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decibel to showcase culturally diverse performing arts in Manchester 2011

  • Date: 3 June 2011
  • Artform: None
  • Area: South East
a band The Clockwork Tiger, Sunday Driver, 2011, Photograph: Catarina Clifford

This year, nine artists and companies with diverse practice from the East and South East will have the chance for their work to be seen at a national and international industry showcase.

Fifty artists and companies from England were selected to present their work at the bi-annual decibel Performing Arts Showcase in Manchester from 13 to 16 September 2011. decibel is an Arts Council England initiative.

In the South East, Sarah Pickthall, Yvon Bonenfant, and Noraay and companies Arts Council regularly funded organisation StopGAP Dance Company, Pursued by a Bear Productions, and Sarah Leaver productions were selected.

In the East, artists Adriano Adewale , Shane Shambu, and Sunday Driver were selected.

Artists and companies selected for the cross art form four-day event represent the cutting edge of music, theatre, dance, live art, circus and street arts from around the country.

Since 2003, decibel has provided an opportunity for national and international promoters, producers, programmers, artistic directors and venue managers to see new and developing work, to book acts and to build relationships with showcased artists and companies.

This includes artists from black and minority ethnic backgrounds, Deaf and disabled people or any other artist who may have had limited opportunities to participate in the arts.

Edith Eyo, Diversity in Arts Practice Relationship Manager, for the South East, says, 'decibel presents an excellent and much needed platform for diverse artists and organisations to showcase their work to the arts sector.

'There is an immense range of talent and creative energy ready to be tapped at decibel, which means the showcase provides as much an opportunity for the performing artists as it does for producers seeking to buy work or collaborate with new and diverse artists and organisations.'

From the Darkness to Light - Live by Noraay
Worthing-based British Moroccan artist Noraay and a full band stage a live production of her debut album, From The Darkness to Light. She's collaborated with hip hop producers on the album, such as Naughty Boy (Chipmunk, Bashy, Tinie Tempah) and Mercury-nominated Drew Horley (Natalie Williams, Ty, Immanuel Jah). She has performed frequently in the UK, but this is her first time to tour.

Noraay explains: 'The lyrics were written during a period when there was a great deal of change and upheaval. The songs tell the story of my search for answers and meaning, and the philosophy, people and experiences that helped me overcome emotional obstacles.

'Four musicians join me in creating fresh musical arrangements that reflect the soul, Arabic, spoken word, jazz and rap influences you hear in my vocals.'

Memoirs of a Hermaphrodite by Sarah Leaver Productions

Brighton-based actor Sarah Leaver takes inspiration for her first solo show from the true life story of 19th-century French hermaphrodite Herculine Barbin.
The piece is a freshly-told physical tale of Herculine's journey, "from the bittersweet safety of a country nunnery, to the dark and seedy freakshows and peepshows of Paris."

Sarah Leaver, says, 'I fell in love with Herculine's memoirs as soon as I read them. I wanted to give the story some hope and beauty and to humanise and celebrate the 'third gender' rather than just present it as a tragedy.'

The work has been supported with over £10,000 in Grants for the arts awards.

Leaver continues: 'I hope that the decibel festival will provide us with the platform to continue touring it. It is a show that is accessible to a wide audience yet speaks a rarely heard voice.' 

Kabaddi-Kabaddi-Kabaddi by Pursued by a Bear

Farnham-based theatre company Pursued by a Bear Productions will be pitching new work Kabaddi-Kabaddi-Kabaddi by Satinder Chohan. The play explores the Indian sport Kabaddi and its place on the world stage of nationhood and belonging.

The company developed and showcased as a script in hand performance at South Hill Park in May 2011.

Helena Bell, Artistic Director, Pursued by a Bear says: 'We are very much looking forward to meeting delegates from across the UK and beyond to share with them our enthusiasm for this exciting, topical new play.'

