Horizon – Performance Created in England
Today, (Tuesday 20 July), a consortium of England’s leading artist-focused arts organisations have announced the line-up for Horizon – Performance Created in England, a vibrant new showcase for this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe taking place from 16 August, with the public programme during the week of 23 August. Nine new, tour-ready, performance works are to be presented in a range of digital settings, alongside seven new projects, supported as part of a ‘residency’ programme, which enables artists to play with new performance ideas across a range of formats and genres.
The works across both the residencies and live performance strands demonstrate the original idea under which Horizon was first posited earlier in 2021 – celebrating artists who are working across performance disciplines and currently based in England – all born out of a new approach to build deep and sustainable collaborations internationally. Horizon is delivered by a consortium made up of Battersea Arts Centre, Dance4, Fierce Festival, GIFT, MAYK and Transform.
The performance programme includes Olivier Award-winning choreographer and director Botis Seva, founder of Far From The Norm, with BLKDOG, a haunting commentary on surviving adulthood as a childlike artist; Future Cargo, a sci-fi dance show performed in a 40-foot haulage truck is the latest outdoor work by Requardt & Rosenberg, filmed for audiences to experience at home with an intimate sound score. Artist Janine Harrington presents a digital online version of her 2018 Screensaver Series, a five-dancer-strong movement and sound installation inspired by the obsolete screen-saving programmes of early computing; and performance and installation artist Joshua Sofaer’s Opera Helps will use zoom to bring professional opera singers into audiences’ own homes for a one to one performance.
First presented at Contact in Manchester earlier in 2021, mandla rae brings short film As British As A Watermelon which explores the citizenship process, questions the realities of decolonisation, picks apart the long-lasting effects of trauma, and explores mandla’s fragmented memory. Theatre director Olivia Furber collaborates with Palestinian filmmaker, writer and actor Ramzi Maqdisi on The Land’s Heart is Greater than its Map. Created especially for Horizon 2021, Furber and Maqdisi will lead audiences through a 20 minute presentation of their work which guides participants through the streets of their own town, with a soundtrack designed in the streets of Jerusalem.
Built with original music and virtual performances, Chinese Arts Now’s Every dollar is a soldier/With money you’re a dragon invites audiences to roam freely as avatars through an ‘after hours’ digital art gallery. Mixing gaming and 3D technology, writer and performer Daniel York Loh compares the apparent success of the once-richest man in America – William Waldorf Astor – with the migration of Chinese people. Multi-award-winning British Asian choreographer Seeta Patel presents a screening of their reimagining of Stravinsky’s iconic ballet ‘The Rite of Spring’ in the classical Indian dance style Bharatanatyam in the year of the 50th death anniversary of Stravinsky; and Tarik Elmoutawakilis’ Marlborough Productions will enable audiences across the globe to join their widely celebrated Brownton Abbey (BA) – an evolving, international performance collective, centring and celebrating disabled, queer people of colour. Adapted for a digital landscape, Brownton Abbey: Talk Show will be a frank and open conversation.
Moving forward from a year of mass cancellations, drastically reduced opportunities, and with creative freelancers now facing more restrictive and costly regulations for touring work, Horizon marks the development of a thrilling new collaborative model. Responding to the need for different and more flexible ways of thinking, the consortium has placed care, innovation, environmental sustainability and accessibility at the heart of the showcase.
Horizon aims to be distinctive from other performing arts showcases by encouraging connections and relationships to be built between artists and programmers at different stages of an artists’ journey. The inclusion of the seven residencies will offer this – providing an opportunity for artists to develop their ideas while inviting international delegates into their creative process at an early stage.
The Horizon residencies include The Dan Daw Show in which artist Daw will look at his relationship to his disability and to kink, and how power, pride and shame all intersect. It is a show about letting go and reclaiming yourself. Jo Bannon’s Blind Magic is a dance piece with two visually diverse/blind performers and one unreliable audio narrator. It explores the imaginative dance between sleight of hand, deception and dexterity present within magic shows, with a canny parallel to the experience of visually disabled people. Artist and producer Katy Baird will be workshopping Get Off – a funny, relatable and sometimes ‘wee bit grim’ performance that revels in excess whilst exploring ways in which it unites us. Katy asks, ‘what gives us pleasure?’ and ‘how much is too much?’
