Event links can also be found on Facebook @artsanddisabilityforum. Or call by in person to the ADF Gallery on Royal Avenue, tel 028 90239 450 email

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