The 29 works featured cover dance, visual arts, music, comedy, circus and theatre. They were each commissioned for the London 2012 Festival and Cultural Olympiad Unlimited programme – the largest ever celebration of disabled and deaf artists that has been running since 2009 and highlights their work on an unprecedented scale across the UK. Unlimited has encouraged 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 to create original and exciting works.
The 200 artists taking part in the Unlimited Festival at Southbank Centre (30 August – 9 September) include The Graeae Theatre Company, the UK’s leading theatre company led by disabled performers whose Artistic Director Jenny Sealey was co-Artistic Director of the Paralympic Opening Ceremony. Graeae’s celebratory protest performance of Ian Dury’s ‘Spasticus Autisticus’ and accompanying energised mass choreography was one of the memorable highlights of the evening. At Southbank Centre they will join with the Melbourne-based performing arts company Strange Fruit to present The Garden, a spectacular aerial, outdoor performance.
Ruth Mackenzie, Director of London 2012 Festival and the Cultural Olympiad, said: “The Unlimited programme is unprecedented, offering more commissioning for disabled and deaf artists than any Cultural Olympiad or festival to date. We are delighted to have had the opportunity to work with world-class artists who have created brilliant work that will inspire and change perceptions when we welcome the world to London during the London 2012 Paralympic Games. I hope this will be one of our most important legacies for future Games and for disabled and deaf artists both in the UK and internationally.”
Jenny Sealey, Co-Artistic Director of the London 2012 Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony and Artistic Director of Graeae Theatre Company,, said: "Having being an artistic advisor for the Unlimited programme since 2009, I am thrilled that it forms such a large part of the London 2012 Festival. For me, it has been wonderful to be part of this globally recognised platform for deaf and disabled performers. Unlimited provides the opportunity for artists to profile their skills, innovation and pioneer creative accessibility with a commitment to create work which is excellent but also informs and challenges. This is something I am passionate about and I embrace our uniqueness. Unlimited inspires a new generation of deaf and disabled artists, transforms perceptions, and provides a stunning finale to the Cultural Olympiad".
Jude Kelly, Artistic Director, Southbank Centre, said: “The Paralympic Games changed sport forever in terms of people’s understanding of the talent of disabled people. Unlimited provides the same platform for deaf and disabled artists to show the extraordinary talent, range and perseverance necessary to make great work. This is a milestone event for culture not just in the UK but across the world.”
The London 2012 Festival is the spectacular 12-week nationwide celebration running from 21 June until 9 September 2012 bringing together leading artists from across the world with the very best from the UK.
Unlimited is principally funded by the National Lottery through the Olympic Lottery Distributor, and is delivered in partnership between London 2012, Arts Council England, Creative Scotland, Arts Council of Wales, Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the British Council.
Highlights from the Unlimited programme include:
THEATRE AND PERFORMANCE
• Creating the Spectacle by artist Sue Austin is a ground-breaking and original piece of work in which the artist ‘dances’ underwater in a specially adapted, self-propelled wheelchair, allowing her the freedom and joy to move gracefully and un-hindered. This is a unique and challenging experience where the audience can choose to view the performance underwater in a swimming pool, equipped with masks and breathing equipment. (Osprey Leisure Centre, Portland, 29 August & 1 September 2012). A film documenting the performances will also be shown. (FREE, Southbank Centre, London, 31 August – 9 September; ICCI 360 Dome, Weymouth, 1 – 9 September)
• Claire Cunningham: Ménage à Trois explores award-winning performer Claire Cunningham's 20-year relationship with her crutches, in a study of love, obsession, loneliness and manipulation. The stunning piece of dance theatre is a collaboration with choreographer and video artist Gail Sneddon, set within an extraordinary, animated environment, enveloping the performers in a surreal, imaginary world. (The MAC, Belfast, 31 August 2012; Southbank Centre, London, 8 September 2012)
• Mad Gyms & Kitchens by Bobby Baker is a show developed out of her battle with illness and her subsequent recovery. The gently humorous production deals with the trials and tribulations of trying to get better, with the help of a fantastical ‘recovery’ apparatus, designed in collaboration with the sculptor Charlie Whittuck (Southbank Centre, London, 31 August – 2 September 2012 and 4, 7, 9 September 2012). Bobby Baker’s Diary Drawings – Mental Illness and Me exhibition is also on show. (FREE, Southbank Centre, London, 31 August – 9 September 2012)
