10 commissions announced for Unlimited
19th March 2010
London 2012 and Arts Council England today announce that over £400,000 of funding has been awarded to 10 commissions for Unlimited, the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad project. Unlimited will celebrate disability, arts, culture and sport on an unprecedented scale – it is set to transform the disability arts movement in the UK.
Unlimited encourages collaborations and partnerships between disability arts organisations, disabled and deaf artists, producers, and mainstream organisations to celebrate the inspiration of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and produce work like never before.
The project is principally funded by the National Lottery through the Olympic Lottery Distributor, and is delivered in partnership between London 2012, Arts Council England, the Scottish Arts Council, Arts Council of Wales, Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the British Council.
The winning commissions announced today are:
Chris Tally Evans - Personal Best: Turning Points
Personal Best will be a nationwide community storytelling project focusing on those turning points in our lives when we realise what we can become – unique. The resulting tales of hard-won battles and personal triumphs will become a life-affirming online resource and audio soundscape, which can be downloaded or broadcast in a variety of public spaces across the UK. This will ultimately lead to a touring installation and series of interactive workshops for young people exploring the theme of inspiration, role models and turning points in people’s lives.
Kaite O'Reilly with The Llanarth Group - The d Monologues
The ‘d’ Monologues will be a dramatic collection of monologues for Deaf and disabled performers, inspired by the stories and experiences of disabled and Deaf individuals across the whole of the UK. The Llanarth Group hope to produce a body of work that will address the dearth of pieces written from a disability perspective, and parts written for disabled performers. The ‘d’ Monologues will be performed in venues in Wales and across the UK.
Candoco Dance Company - Candoco Unlimited
Candoco Dance Company performed in the handover ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Games – the first time disabled performers have appeared in both events. Candoco Unlimited will build on their reputation as leaders in the dance and disability field to showcase some of the leading disabled artists working in contemporary dance today. Candoco will engage two disabled choreographers to each make a large scale dance piece for disabled and non-disabled dancers, including those from Beijing and Rio de Janeiro to link the past, current and future Olympic host nations. This will result in two world-class inclusive dance pieces that will be performed at a range of festivals and events leading up to 2012.
Graeae Theatre Company – The Garden
The Garden takes its inspiration from Blake’s poem Jerusalem and is an innovative exploration of ‘England’s green and pleasant land’. It is the first of three Graeae / Greenwich + Docklands International Festival (GDIF) co-productions aimed at building the pool of disabled sway pole & street art performers in the UK.
The work will be developed in partnership with Strange Fruit and features a deaf and disabled artistic team and a new ensemble of deaf and disabled sway pole/street art performers. The Garden will make its premiere at GDIF in June 2010. The resulting work will be developed alongside further pieces over the next three years to form a single spectacular for 2012.
Maurice Orr - The Screaming Silence of the Wind
Visual artist Maurice Orr will create four sensory installation pieces inspired by the raw, barren landscapes of his native Northern Ireland. Through sound, paint and natural materials such as fish leather, the piece will evoke a holistic feeling of place. Visitors to the exhibition will be encouraged to touch the surfaces, look at the landscapes and listen to the sounds that have inspired him.
Fittings Multimedia Arts - The Ugly Spirit
Using the fascinating lives of conjoined Siamese twins Chang and Eng Bunker as inspiration and metaphor, The Ugly Spirit will explore the conflicting notions that lie within us in a challenging and critically engaging performance piece. Developed in partnership with David Hoyle, Tanya Raabe and Garry Robson, Fittings will work with disabled and non-disabled young people from the North West to explore issues of identity. The resulting piece will tour a variety of mainstream venues and unusual settings around the country.
Janice Parker - Private Dancer
Private Dancer is an artistically ambitious large scale performance event by professional and emergent disabled dancers. Performed in and around a real sized luminous ‘house’, purpose built with a series of individual rooms, each solo dancer invites audience members to enter their private performance domain. As well as the individual pieces, the hour long performance will include disabled and non-disabled dancers performing throughout the structure encouraging audiences to walk and move around the house. Private Dancer is the result of research and development work which received funding from the Scottish Arts Council’s Disability Arts Open Fund.
Ramesh Meyyappan - Snails and Ketchup
Snails and Ketchup explores the turbulent relationships that prevail within dysfunctional families, inspired by Italo Calvino’s ‘Baron in the Trees’. This darkly comic tale poignantly highlights that despite familial love being unconditional, it is not always possible to exist within the same environment as those we hold dear.
The plight of the family members will be revealed in a solo performance that allows Ramesh to explore several character transitions using an eclectic range of physical / visual styles including: sign mime, movement, aerial and stilt work, bold storytelling and strong characterization.
Jez Colborne with Mind the Gap - Irresistible
Irresistible will be a ‘siren symphony’! Noisy and spectacular, it will be a live performance combining warning sirens and choral music with projections on walls and rocks and dramatic lighting. Developed by learning disabled musician and performer Jez Colborne, with support from Mind the Gap, Irresistible will be presented in a variety of urban and rural outdoor spaces such as Bradford City Centre and Ilkley Moor.
Stumble danceCircus.- Bipolar Ringmaster (without a Circus)
Bipolar Ringmaster will be a one-man show performed by actor Eric MacLennan demonstrating the wild extremes experienced with bipolar disorder and enjoyed in circus. The piece plays with the audience’s perceptions and expectations of mental ill health and performance, blurring the lines between colourful character and delusional insanity, grand achievement or endless obsession. The piece will incorporate a short film of new circus choreography, and will be flexible in performance both for theatre or non-art settings
Ruth Mackenzie, Director, Cultural Olympiad said:
“These are my first commissions since I started work for the Cultural Olympiad Board and I am proud to be working on a festival which will be offering more commissioning for disabled artists than any Cultural Olympiad and festival anywhere in the world. This is a chance to change the way work by disabled artists is perceived and enjoyed round the world, and we are thrilled to have such exciting commissions to get the programme started.”
Moira Sinclair, Executive Director, Arts Council England, London said:
“Unlimited Commissions will bring projects by some of our leading disabled and Deaf artists to new audiences across the UK in the run up to London 2012, showcasing their work on a world stage. We hope that the Commissions will leave the legacy of a strengthened sector long beyond the Games, and we wish all the artists the very best as they develop their work in the coming months.”
Unlimited Commissions is a commissioning fund of £1.5m for new work which is believed to be the largest single investment in creative work by disabled artists. The second half of the Unlimited programme will provide support to artists to develop their talent and skills and present their work to audiences in the UK and abroad. Through Unlimited Talent there will be resources and training to foster young talent and develop skills across the sector, forging new partnerships between disability and mainstream arts organisations. Unlimited International will support collaboration between the artists in the UK and other countries, showcase new work around the world, and promote a global debate amongst young people about disability rights.
Tessa Jowell, Minister for the Olympics, said:
“We want the London 2012 Paralympic Games to help break down the barriers disabled people can often face. The inspirational projects announced today not only showcase the true depth of artistic talent we have amongst disabled people in the UK, but also communicate disability in a creative and thought provoking way that will challenge people’s perception of disability.”
Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, said:
“With a promise to make the 2012 Games the most accessible ever, it's absolutely right to mirror this commitment in the Cultural Olympiad. I'm delighted Graeae and Candoco are amongst the first to be commissioned as part of Unlimited. Their extraordinary creativity and innovation have helped put London at the vanguard of Deaf and disabled arts and it will offer an unparalleled showcase for their impressive work.”
Also See -
Chris Tally Evans profile
Creative Wales Awards video
External Web Sites -
Further information can be found at www.london2012.com/unlimited