MDI celebrate 25 years of dance in Liverpool with a female focused LEAP 2018 Festival: Suffrage!

Programme highlights announced celebrating women’s vote centenary

MDI celebrate 25 years of dance in Liverpool with a female focused LEAP 2018 Festival: Suffrage!

by Culture Liverpool

LEAP Dance Festival is one of the UK’s most anticipated dance festivals and today producers MDI who celebrate their 25th anniversary this year, can reveal full details for the 2018 festival taking place from 2 to 12 November. The festival will mainly take place at venues across Liverpool Hope University, Creative Campus.

The theme for this year’s festival is suffrage in a tribute to the suffragette movement celebrating 100 years since some women were first given the right to vote. In celebration of this, the festival will feature female protagonists in each of the dance performances, all of which are new shows to Liverpool.

The festival begins at the Capstone Theatre on Friday 2 November with Liz Aggiss: Slap and Tickle. This award-winning show is a dark and ribald physical comedy driven by content that embodies feminist dance practices, is framed by the politics that challenge and resist the ‘authority’ of formal conventions, revising attitudes towards mature female visibility

On Monday 5 November a cast of intergenerational women from Liverpool will perform Gaby Agis: Shouting Out Loud at The Great Hall with a soundtrack by seminal punk band The Raincoats. On the same afternoon Gaby Agis and Eva Maria Mutka will perform a duet entitled Close Streams.

The Warehouse Studio Theatre plays host to Jo Fong: An Invitation on Tuesday 6 November. An Invitation is an interactive and ever evolving piece of theatre that invites audiences to engage and develop the performance.

Over at the Capstone Theatre on Tuesday 6 November audiences will be treated to a double bill of dance in the form of Laila Diallo: In This Moment and Liz Roche: Wrongheaded.

On Thursday 8 November, ACE Dance & Music: TEN will be performed at the Capstone Theatre. ACE have reunited with choreographer José Agudo to make an extraordinary dance piece. Full of intense physical power and human fragility, TEN explores the concepts of moving away and leaving, looking at how and why people choose unimagined destinies over the lives they¹d always thought they¹d live.

Olivier Award nominated Lost Dog’s new show Juliet and Romeo reveals the real story behind the classic love story at the Capstone Theatre on Friday 9 November. With Lost Dog’s blend of dance, theatre and comedy this duet takes on our obsession with youth and our inevitable issues with longevity.

Enter the hypnotic world of MK ULTRA. Rosie Kay’s new work is a high energy, supercharged mash-up of thrilling dance, music and imagery. It is inspired by the bizarre realm of pop culture mind control conspiracies, taking a look at myth and popular culture on Saturday 10 November.

Made possible through a Festival Enhancement grant from Culture Liverpool, the festival concludes with Fagin’s Twist from Avant Garde. The untold story of Oliver Twist’s notorious villain comes to the Epstein Theatre on Monday 12 November, where Street dance meets Victorian workhouse as choreographer Tony Adigun imagines the childhoods of Oliver Twist’s villains

There will also be a national Conference: Our Dance Democracy with performances, debates and conversations in addition to  Vital, Shake It Up and Cultiv8 details of which will be released soon.

The festival will mark the final year at MDI for Artistic Director Karen Gallagher MBE. Karen has championed the development of dance across the Liverpool city region for over 30 years and during her time at MDI has received a great may accolades and awards for her work in the region.

MDI Artistic Director Karen Gallagher MBE said: This feels quite poignant and yet still exciting after all these years of leading such an amazing organisation and festival. I genuinely believe this is the best yet. Celebrating the power of people especially women bringing about change and real transformation is an absolute curatorial gift and I am so excited to share this programme with you. The team have been very much a part of this festival as they are also curating elements and for some taking part. Some companies are brand new to the festival and others have had a relationship with MDI for many years and it’s wonderful to celebrate their continued contribution to dance in Liverpool. I am so looking forward to sharing all of that with you over the coming months.”

LEAP 2018 is part of the #Liverpool2018 celebrations which mark ten years since the city received the prestigious 2008 Capital of Culture title. Each production in the festival will be making their Liverpool debut meaning this the perfect opportunity for audiences to experience never before seen performances.

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Liz Aggiss: Slap and Tickle

The Capstone Theatre

Date: Fri 2 November

Tickets: £11.50/9.50


Shake it Up! Youth Dance Showcase

The Capstone Theatre

Date: Sun 4 November

Tickets: £7.50/6.50


Gaby Agis: Shouting Out Loud

The Great Hall

Date: Mon 5 November

Tickets: £7.50/6.50


Jo Fong: An Invitation

The Warehouse Studio Theatre

Date: Tues 6 November

Tickets: £9.50/7.50


Double Bill: Laila Diallo – In This Moment & Liz Roche – WRoNGHEADED

The Capstone Theatre

Date: Tues 6 November

Tickets: £11.50/9.50


ACE Dance and Music: TEN

The Capstone Theatre

Date: Thurs 8 November

Tickets: £11.50/9.50


Cultiv8 Seminar and performances


Date: Thurs 8 November

Tickets: £50


Lost Dog: Juliet and Romeo

The Capstone Theatre

Date: Fri 9 November

Tickets: £11.50/9.50


Rosie Kay Dance Company: MK Ultra

The Capstone Theatre

Date: Saturday 10 November

Tickets: £11.50/9.50


Avant Garde Dance: Fagin’s Twist

The Epstein Theatre

Date: Mon 12 November

Tickets: £14/12

Tickets can be purchased via TicketQuarter on

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