• The National Theatre Wales production of In Water I’m Weightless by writer Kaite O’Reilly, winner of the Ted Hughes Award for Poetry 2010, presents six of the top deaf and disabled performers in the UK, including David Toole and Mat Fraser. They use physicality and dance to recount vivid stories based on interviews the writer carried out with disabled people across the UK (Southbank Centre, London, 31 August – 1 September 2012)
• CAUTION brings together six artists from around the world to work on a series of solo and collaborative performances, video works, still images and installations that allow the artists to explore their limits, break through boundaries and work with the extremes of their abilities to communicate and make things happen. Led by Belfast-based artist and curator Sinéad O’Donnell, CAUTION artists Sylvette Babin (Canada), Mariel Carranza (Peru), Paul Couillard (Canada) Poshya Kakl (Kurdistan-Iraq) and Shiro Masuyama (Japan) interrogate what it means to have an ‘invisible’ disability. (FREE, Southbank Centre, London, 1 – 2 September 2012). The artists are also showing a series of CAUTION video works at the Southbank Centre from 31 August to 9 September.
• Marc Brew Company’s ‘Fusional Fragments’ is a blend of classical ballet and contemporary dance, featuring Grammy Award-winning percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie performing the score she composed for the work with Philip Sheppard. (Southbank Centre, London, 31 August 2012)
• Bee Detective is presented by Tin Bath Theatre – a humorous and fast-paced children’s show that draws the audience into the inner sanctum of a bee hive to help solve a honey bee murder mystery. Bee Detective is an immersive adventure for deaf and hearing children, using cartoons, colourful captions, speaking and signing actors, ‘buzzing’ seats and ‘waggle’ dancing. (Southbank Centre, London, 31 August - 2 September 2012)
• Box of Frogs by Stumble danceCircus is an exhilarating, high-energy performance showcasing a myriad of circus skills, directed by Mish Weaver. The show includes trick-cycling, tumbling, rope work and acrobalance using film and live music. Under the banner ‘Bipolar Circus’, Box of Frogs is a jawdropping night of entertainment. (Southbank Centre, London, 2 – 3 September 2012)
• Candoco Unlimited - Marc Brew and Claire Cunningham, two celebrated disabled choreographers, have each made a large dance piece for Candoco Dance Company’s international company of 12 disabled and non-disabled dancers. Guest dancers from Beijing and Rio de Janeiro join Candoco's own dancers, reflecting the inclusive values of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, while linking previous, current and future Host Cities and celebrating the diversity of London as host in 2012. (Southbank Centre, London, 6 September 2012)
• Skewered Snails, created by Ramesh Meyyapan with Iron-Oxide, is the story of a dysfunctional family and of a boy who flees to the treetops to escape the brutality of his father. Award-winning Billy Mack plays the abusive father, with Adura Onashile as the ineffectual mother and Sita Pieraccini as the sibling rival to Ramesh Meyyappan, who vows never to come down from the trees again. (Southbank Centre, London, 6 September 2012)
• Laurence Clark: Inspired - The internationally acclaimed comedian, presents his new stand-up comedy show, which questions why ordinary, everyday activities are suddenly considered inspirational when it's a disabled person doing them (Unity Theatre, Liverpool, 31 August 2012; FREE, Southbank Centre, London 1 September 2012 (as part of Liberty Festival’s cabaret evening); Bloomsbury Theatre, London, 7 September 2012)
• David Toole and Lucy Hind: The Impending Storm - acclaimed dancer David Toole, in collaboration with non-disabled and disabled UK and South African artists, pushes the boundaries of integrated dance in an explosive and emotional look at the stories we tell, and how we tell them. The performances will feature dance from South Africa’s Remix and music from Dom Coyote and Sandile Gontsana (Southbank Centre, London, 7 - 8 September 2012)
• Private Dancer - Janice Parker’s award-winning performance piece, featuring a life-sized luminous house, 18 eclectic performers and unique choreography. This original event aims to offer each audience member a different and profoundly personal experience of the show. (Southbank Centre, London, 7 - 9 September 2012)
• The Ugly Spirit – Fittings Multimedia Art’s new show, directed by Garry Robson is a mix of music, text and improvisation that fuses the extraordinary talents of avant-garde performance artist David Hoyle with the vocal skills of acclaimed soprano Denise Leigh. The audience is invited in small groups to wander and explore the undiscovered places that lurk behind the scenes in theatres and travelling shows before being taken to a private audience with the famous Siamese Twins, Jessie and Bessie (Southbank Centre, London, 2 - 3 September 2012).