PROJEKT EUROPA will be working on LET YOUR HANDS SING IN THE SILENCE, a planned performance for one actor to recreate their own personal family tree from memory presented by the international female-led theatre company. Multi-award winning writer and performer Rachel Mars’ will use her residency to develop Forge – a new set of work about memorials, replicas, and human behaviour at spaces with difficult histories. Mars asks what and who memorials are for, and what should happen to places where traumatic events have taken place. Urielle Klein-Mekongo’sTRASH is to be a dark, musical comedy about two working-class black girls who decide to join the expanding industry of earning cash, pushing for financial success at all costs, from social media. ULM will use her residency to explore how TRASH will present power and boundaries in this shiny, online world. UKM’s first self-penned solo show Yvette was presented to acclaim at the 2017 Edinburgh Festival Fringe. And rounding off the residencies, British Flamenco dancer and practitioner Yinka Esi Graves’s will be working on her first solo creation, The Disappearing Act, will draw on her experiences as a black flamenco dancer and the historical questions that have been raised along her journey.
Supported by a community of artists and associates, all performance-makers in the showcase will work collaboratively, and will be encouraged and connected with international artists and partners in order to exchange ideas.
Arts Council England Chair, Nicholas Serota commented:
“Giving England’s artists the chance to perform their work on the international stage is vital for nurturing the ambition, innovation and collaboration that will help our cultural sector to thrive after the pandemic. The Edinburgh Fringe is one of the world’s most important cultural festivals, and we’re delighted to have commissioned Horizon as an opportunity for some of the outstanding performing arts talent in this country to showcase their work to industry professionals from around the globe.”
Tarek Iskander – Artistic Director of Battersea Arts Centre, added:
“We are delighted to be hosting and supporting so many remarkable artists and projects in this inaugural year of Horizon. We were inundated with so many brilliant ideas from across the country – ideas that really deserved their place in Edinburgh and the opportunity to engage with new audiences – so this group are simply the tip of a glorious iceberg of the remarkable performance being created in England.
“Taken collectively, this group represent what is truly special about our performance practice… our rich diversity, our ambition to take risk and reimagine what is possible, our openness to ideas wherever they generate, our determination, our profound understanding that arts and culture can truly change the world; our playfulness, our taste for experimentation, and perhaps most of all, our boundless determination to contribute positively to the world, whatever the circumstances. The artists in this programme are committed to provoking and starting important conversations, not jumping to easy answers, and in presenting this work we can help them build the fruitful national and international collaborations that will benefit us all for many years to come.”
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe presents an opportunity for artists to sell their work to tour internationally. This showcase of England-based artists will enable strong connections between international festivals, producers and presenters even in this most difficult year for artists and creators. The works will all be presented digitally, but conversations between artists and possible presenting partners will look at future opportunities for presenting the work as digital, or as theatres open up, as live.
Commissioned by Arts Council England, the Horizon showcase is being delivered by a consortium made up of Battersea Arts Centre, Dance4, Fierce, GIFT, MAYK and Transform.
The consortium partners are working with several established independent artists to help shape the showcase, including Project O (Alexandrina Hemsley, Jamila Johnson- Small), Javaad Alipoor, Kirsty Housley, Sonia Hughes and Renny O’Shea. Associate partners reflecting different specialisms and art form focuses have also had input into the process, including Akademi, ATC, Bush Theatre, Circus City, The Cocoa Butter Club and Unlimited.
Horizon runs from 16 August, with public programme during the week of 23 August. Visit horizon.uk.
Friday 27 – Sunday 29 August 2021
CCA: Centre for Contemporary Arts, Tramway Glasgow & more
- Artistic Director Jian Yi curates JOURNEY TO THE THE EAST – the first live performance festival to be held across Glasgow in over a year, since the lockdown of Spring 2020
- Programme of award-winning new and retrospective performance work including the Scottish premiere of Yingmei Duan’s Happy Yingmei, previously staged at Hayward Gallery London, and the UK premiere of Frédéric Gies’ DANCE IS ANCIENT, a collaboration with Berghain resident DJ Fiedel
- Ethereal, QTPOC ensemble work Weathervanes by Jian Yi to be presented in tandem during the lead-up to JOURNEY TO THE THE EAST as part of the Dance Base performance selection on August 14 & 15 at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2021
Running 27-29 August, Scotland’s newest performance art and contemporary culture festival JOURNEY TO THE EAST (JTTE) will welcome diverse audiences back into live art experiences with a superstar lineup of contemporary performance over the summer festival weekend at Tramway, CCA Glasgow and locations around town.
