Unlimited has announced over £400,000 of funding to support 26 disabled artists across the UK to create ambitious work covering all genres. Funded by the National Lottery through Arts Council England (ACE) and Creative Scotland (CS) & led by Artsadmin and Shape, the 2014 round of the programme aims to build on the successful legacy that was at the heart of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad, which celebrated the work of disabled artists on an unprecedented scale.

Unlimited will see the selected works staged in collaboration with arts venues and festivals across the UK. From Monday 1 - Sunday 7 September 2014 London’s Southbank Centre will once again present many of the Unlimited supported works in a high profile cross-art form festival. As well as staging works there will be a chance to share in some of the development of the R&D projects during the festival. Unlimited partners The British Council will also help find international touring opportunities for supported works.  

Major projects

The nine major new works which will be supported are:

  • Dancer - Ian Johnston: A performance art work created by Ian Johnston, Gary Gardiner and Adrian Howells, Dancer is a gentle provocation on what it is to be a 'dancer'. Ian and Gary both love to dance in public. Neither are trained dancers. Ian and Gary are two artists asking questions about visibility, opportunity and experiences; as well as sharing a few of their dances. Unlimited will support a tour of the work: £24,524 (CS).

  • Edmund the Learned Pig - Fittings MultiMedia Arts: Based on an unpublished poem by Edward Gorey Edmund the Learned Pig is a magical theatre piece for children aged 8+ and families that fuses BSL sign language, puppets, Aerial-circus, deaf storytelling techniques, music and song. A co-production between Fittings MultiMedia Arts, Krazy Kat and The Royal Exchange Manchester, it features new songs by Martyn Jacques of The Tiger Lillies, script by Mike Kenny and a cast of deaf and disabled performers. Unlimited will support a tour of this work. £45,000 (ACE).

  • Exposure - Jo Bannon: Exposure investigates how we look, how we are looked at and if we can ever really be seen. An intimate one to one performance, it is a tender and tentative look into autobiography, asking how fully we reveal our self - to ourselves, to another, with another. Unlimited will support further touring of the work and the creation of three new short films to accompany it, made in collaboration with visually impaired artists, researchers and activists. £24,950 (ACE).

  • Let Me Stay - Vital Xposure: Let Me Stay is a tender and unique exploration of the impact of Alzheimer’s on family relations. Artist Julie McNamara has recorded her Mother’s songs and stories, filmed and photographed her in all her glory, over many years. The result is a compelling solo theatre performance, an extraordinary love letter straight from the heart welded with a wicked underlying humour. Unlimited will support additional touring of this new work. £23,993 (ACE).

  • Otherwise Unchanged - Owen Lowery: Otherwise Unchanged, published in December 2012, is Owen Lowery’s first major poetry collection, featuring poems on various formal and informal subjects including Lowery’s experience of hospitalisation and disability following a spinal injury, war, love, and a series of poems responding to work of Turner Prize nominee Dame Paula Rego. Unlimited will support a reading tour of Otherwise Unchanged. £34,000 (ACE).

  • RING THE CHANGES+ - Chisato Minaminura: RING THE CHANGES+ is an interactive dance performance created by London based deaf artist and former member of CandoCo Dance Company Chisato Minamimura. Choreographing what she calls “visual sound/music”, Chisato uses interactive technology to create an innovative sense experience for hearing and non-hearing audiences. Unlimited will support development of the piece into a full-length dance work and for the work to tour. £47,640 (ACE).

  • The Dinner Party Revisited - Katherine Araniello: In a twist on a 1920s comedy sketch in which an elderly woman hosts a celebration dinner for the friends she has outlived, live art performance, The Dinner Party Revisited, sees the artist play host to six television monitor “guests", all played by Araniello. Their unscripted interactions with her live presence and her alcohol infused butler form a satirical and darkly comic take on some of the clichés around disability.  Unlimited will support the development and presentation of the work: £38,550 (ACE).
  • THE FLICKERING DARKNESS - Juan delGado: Juan delGado’s immersive multi-screen installation explores ideas about urban territory, displacement and economy. Filmed at the Corabastos market in Bogotá, the work follows the journey that produce takes from its arrival before dawn to its consumption throughout most of the day in a variety of dishes at eating establishments across the social spectrum. Unlimited will support technical development and further presentations of the work: £45,845.85 (ACE).

