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See below for the awards already made through the Exceptional Awards programme.

Exceptional Awards - Awards made so far

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New Vic Theatre

Behold - A festival of plays inspired by the Staffordshire Hoard

The New Vic Theatre is set to unearth the stories of the Staffordshire Hoard in an ambitious festival supported by £198,000 investment from Arts Council England’s Exceptional Awards programme.

The ground breaking Behold will take over the entire theatre-in-the-round in summer 2015 and will develop new partnerships between theatre and museums.

Historian Michael Wood has been named as a patron of Behold for which emerging and established artists will be commissioned to create up to 21 pieces work, including three new dramas for the main stage inspired by the many stories of the Hoard.

Stories of how the Anglo-Saxon gold ended up in the field in which it was found, the lives it touched, the objects it comprises, the world from which it comes and what it says about life today will be explored with some pieces being works of fact and others of imagination.

The festival will see with three new dramas commissioned for the main-house stage, exhibitions for front of house areas and short pieces to be performed in the theatre’s bar.

The New Vic’s history of verbatim theatre will come to fore in a new documentary exploring the discovery, while the theatre’s Education department and outreach team, Borderlines, will look at topics associated with the Hoard with members of the local community.

Behold was realised after the New Vic was invited to become an Affiliate Company of the National Theatre Studio last year. With the Studio describing itself as offering ‘a chance to dream’, Theresa Heskins developed a vision for a project which would have a unique regional focus combined with national resonance.

With the support of an Arts Council England Exceptional Awards grant the dream became a reality. The New Vic will continue to work with the NT Studio on the project throughout 2014.

Foundation for Community Dance

Big Dance Weekend

The Foundation for Community Dance will receive an Exceptional Award of £344,780 for the Big Dance Weekend, taking place 12-13 July 2014.

The Big Dance Weekend is an outstanding programme of specially commissioned dance performances and participation events that will animate and positively disrupt public spaces across England.

Commissioned by the Big Dance Hubs across England with the Foundation For Community Dance, these large-scale events will be created by professional choreographers and dance artists working with communities to provide opportunities for people to take part, watch spectacular dance up close and see unusual and iconic locations transformed by dance.

The Big Dance Weekend is a highlight and the finale of the Big Dance Week 2014.

Big Dance Weekend events include:

  • We are the City - a moving installation and tapestry of Liverpool life presented In Liverpool by MDI. Created by choreographer Willi Dorner, this dance installation takes place through the streets of Anfield culminating in Stanley Park
  • Bodies on the Beach - a journey of 200 moving and dancing bodies in the striking landscape of Bridlington beach created by Susanne Thomas presented by Yorkshire Dance
  • Live Bolero - in Nottingham’s Market Square and at the Corby Highland Gathering, Dance4 offer a Torvill and Dean inspired mass performance created by Jeanefer Jean-Charles

Through and Out: Skipping Extravaganza - a cross-over of dance and rope skipping devised by Jorge Crecis with an immersive audio soundtrack presented by Greenwich Dance. Over 500 dance-skippers will unite in electrifying motion in Greenwich Park within the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Broadway

Disaster Playground by Nelly Ben Hayoun

Through its commissioning and artist development programme, Near Now, Broadway has received a £200,000 Exceptional Award to support the production of Nelly Ben Hayoun’s new project, Disaster Playground.

Disaster Playground is a creative platform investigating the design of emergency procedures in the space programme, with world-renowned space experts at NASA, the SETI (Search for Extra-terrestrial Intelligence) Institute and an all-star team of composers, writers and international collaborators.

With a cutting-edge approach and through re-enactment of high alert situations by teams of space experts at NASA and the SETI Institute, Ben Hayoun will question what the space programme could be if members of the public were to share its human condition – the dilemmas faced by scientists over discovery and decision-making under pressure.

The project will result in an evolving platform of live events and experiences featuring films shot on location at NASA Headquarters, SETI, and Disaster and Emergency Response training facilities across the USA.

Award-winning experience designer and director Nelly Ben Hayoun is known as “the Willy Wonka of art and science”. Her bold practice has brought her to investigate the Large Hadron Collider and the empty lands of Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.

Disaster Playground follows on from her research with the hugely successful International Space Orchestra, under Ben Hayoun’s directorship, at NASA Ames Research Center.

Near Now previously welcomed Ben Hayoun at Broadway in 2013, as part of its monthly talks series, to discuss her work founding the International Space Orchestra. 

Modern Art Oxford

Love is Enough - Jeremy Deller

A major exhibition at Modern Art Oxford, curated by Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller, brings together rarely seen works by William Morris and Andy Warhol. Love is Enough will be presented at Modern Art Oxford opening on 6 December 2014.

Love is Enough will examine the prolific careers of these two figures, each of whom developed an artistic practice and a conceptual framework that helped to define the centuries in which they lived.

The exhibition draws together works from public and private collections across the UK and the USA. They include the epic and rarely seen Holy Grail tapestries completed by Morris in 1896, a selection of Warhol’s iconic silkscreens and archival material from the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, including a signed photograph of Shirley Temple posted to a thirteen-year old Andy from the actress in 1941.  

The Stables

Rosemary Lee's 'Under The Vaulted Sky'

IF: Milton Keynes International Festival

The Stables has been selected to receive an Exceptional Award of £215,000 from Arts Council England for 'Under the Vaulted Sky' - an ambitious dance project commissioned from choreographer Rosemary Lee for IF: Milton Keynes International Festival.

Award-winning choreographer Rosemary Lee has been inspired by Milton Keynes’ magical Cathedral of Trees in the city’s Campbell Park to create ‘Under The Vaulted Sky’. The performances in July 2014 will be the culmination of a year-long residency that will have seen Rosemary work with professional and non-professional dancers from across the region.

Situated on an ancient ley line that runs through Central Milton Keynes, The Cathedral of Trees was planted more than 40 years ago on the exact footprint of Norwich Cathedral by landscape architect Neil Higson. Different species of trees represent the character of the Cathedral's sections - hornbeam and tall-growing lime for the nave, evergreens to represent the central tower and spires, flowering cherry and apple as a focus in the chapels. In springtime, colourful bulbs represent the sun shining through stained glass windows onto the ground.

Rosemary’s vision for ‘Under The Vaulted Sky’ will feature the participation of 100 dancers and live music and a specially-composed soundscape commissioned from award-winning composer and instrument maker Terry Mann. The audience will be invited to ‘promenade’ - to move and follow the performance as it weaves around the atmospheric environment of the Cathedral. 

As part of the legacy of ‘Under The Vaulted Sky’, Rosemary will create a film to be installed in other cathedrals in the UK and around the world.

‘Under The Vaulted Sky’ is also supported by Milton Keynes CouncilThe Parks Trust and South East Dance, and sponsored by the University of Bedfordshire. It will premiere over the first weekend of the 10-day International Festival that will also feature music, comedy, contemporary circus and cabaret in a beautiful Belgian Spiegeltent; a spectacular fire and water event on Willen Lake; and a festival for children.

IF: Milton Keynes International Festival runs across various locations and venues in Central Milton Keynes from 18 to 27 July 2014.