Poet and songwriter Miss Jacqui is announced to headline Blueprint festival’s Centre Stage evening of local d/Deaf, disabled, and neuro-divergent talent on 22 September at Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch. Miss Jacqui is an activist who has been working to challenge perceptions of disability for more than 15 years. A wheelchair user, she performed as part of the 2012 Paralympics Opening Ceremony, and with her debut EP “Perception” in 2019 she introduced her activism to the music industry to draw attention, particularly to the accessibility of music venues and recording spaces. Miss Jacqui says: “I make music that makes people see the world differently. So that I inspire and make people feel comfortable about being themselves.” Centre Stage will be as much a celebration of d/Deaf, disabled, and neuro-divergent audience members as the performers taking part. The host for the evening is Britny Virginia, who has also curated the event and promises “an evening of fun and laughter”. She is an associate artist at Graeae, the influential theatre company that champions Deaf and disabled actors and contributes to the creative leadership team at Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch. In keeping with one of the aims of the Theatre, Centre Stage is providing a platform for artists from Essex and Outer East London. Contributions from local artists include a screening of a short film by Sarah Elliot, and performances by spoken word poet Rayhad Ali and comedian Zahra Kiernan. Completing the Centre Stage line-up is DJ Chinaman Lee, aka Troi Lee who is a Deaf DJ and founder of Deaf Rave. Britny says: “Centre Stage is an opportunity to celebrate and experience the depth of talent in the local area of East London and Essex from the d/Deaf, disabled, and neuro-divergent community. I am so thrilled and privileged to be curating and hosting it. I am looking forward to the performers growing in their craft and ability - and using this as an opportunity to further their career and relationship with Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch.” Finger food will also be served at the fully accessible evening, which will include British Sign Language interpreters, performance interpreters, captioning, and access workers and a quiet area available. Blueprint: a festival of new ideas has something for everyone. Two weeks of 12 exciting events inside and outside the theatre using every available space from the rooftop to the basement and car park – with new writing, immersive experiences, a scratch night, culinary delights, promenade performances, Essex stories, accessible performances, DJ Chinaman and more. Most events are £5 plus 65p QNext Fee and some are free. Tickets for Centre Stage are £5 | £3 conc. Centre Stage plays on 22 Sep at 6pm. For more details about Centre Stage and the full programme of the Blueprint Festival, click here. Blueprint runs from 12 – 24 September.