  • Wendy Hoose - Birds of Paradise Theatre Company: The creative forces of Birds of Paradise, Random Accomplice come together for the first time to bring audiences a frank and hilarious sex comedy - Wendy Hoose by Johnny McKnight. Directed by lead artist Robert Softley Gale and Johnny McKnight. Jake and Laura are two twenty year olds searching for love in all the wrong places! In the comedic style of the production, Wendy Hoose includes audio description, BSL and animated surtitles. Unlimited will support a tour of the work: £32,500 (CS).

Research and Development awards

In addition, 17 Research and Development awards will enable artists to develop new and ambitious works - a full description of awards is available on request.

The artists and projects receiving these awards are: 

  • Seasonal Fluctuations - Sonia Allori: Inspired by Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, with Unlimited support Allori will create a new musical composition exploring character, narrative, audience and the ways that disabled and non-disabled people use public space. The composition will be the starting point for a new performance developed with disabled theatre-maker Danny Braverman as dramaturg, dancer Sheron Wray, devising the choreography, and technologist and academic Fleeta Siegel researching how technology can be used to engage inclusive art audiences. The project is managed by Drake Music. (CS)
  • 213 Things about Me - Richard Butchins: Unlimited will support the development of 213 Things about Me; award winning documentary maker and disability journalist Richard Butchins’ first video work. Based on a list of personal traits written by a young autistic woman who died leaving behind a remarkable legacy of writing and music, the work will explore alienation, empathy, talent, social exclusion and love. Butchins will create a multi-screen immersive installation featuring the woman’s personal footage alongside new material and live performance elements. (ACE)
  • A Fall from the Icarus Line - Nicola Canavan: Performance artist Nicola Canavan was diagnosed with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) in 2008. A Fall… will take as a starting point the story of Icarus and its parallels with the struggles of those with ME/CFS, haunted by broken wings, unable to fly or escape the restrictions of their bodies. Through a series of new live presentations, Canavan’s research will see her delve into the intimacies of the body to create works that marry the medical with the mythic. (ACE)
  • Unstrapped - Louise Coleman: Louise Coleman will develop a new film installation and live dance performance for museums, libraries, hospitals and schools. This work explores expected and unexpected uses of medical equipment, supports and aids. As a performer with left-side hemiplegia cerebral palsy Coleman is intrigued by the development and improvement of a variety of medical procedures and aids. Unstrapped will bring the equipment and aids to life in a light-hearted and tender performance and installation. (ACE)
  • “To open the eternal worlds, to open the immortal eyes” Blake - Lea Cummings: Multi-disciplinary artist Lea Cummings will use support from Unlimited (through Creative Scotland) to explore the spiritual aspects of physical reality, ritual performance and the role of human beings within the universe. Cummings will spend time working towards the development of an experience that transports audiences into a mystical, magical place outside day-to-day reality. The resulting work will incorporate visual art, video, audio and performance. (ACE)

  • BRAIN (title TBC) - Pete Edwards: Pete Edwards plans to develop a new piece of work exploring the sensitive issues and themes of rape and sexual abuse, and the depression and psychological impact on a person’s mental health. Evolving from source materials including found poems, writings, pop songs, images and other popular culture references, support from Unlimited will enable Edwards to work with a group of artists to develop performance fragments which reflect and respond to this complex issue. (ACE)