OUTDOOR & CARNIVAL
• Diverse City: Breathe is a documentary charting the unique collaboration with disabled and non-disabled performers from Dorset and Brazil, to create a spectacular outdoor circus, dance and theatrical event to open the 2012 Olympic Sailing events in Weymouth. Produced by Diverse City and created by leading disabled artists – Jamie Beddard, Alex Bulmer and Dave Toole. The film documents rehearsals in Dorset with The Remix and Double Act, and with APAE and Estacao Dancar from Florianopolis, Brazil as they not only prepare for the performance of a lifetime but plan to reshape the of disability arts in Britain (FREE, Southbank Centre, London, 31 August – 9 September 2012)
• Lawnmowers Theatre: Boomba Down the Tyne brings together the spirit of the English Blaydon Races with the Brazilian Boi Bumba in a large-scale performance celebrating both cultures. Music and dance from Brazil will be woven into a free theatrical show performed by artists from the north east of Brazil and the north east of England. An extract of the show called Samba Ceilidh, a specially created Samba inspired by Brazilian and British dance moves, will be showcased in London in September. (Southbank Centre, London, 2 September 2012)
• The Garden presented by Graeae & Strange Fruit is an aerial, outdoor performance where the artists, a group of nomadic story-keepers, climb four-metre sway poles to tell magical stories up in the air above the heads of the audience. (FREE, Southbank Centre, London, 6 – 9 September 2012)
• The Dean Rodney Singers - an interactive audio-visual installation masterminded by Dean Rodney, a 22 year-old artist, rapper and musician. Rodney brings a fantasy world to life with the help of 72 band members, made up of musicians, singers and dancers from seven countries across the world. The global band has created new music, dance and video using cutting-edge web technology, including 23 songs in collaboration with both disabled and non-disabled band members. (FREE, Southbank Centre, London, 31 August – 9 September 2012)
• Simon Allen: Resonance at the Still Point of Change - composer Simon Allen presents the premiere performance of his new work, comprising live music, multi-screen film imagery, speech, song and onscreen text. Allen’s colourful score combines instrumental melodies and electronic sounds with a libretto by Alasdair Middleton and images filmed by artists Joe King and Rosie Pedlow (Southbank Centre, London, 4 September 2012)
• Irresistible - Call of the Sirens - driven by a life-long fascination with warning sirens, composer and musician Jez Colborne presents his new choral work. The piece combines alarm calls with other non-traditional instruments and singing voices to create a symphony of sirens. (FREE, National Theatre, London, 5-6 September 2012; FREE, Southbank Centre, London, 8 September 2012)
• The English Flower Garden - Paul Cummins, renowned for his distinctive landscape installations, presents a series of individually hand-thrown ceramic flowers in celebration of the quintessentially British garden (FREE, Castle Howard, York, 1 June – 31 August 2012; 1 June – 17 September 2012; The Secret Gardens of Sandwhich, Sandwhich and Althorp Estate, Northampton, 11 May – 1 September 2012; Southbank Centre, London, 31 August – 9 September 2012)
• Maurice Orr - The Screaming Silence of the Wind comprises five multi-sensory installations of paintings inspired by the barren, raw landscapes of Northern Ireland and Iceland (FREE, Southbank Centre, London, 31 August – 9 September 2012).