Loyal Enemy by Sarah Pickthall

Lewes artist and community producer Sarah Pickthall will pitch a small-scale mixed-media performance that draws on the artist's great-great-uncle Mohammed Marmaduke Pickthall, who was a rector's son from Suffolk, but was famous for translating the Qur'an into English and being a fanatical Turcophile.

Sarah's recent productions include Blue Touch Paper Carnival's The Horn, a carnival costume performance run by people with learning disabilities, which will be launched as part of this year's Nat West Island Games in June on the Isle of Wight.

Within (first part of a double bill called Trespass) by StopGAP Dance Company

Surrey-based integrated dance company StopGAP Dance Company will present their tour-ready dance piece Within, choreographed by Barcelona-based Thomas Noone. 

Within sees a lone dancer, drawn into her own imaginary world by four compelling characters, accompanied by an eccentric soundtrack of harpsichord and Indian instruments from Spanish composer Pedro Navarrete.
StopGAP has been performing the piece in the UK since May 2010, with international performances in Albania, Romania and Spain.  

Vicki Balaam, Artistic Director, StopGAP says, 'The piece demonstrates the company's developments over the last few years. We hope to continue the tour of Trespass over the coming years and unlock new opportunities for the piece both in the UK and internationally.'

Ululalia (The Voice Play Project)
by Yvon Bonenfant

Southampton-based vocal artist and performer Yvon Bonenfant  will pitch his audiovisual work for children, Ululalia: The Voice Play Project.

Yvon has been producing small-scale live art style work, durational work, art for audiovisual media, artist publications and sound recordings, as well as larger scale performances in Canada and in the UK. This year he is touring his vocal multi-media art work Beacon, supported with a £17,682 Grants for the arts award.

Yvon Bonenfant says, 'Ululalia is an immersive, performance-installation environment for children aged six to 10 and their guardians. This work makes space for children to play with the voice in ways that don't require them to be 'good singers' but where they can feel good about what their voices can do.'

Yvon hopes to attract programmers and producers who might want to partner in this work.

Adriano Adewale Group by Adriano Adewale

Brazilian percussionist and composer Adriano Adewale is known for his unconventional and exploratory approach to music, and for his ability to create magical soundscapes from the seemingly banal.

In April 2000, Adriano moved to the UK, where he has established himself as a respected percussionist, composer, educator and bandleader. He curated Festival Brazileiro, presenting theatre, dance, music and arts from Brazil. He has collaborated with Bobby McFerrin, Joanna MacGregor and many leading musicians.

Rooted in Nigerian, Angolan and Brazilian musical traditions and infused with contemporary European classical and jazz styles, percussionist and composer Adriano Adewale's music is a mix of influences. The ensemble creates a colourful cocktail of infectiously funky rhythms and intimate soulful ballads.

Leaving Only a Trace by Shane Shambhu

Shane Shambhu's Leaving Only a Trace is a passionate and revealing story of a young British Asian man who realises the only way to find himself is to leave home. An inventive fusion of performing arts old and new, this is a striking piece of visual theatre rooted in South-Indian dance, with live music and minimal design, aimed at a modern audience.

Shane Shambhu said: 'I'm excited to be chosen to showcase at decibel. After working in the performing arts for several years and developing my first-full-length production, the opportunity to perform to industry professionals is a great validation of my efforts.  I am ecstatic to have the chance to discuss and debate with other industry professionals about the future of both my work and the future of the arts - this will be a chance to make my voice be heard.'

The Clockwork Tiger by Sunday Driver 

The Clockwork Tiger takes its audience on a journey from the majestic palaces of Tipu Sultan through to the backstreet labyrinth of Delhi in 1857, using music, dance, poetry and theatrics. This thought-provoking and varied show celebrates the history and mystery that binds India's colonial past to present-day Britain.

Joel Clayton, guitarist and sitarist for the band, said: 'Being part of decibel is a landmark. We've created a show that brings music, poetry and dance together to tell the story of the Raj from an angle seldom seen by our generation. We're thrilled to be performing to an audience of people who can help us take our vision and songs to the wider world.'