  • Flight Paths - Extant, Upswing and Yellow Earth: Led by Maria Oshodi (Extant), with Vicki Amedume (Upswing) and Kumiko Mendl (Yellow Earth), Flight Paths takes as its starting point the traditions of Biwa Hoshi players: blind itinerant performers from medieval Japan who earned their living reciting tales to biwa music. This R&D will build towards a piece telling the stories of four contemporary visually impaired artists and their migration to the UK in search of better opportunities through a performance combining aerial work, music, song, narrative, live description and audio technology. (ACE)
  • Exhaustion (title TBC) - Simon Fildes: Simon Fildes will research and develop a short stop-frame animation with 3D printed models, exploring exhaustion. Contrasting the flawlessness of the technology with the struggle of the model to perform, the work will highlight the difficulty of achieving perfection in a world that moves faster and is so much bigger than the figures. Diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2009, Unlimited will enable Fildes to rethink notions of performance and physicality in his work as an artist and producer. (CS)
  • Not Dead - Sheila Hill: Working with actor Tim Barlow, writer/theatre-maker and installation-artist Sheila Hill will develop Not Dead – a work about life. An actor lies still on a bed – all the action coming from the fleeting emotions on his face, filmed and projected onto a screen facing the audience. Somewhere between theatre and visual art, Not Dead will reflect back, via Tim Barlow’s extraordinary life as a soldier, a deaf man and a Buddhist, on the nature of ageing. (ACE)
  • Where’s My Nana? - Kazzum: Unlimited will support the first stages of a new collaboration between Kazzum and Slung Low to create a site specific outdoor family show for car boot sales and outdoor public shopping areas. Combining the expertise of both companies: Kazzum’s ability to create high quality inclusive playful theatre in unusual places and Slung Low’s technological ‘know-how’ to make adventures for audiences outside of conventional theatre spaces, Where’s My Nana? will lead audiences on a theatrical adventure to find Nana’s van. (ACE)

  • Cherophobia - Noëmi Lakmaier: Noëmi Lakmaier will develop an ambitious new durational live art work. Cherophobia will see Lakmaier’s body tied into a harness, immobile and surrounded by helium tanks and mounds of party balloons. As hours pass the balloons will be inflated and attached to her motionless body, which will eventually lift off from the ground. Envisaged as a 48-hour durational performance, Unlimited support will allow Lakmaier to conduct practical trials and develop new partnerships for the project. (ACE)
  • Fragmenting the Code(x) - Aidan Moesby: Aidan Moesby will work with Pum Dunbar to develop Fragmenting the Code(x). Two artists whose individual practice revolves around dialogue and who use language in very different ways, Moesby (Bipolar) and Dunbar (Autistic) will hold a series of creative conversations and research exploring various contradictory paradigms; the visual and textual, inner private space and outer public space, the autistic and non autistic. With support from Unlimited the artists will create a site-specific performative installed work. (CS)
  • The Drawing Rooms - Ailís Ní Ríain: Led by classical composer and theatre writer Ailís Ní Ríain; The Drawing Rooms will be a place where strange stories are told through BSL, film, live contemporary classical music, new writing and live drawing. (ACE)
  • The Doorways Project - Bekki Perriman: Bekki Perriman will use Unlimited support to develop a series of site-specific artistic interventions exploring personal, social and political aspects of homelessness through sound and spoken word. Inspired by the artist’s personal experience of homelessness as well as by Susan Phillipz’s 2010 piece Surround Me, a song for the City of London, the final sound installation will invite audiences to hear the intimate, sometimes humorous and often disturbing experiences of homeless people. (ACE)
  • Backstage in Biscuit Land - Touretteshero: Unlimited will support the development of artist Jessica Thom’s first solo show. Living with Tourettes Syndrome, a condition that makes her say ‘biscuit’ 16,000 times a day and inspired her to co-found Touretteshero in 2010, Jessica will work with puppeteer Jess Mabel Jones, and Touretteshero co-founder Matthew Pountney to develop a show that incorporates stand-up, story telling, singing, swearing, games, and a lot of tics. (ACE)
  • Madlove - the vacuum cleaner: Madlove will ask those with and without mental illness to collaborate in designing a ‘safe place to go mad’ – to redesign the ‘asylum’. It asks people to challenge the current social and medical perception of mental health, through a playful, imaginative and positive design process. Support from Unlimited will allow the vacuum cleaner with collaborator Hannah Hull to hold a series of design and consultation workshops across the country, aiming eventually to create a blueprint for a ‘designer asylum’. (ACE)
  • Adjustment by Degrees (Dis-Oriented) - Aaron Williamson: Artist Aaron Williamson will conduct research towards a live performance developed from his own ‘flat slapstick’, influenced by silent comedies. The work will explore the slow yet radical re-adjustment to society and identity Williamson experienced in the 20 years during which he gradually became deaf. Working with a traditional theatre set that adjusts almost imperceptibly ‘by degrees’, Williamson will create a strange, yet unnervingly familiar space that requires constant personal adjustment. (ACE)