Across three days of cutting-edge performances and techno music, premiere film screenings and artist workshops culminating in the final day Symposium event featuring a roundtable of special guest speakers, JTTE expands the definitions of Eastern/Mysticism as an exploration of the unconscious mind. Taking its thematic starting point in the metaphysical concept of the ‘Journey to the East’ from Herman Hesse’s 1932 novel of the same title, JTTE creates the much-needed stress release post-lockdown for Scottish audiences to embark on this epic journey to the other side…
Artistic Director of JTTE Festival, Jian Yi says – “We seek to create psycho-tropic friendly space for artists and audiences to engage in collective experiences of ritual and community. Proposing ‘East’ as internal landscape rather than strictly geographical – it refers to a journey to the other side of human consciousness, social experience and the search for truth.”
The programme, curated by multidisciplinary artist Jian Yi, platforms some of the most exciting and yet unseen contemporary artists working in timely performative practices for our age. Attendees can expect to be both viscerally and intellectually-stimulated with a programme of thought provoking work featuring a carefully selected vanguard of local and international artists.
Programme highlights include: Singapore-based choreographer Daniel Kok (aka Diskodanny), artistic director of Dance Nucleus performing their now classic work Cheerleader of Europe – standing in as the embodied figure of neoliberalist optimism, reinterpreted for the post Brexit-era. Kok’s work has been previously showcased globally, notably at the Venice Biennale, ImpulsTanz (Vienna), Festival/Tokyo and AsiaTOPA (Melbourne).
Previously shown around the world in renowned venue-runs such as at Hayward Gallery London and the Sydney Biennale, Yingmei Duan, presents Happy Yingmei. Duan is part of the original Chinese avant-garde and a contemporary of Ai Weiwei and Zhang Huan in the 1990s Beijing East Village. Premiering in Scotland her critically-acclaimed performance installation, Happy Yingmei is a durational work that invites small numbers of audiences at a time through a doorway into Duan’s poetic fairytale wonderland that is enacted in a forest glade.
Also premiering their work in the UK for the very first time is Frédéric Gies, who alongside long-term collaborator and Berghain resident DJ Fiedel delivers masterclass techno beats oscillating between clockwork composition, and the intensities and chaos generated by dancing bodies surrendering to the desires and forces that traverse them. Drawing from their dance floor experiences in techno clubs and raves, DANCE IS ANCIENT is a durational performance that is a club night and a club night that is a performance – a strictly-limited capacity, live participatory evening of dance with a 4-hour DJ set.
Festival Curator, Jian Yi, joins these contemporary performance legends in presenting Weathervanes as the lead-satellite event of JTTE as part of Dance Base’s curated performance programme at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Part of Dance Base’s late night Fringe happenings on Saturday 14 & Sunday 15 August, this contemporary pagan ritual and offering to the sky will feature an ensemble of non-gender conforming, queer and POC nude dancers performing from elevated heights. They will also be collaborating on a new JTTE Festival commission with Chinese artist Jing Xie who will be continuing her quietly-startling performance intervention practice exploring paradigms of individuality and social conventions. Jing Xie and Jian Yi with friends will showcase this new, collaborative performance work for JTTE on Friday 27 August.
Alongside many more artists presenting live and filmed works, JTTE is set to showcase the Scottish premieres of Sin Wai Kin fka Victoria Sin’s If I Had the Words to Tell You We Wouldn’t Be Here Now, Marcos Lutyens’ collaborative work Hypnotic Show with Raimundas Malasauskas originally produced for the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum NY, and the Indonesian-seminal performance group Breathing Forest Dance Theatre’s masterwork, Dry Leaf – live performances on film screening exclusively at the CCA cinematheque.
On the final day of the festival, JTTE will host some of the most prominent artists and contemporary theorists as discussion panelists on pressing social themes from within curatorial research, international and independent dance and experimental performance art. Speakers at the event include – Dr. Cecilia Wee, independent curator, producer, researcher and former Chair of Live Art Development Agency; Lucy Suggate, vital and leading figure in UK independent dance; and Sophia Hao, prominent curatorial researcher in contemporary visual art performance culture and Principal Curator of Cooper Gallery, Dundee. The discussion will be moderated by Artistic Director of JTTE Festival Jian Yi, opening up to conversations with the public.
Journey to the East takes place from 27-29 August. Tickets available now via Eventbrite: https://jttefestival.eventbrite.com
Scottish Summer Tour
16 July – 14 August
It’s hip-hop…but not as you know it.
