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The Undercover artist story

Undercover Artist exists to profile and promote outstanding work by performing artists with disability.

The idea for Undercover Artist Festival was developed by Access Arts in consultation with Access Arts participants, a range of artists experiencing disability, and the arts workers who work with them.

Collectively these artists and individuals expressed a need for more opportunities for professional performing artists with disability to present their work, and better representation in the industry, particularly by Australia’s major performing arts companies.

In 2015, the inaugural Undercover Artist Festival was led by founding Festival Director Belinda Locke, a role which was then taken on by Harmonie Downes for the following festival in 2017. Both women are professional arts practitioners who identify as experiencing disability.

Artists from across Australia gather on Turrbal and Jagera Country at Queensland Theatre in Brisbane to showcase their work at this festival. Accessible to all artists and audiences, the festival features theatre, dance, music and cabaret performances, works-in-progress, installation art, stand-up comedy, workshops, and forums.

Due to be held in 2020, the biennial Undercover Artist Festival was postponed due to coronavirus and social distancing requirements. The Festival will now be held in September 2021.

To fill the gap left by the event cancellation in 2020, Access Arts has curated Undercover Artist:Online, a showcase of works in development under consideration for the Festival in 2021.  Each of these works has received an Undercover Artist grant from Access Arts.

About Access Arts

Access Arts is Queensland’s leading organisation for performing and visual artists working with disability or disadvantage.

Working alongside artists and other industry organisations, Access Arts drives a creative dialogue around how an inclusive arts ecology enriches our arts industry.


In July 2020, Access Arts were pleased to introduce our leaders for the Undercover Artist Festival 2021.

Festival Director – Madeleine Little 

Festival Producer – Hana Tow