• Unlimited Global Alchemy led by artist Rachel Gadsden presents a medley of visual arts, live performance and film. The works explore the politics and myths surrounding coping with chronic disease, particularly HIV and AIDS, and the fight for survival. The exhibition was born out of Gadsden’s work with the Bambani artist-activist group in the Khayelitsha township on the outskirts of Cape Town in South Africa. (Special film screening, FREE, The Bluecoat, Liverpool, 30 August 2012; Exhibition, FREE, Southbank Centre, London, 31 August - 9 September 2012). In addition to the film screening and exhibition, there will also be an evening of performance, co-directed by Gadsden and choreographer Athina Vahla (Southbank Centre, London, 5 September 2012).
• DASH Arts: M21 - Documenting a live art project that took place in Much Wenlock, Shropshire in May 2012 M21 – The Medieval to the 21st Century documents how disabled artists explore what it means to be alive and working in the 21st century. (FREE, Southbank Centre, London, 31 August – 9 September, 2012)
• Caroline Bowditch: Leaving Limbo Landing - a major multi-artform performance piece in air, in water and on land featuring the stories of 12 east Londoners, and brought to life by an all female cast of dancers and aerialists (FREE, Southbank Centre, London, 31 August – 9 September 2012)
• MACROPOLIS is an animated film created by Joel Simon, which centres on two misshapen toy figurines who attempt to escape from their factory when they realise they are destined for the waste bin. The film is an unusual combination of stop motion, CGI and time-lapse photography, with real-life locations shot on the streets of Belfast. (FREE, Southbank Centre, London, 31 August – 9 September 2012)
• Simon McKeown: Motion Disabled Unlimited is a chance to watch and study the physicality and movement of the modern day disabled athlete, the Paralympian. Simon Mckeown uses 3D software to create a large inflatable sculpture of a disabled athlete, motion captured animations for presentation on public screens and art-led smartphone applications for presenting extra exhibition material (FREE, Middlesborough Institute of Modern Art, Middlesborough, 20 July - 9 September 2012; Southbank Centre, London, 3 – 4 September 2012).
• Chris Tally Evans’ Turning Points is a ten-minute film that celebrates life-changing moments when a meeting, an event, or something unexpected leads us in a new and better direction. Hollywood legend Sir Roger Moore, Olympian Jamie Baulch and visually impaired dancer Lyn Street, are among those to tell their tales. Also as part of the two-year project, over a hundred stories were collected online from people around the UK. (FREE, Southbank Centre, London, 31 August – 9 September 2012; online at www.turningpoints2012.org)
• Throw Them Up and Let Them Sing is a film by artist film-maker Helen Petts exploring the life and works of German artist Kurt Schwitters through landscape, collage, sound and walking. Petts charts the German artist’s journey from a remote island in Norway, where he escaped Nazi persecution over what they called his ‘degenerate’ art and his epilepsy. (FREE, Southbank Centre, London, 31 August – 9 September 2012)
The Unlimited programme is complemented by a range of other works and performances from disabled and deaf artists running alongside the Paralympic Games, including Niet Normaal, a stimulating exhibition of works by artists both disabled and non-disabled (The Bluecoat, Liverpool, 13 June – 2 September 2012) and Mark Rylance’s What You Will: Pop-Up Shakespeare sees 50 actors aged 17 to 70, who have been cast by Shakespeare's Globe and including deaf and disabled artists, perform brief, intimate interactions with the public on the streets of London (28 August – 2 September 2012). Also, Brazilian artist Arthur Bispo do Rosário presents an exhibition bringing together over 80 of his artworks as part of a programme of collaboration between Rio de Janeiro and London 2012 Festival. Admitted to a psychiatric hospital at the age of 29, Bispo do Rosario’s ‘outsider’ art has long been celebrated for its skill and imaginative approach to working with everyday, found materials. (FREE, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 13 August – 28 October 2012).
- Ends -
Notes to editors:
A selection of press images of the Unlimited programme events in the London 2012 Festival is available here
For information about the Unlimited Festival at Southbank Centre please contact:
Helena Zedig on 0207 921 0847 / email@example.com
Katie Toms on 0207 921 0926 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Southbank Centre Press Office 020 7921 0888
For further information please contact the London 2012 Press Office on +44 (0)203 2012 100 or visit the website at www.london2012.com.
