The Autism Arts Festival is a two-day festival of arts by and for people on the autistic spectrum.

It aims to be both a celebration of autistic creativity and an attempt to develop the idea of a relaxed performance further to create an entire festival that’s as accessible to neurodivergent people as possible. The festival will also include an exhibition in the Studio 3 gallery curated by the WEBworks collective which will run from 18th – 28th April 2019.

The Gulbenkian and University of Kent’s School of Arts in Canterbury will be hosting a range of performances, screenings and events*.

Tickets can be booked for the Saturday or Sunday as an individual day pass  – Full £12 / Concession £10 / Group (2+) : £5 each.

Or you can book a festival 2 Day Pass for Saturday and Sunday – Full £20 / Concession £14 / Group (2+) £7 each.

Saturday events include:

Dyspla Short Films (Gulbenkian Cinema)
Supported by the Arts Council England, DYSPLA International Moving Image Festival 2018 showcases a collection of moving images dedicated to exploring ‘The Neurodivergent Aesthetic’.

Open Mic Poetry with Callum Brazzo (Gulbenkian Café)
Lava Elastic, a neurodivergent comedy/poetry night based in Brighton, is stretching to Canterbury for the next Autism Arts Festival. This poetry afternoon will feature a mixture of established poets and open mic slots.  If you are interested in performing your poetry, then please just get in touch through the festival website:

#BinariesBeGone by Emma Selwyn (Aphra)
It’s 2068 at the 50th anniversary exhibition of the #binariesbegone movement. Join Sylvie as she/they bring us into the historical gendered world of 2018 where girls will be girls and boys will be boys and where diversity is not yet an outlawed term. What an archaic world that was. We’re now thankful that the revolution really did equalise our everyday relations and difference is no more.

Everyday DayLee by Dayo Koleosho and Lee Philips (Aphra)
Lee and Dayo are forever in love. Well, they are in love with the idea of love, but sadly it has never worked out. They’ve been hurt before, and it hurt real bad. Two guys with learning disabilities go on a quest to imagine their future meeting the right partner. But what stops us from being stuck in a forever loop of rejection?

Oska Bright Film Festival presents Queer Freedom (Gulbenkian Cinema)
A collection of short films celebrating the queer community, love and self-expression. Featuring John and Michael (Canada), which pays tribute to two men with Down’s Syndrome who shared an intimate and profoundly loving relationship, and Life on Two Spectrums, which follows ‘Tia Anna’ a drag queen with Asperger’s.

Rhi Lloyd Williams (Templeman)
Rhi Lloyd-Williams is a poet, playwright, blogger and essayist. She was longlisted for The New Welsh Review’s 2018 essay competition for her collection, “The Wrong Kind of Happiness”, about finding balance as an autistic person in a non-autistic world. Her debut play, “The Duck”, is currently touring. It is a one-woman piece exploring the nature of identity and acceptance around the theme of receiving an autism diagnosis later in life. She has been writing about her own autism on her blog,, for several years, using her lyrical style to communicate what being autistic has meant to her.

Open Mic Comedy with Sarah Saeed (Gulbenkian Café)
Lava Elastic, a neurodivergent comedy/poetry night based in Brighton, is stretching to Canterbury for the next Autism Arts Festival. This comedy show will feature a mixture of established stand-ups and open mic slots.  If you are interested in performing your comedy, then please just get in touch through the festival website:

All Night Avengers (Lupino)
In preparation for Avengers: Endgame, which should be opening in the festival weekend, we’ll be screening four films with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes in the Lupino cinema in an all-night Marvel movie marathon.


Sunday events include:

Jon Adams – The Catography of Autism Research (Aphra)
Jon through the ‘medium of cats’ will present ‘catographically’ a map of an autistic persons view on the current priority’s in autism research, the people who set them and some autistic people’s experiences of participatory research.

(Warning this performance may contain cats, inappropriate language, irony, sarcasm, metaphor, humour & theory of mind.)

Sensory Circus by Feel Theatre (Jarman 1)
Blast off into space with Neo, our little alien puppet and discover the magical wonders of planet circus. Sensory Circus is a UV and LED glow performance combining circus and puppetry created specifically for children and young people with autism and PMLD, followed by a sensory play session.

