artist

About Julie McNamara

Julie MacNamara is a leading actress, writer and theatre performer

Julie’s pioneering work explores disabled people’s experiences in mental health, dementia, and other existences. Julie has spoken about her childhood in Liverpool, growing up in a happy, unusual Irish Catholic family full of disabled people whose political aggression and survival strategies taught her crucial life lessons. As an adult, her chosen ‘tribe’ became the disabled people’s movement.

Artistic Director

Julie is currently the Artistic Director of Vital Xposure, one of UK’s leading disability-led theatre companies within Arts Council England’s national portfolio.  As both an artist and activist, she is a lead voice within Disability Arts on international stages.  During the 1990s, Julie spent several as Artistic Director of London Disability Arts Forum (LDAF), the first disability arts organisation in the UK that was founded, run and controlled by disabled people. Whilst at LDAF, she started the London Disability Film Festival with long-time collaborator, Caglar Kimyoncu, which was hosted at BFI on London’s South Bank for 8 years.

Mad Woman Made Good

A self-proclaimed ‘Mad Woman Made Good’, Julie’s work is driven by a passion for social justice, informed by a lifelong preoccupation with excluded voices within locked-in spaces. Her particular interests lie in discourses and representations of madness on stage, and writing disability into the heart of theatre with her own unique ‘access aesthetic’.

Recent Theatre Work

She is an award-winning playwright (Best of the Fest 2018, Picture This Film Festival Performance Award 2017, Unlimited 2014, Southbank Show Award ITV 2010 / DaDa Writers Award 2009), and her work is widely published in poetry anthologies and non-fiction discourses on Disability and Mental Health. She has an extensive theatre production history, both in the UK and internationally. Recent work includes “Let Me Stay” which she created alongside her mother – an extraordinary love letter celebrating a life lived well with Alzheimer’s. She has recently directed a sellout UK national tour of “The Butch Monologues” by Laura Bridgeman.