The Official London 2012 Join In app is a free mobile guide to help you plan, enjoy and share your Games experience. From the Olympic Torch Relay to the Olympics and Paralympics, the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, plus all the cultural, city and community celebrations happening across the UK, the Official London 2012 Join In App is your essential companion. It is available now at app stores and at http://www.london2012.com/mobileapps/
Public transport and roads in central London will be affected throughout the weekend, particularly around the Mall for the Men’s 20km Race Walk (Saturday 4 August, 17:00-18:30) and the Women’s Marathon (Sunday 5 August). Visit http://www.getaheadofthegames.com/ to plan ahead to avoid delays and disruption to your journeys, and get the latest Games-time travel advice from @GAOTG
About the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival
The London 2012 Cultural Olympiad is the largest cultural celebration in the history of the modern Olympic and Paralympic Movements. Spread over four years, it is designed to give everyone in the UK a chance to be part of London 2012 and inspire creativity across all forms of culture, especially among young people.
The culmination of the Cultural Olympiad is the London 2012 Festival, the spectacular 12-week nationwide celebration bringing together leading artists from across the world with the very best from the UK, running from Midsummers Day on 21 June until the final day of the Paralympic Games on 9 September 2012.The London 2012 Festival celebrates the huge range, quality and accessibility of the UK’s world-class culture including dance, music, theatre, the visual arts, fashion, film, comedy and digital innovation, giving the opportunity for people across the UK to celebrate the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Principal funders of the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival are Arts Council England, Legacy Trust UK and the Olympic Lottery Distributor. BP and BT are Premier Partners of the Cultural Olympiad and the London 2012 Festival.
For more details on the programme, to download the London 2012 Festival official guide and to sign up for information visit www.london2012.com/festival
The Unlimited programme is part of the London 2012 Festival and Cultural Olympiad.
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 to create original and exciting works. Twenty-nine Unlimited Commissions have been awarded. Unlimited is principally funded by the National Lottery through the Olympic Lottery Distributor and is delivered in partnership between London 2012, Arts Council England, Creative Scotland, Arts Council of Wales, Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the British Council
Access: The London 2012 Festival Unlimited programme welcomes disabled and deaf audience members, with audio-described, captioned and British sign language interpreted performances and touch tour events. Please contact venues direct for more information.
About Southbank Centre
Southbank Centre is the UK’s largest arts centre, occupying a 21-acre site that sits in the midst of London’s most vibrant cultural quarter on the South Bank of the Thames. The site has an extraordinary creative and architectural history stretching back to the 1951 Festival of Britain. Southbank Centre is home to the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and the Hayward Gallery as well as The Saison Poetry Library and the Arts Council Collection. www.southbankcentre.co.uk.
London 2012 Games partners:
The Worldwide Olympic Partners who support the London 2012 Olympic Games and the National Olympic Committees around the world are Coca-Cola, Acer, Atos, Dow, GE, McDonald’s, Omega, Panasonic, Procter and Gamble, Samsung and Visa.
LOCOG has seven domestic Tier One Partners - adidas, BMW, BP, British Airways, BT, EDF and Lloyds TSB. There are seven domestic Tier Two Supporters – Adecco, ArcelorMittal, Cadbury, Cisco, Deloitte, Thomas Cook and UPS. There are now twenty-eight domestic Tier Three Suppliers and Providers – Aggreko, Airwave, Atkins, Boston Consulting Group, CBS Outdoor, Crystal CG, Eurostar, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, G4S, GSK, Gymnova, Heathrow Airport, Heineken UK, Holiday Inn, John Lewis, McCann Worldgroup, Mondo, NATURE VALLEY, Next, Nielsen, Populous, Rapiscan Systems, Rio Tinto, Technogym, Thames Water, Ticketmaster, Trebor and Westfield.
There is one domestic Tier One Paralympic Games-only Partner, Sainsbury’s and two domestic Tier Three Paralympic Games-only Suppliers, Otto Bock and Panasonic. The London 2012 Paralympic Games also acknowledges the support of the National Lottery.