Edinburgh performance company Room 2 Manoeuvre set off on a national tour of Scotland from 16 July with City Breakz: a dance based commentary on space, place and identity. The tour begins at Platform Glasgow before taking in outdoor locations across Glasgow, St Andrews, Falkirk and Edinburgh and more.
Created by Edinburgh based performance company, Room 2 Manoeuvre led by Artistic Director Tony Mills and in collaboration with the dancers, the show’s bold and striking juxtaposition of dance and environment asks, where and how do we make room for art and culture to exist, to inspire and to be accessible in a changing city landscape? The City Breakz dancers re-imagine city spaces, change the perception of urban environments and bring dance closer to communities.
City Breakz is an outdoor hip hop dance show featuring four dancers that takes the classic scenario of the hip hop throw down and re-positions it in unusual city locations and common urban structures. Anything can become a dancefloor – a bench, a set of steps, part of a wall – as the dancers negotiate the challenges of uneven surfaces, angles and gradients of cities and towns across the country.
Each performer armed with a patch of linoleum and a sound system – will spring up in unexpected locations for a series of solo roaming performances before coming together at a central outdoor location for one big performance.
Blending hip hop, physical theatre and contemporary dance, backed by music and sound design from The Reverse Engineer (AKA Dave House), City Breakz will seek to bring the true spirit of hip hop to audiences across the country in a wholly unique performance, providing some of the year’s first live entertainment experiences in a relaxed outdoor environment.
On bringing City Breakz to audiences, Tony Mills said: “I consider hip hop to be an original form of site-specific dance that responds to place and society. I myself have gone through those times of carrying my lino and boombox around the town trying to find somewhere to dance. I found spaces, buildings or venues where I and others were given room and encouragement to do our thing. But many of those spaces closed or were transformed. City Breakz is about that journey of trying to find those spaces in your home town where you fit in, where you can develop a sense of belonging and carve out your identity.
“In the rapid urbanisation of towns and cities it feels almost as if culture is being squeezed out to the periphery. So, I want to bring it back to the concrete streets, using an image that, beneath the surface, reveals something inherently important to all of us.”
City Breakz opens at Platform Glasgow on Friday 16 July with more tour dates to be announced. For details visit r-2-m.net.
9 August – 5 September 2021
The Silenced is an immersive, interactive thriller set in Dumfries and Galloway in the South West of Scotland that whisks you away from your everyday life and plunges you into a thrilling, real time, four-week long story full of exciting twists and turns.
MacEwan Sandars has disappeared. Can you find him before it’s too late?
The first 48hrs are the most crucial…
The clock is ticking…
Created by the award-winning Bunbury Banter – known for their site-specific, multi-sensory, immersive productions – The Silenced blends theatre and technology to create an immersive, digital experience for teams of six people. Played via smartphone, each team member will receive individual clues which they will have to work together to solve. Starting on 9 August, clues will be shared over four weeks as teams collaborate to uncover the truth.
This groundbreaking project incorporates live performance, audio clues and messages, as well as a rich background world to explore online. Audiences will be sucked into a gripping and exciting mystery as they try to solve the disappearance of MacEwan Sanders, uncovering twists and turns at every corner. Get ready to unpick clues, solve puzzles and unravel this story full of suspense, intrigue and uncertainty. Nothing is as simple as it seems in this Scandi-noir theatrical production.
The Silenced will evoke the landscape, folklore and history of Dumfries and Galloway within its mysteries. In a time where we have all been more isolated and turning to digital methods of communication, families and friends will be able to experience the interactive journey together. While one team member must be local to D&G, they can collaborate with up to five team members across the country to help solve the case. Choose your own team or Bunbury Banter can help select a team for you to discover the truth, but be careful who you trust.
The Silenced is created by Bunbury Banter and Martin McCormick, with scenes by Martin McCormick and is produced by Bunbury Banter. The cast includes Alison Peebles, Phil McKee, Crawford Logan, Irene Allan, Brian James O’Sullivan and Chloe Hodgson; with a supporting local cast from Dumfries and Galloway.
Ali Anderson-Dyer, Bunbury Banter’s Artistic Director said:“We are thrilled to bring you our latest production of The Silenced. We devised and created it in response to the lockdowns and the feeling of isolation which the last year has brought, to all of us. The Silenced is designed to offer space for our audience to connect with their friends and loved ones, through a shared experience, and for them to explore the fun of participating in something exciting, unique and truly ground-breaking”
Tickets are available to buy now for teams of six players. Visit bunburybanter.com.