Open Mic Music with Mel Golding (Gulbenkian Café)
This will feature a mixture of established musicians and open mic slots.  If you are interested in performing your music, then please just get in touch through the festival website:

Stealth Aspies (Jarman 1)
Unlike anything you have ever experienced before. Enter the authentic autistic space and join Alain English, Sarah Saeed, Paul Wady and Hannah Yahya, for authentic stories of late diagnosis, being in the neuroatypical closet and our lives as out autistic people. We are the first 100% autistic theatre company in human history. Are you brave enough to listen, and challenge your entire orientation to humanity? Warm, witty, moving and not supposed to exist. Let alone empathise with each other. Mothers, fathers, professionals, political, lovers, humans. Aspies. Autistics. Humans.

Better Together, Aca Theatre (Aphra)
Join the three delightful Clowns who make waiting at a bus stop a tragically complicated affair. They don’t know it yet, but Tropizo, Doa & Squiggle are on a journey to become best friends! Full of slapstick, acrobatics, and physical comedy, Better Together is an artful, intelligent, and hilarious piece. The show’s visual comedy and use of nonsensical language allows it to be understood by all, making it enjoyable for the whole family.

Adventures of Super Autie Gang (Aphra)
Super Aspie Grrl is back but this time she’s not alone. Over the last year she has been working with other Autistic women, nonbinary and trans people to create a new sparkly spangly fantastical Neurodivergent experience that gives voice to a invisible generation of autistic people and celebrate their extraordinary perspectives. This will including some old favourites and be a work in progress showing.

Deej (Gulbenkian Cinema)
Abandoned by his birth parents and presumed incompetent, DJ Savarese (“Deej”) found not only a loving family but also a life in words, which he types on a text-to-voice synthesizer. As he makes his way through high school and dreams of college, he confronts the terrors of his past, society’s obstacles to inclusion, and the sometimes paralyzing beauty of his own senses. In his advocacy on behalf of other nonspeaking autistics, he embraces filmmaking and poetry, and discovers what having a voice can truly mean.

Tilley Millburn – Tilley Bear, Mummy Bear and Nanny Hippo invite you for an afternoon of tea, ginger cake and stories (Jarman 1)
Three generations of a Kent family with experience of Autism and Mental Health share their experiences, wisdom and advice in a relaxed, informal setting: a replica of their front room!

Derek Paravicini Quartet (Gulbenkian Theatre)
The Derek Paravicini Quartet is the new must-hear group, currently wowing audiences all over the UK, following their successful debut on the BBC’s ‘In Tune’ programme. Four stunningly talented young musicians combine to create a unique sound, portraying a kaleidoscope of emotions – now achingly sad, now humorous, now infused with warmth – and all shot through with a fiery virtuosity. Derek Paravicini Quartet are a musical chameleon, able to change their sonic palette to suit any occasion, with the breathtaking new takes on classic songs and jazz standards, and a repertoire from ragtime to Radiohead, from Irving Berlin to the Beatles, from Cole Porter to Coldplay.


Plus many more. *Schedule subject to change.  Capacities vary across events and admittance will be subject to availability. For more information visit

Children must have a valid ticket and be accompanied by an adult at all times. Children under/over the recommended age may be admitted but will still require a child’s ticket.  Age ranges are provided as a guide and we ask you to consider whether a show is suitable for your child. For further information please contact our Ticket & Information Team on 01227 769075 who will be happy to help.


Plus part of the festival but ticketed separately:

Friday at 8pm – Robert White and Kate Fox: Comedy Double Bill  – click here to book tickets here

Saturday at 3pm Accessible Film Club: The Lego Movie: The Second Part – click to book tickets here

Book the Autism Arts Festival 2 Day Pass for both Saturday & Sunday

Book with season offer Asset 29
Autism Arts Festival 2019

27 Apr ‐ 28 Apr 2019

Our work with young people

Children and Young People are at the heart of what we do, as audience members, as participants and as thought leaders.

Through our landmark ART31 project we are working with young people and partners in Kent to create new opportunities through the arts for under 25's across the county.

Below are some of our current projects focused on the development of young people.

Our projects with young people