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Grants for the arts talent chosen for British Council’s Edinburgh Showcase 2011

  • Date: 6 May 2011
  • Artform: None
  • Area: National
two men blindfolded standing against wall The End, Michael Pinchbeck, 2011, Photo: Kevin Edwards

Our Grants for the arts scheme has nurtured several artists and companies who are taking part in this year's Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

This month, the British Council announced that they've chosen 28 artists and companies to present work as part of their Edinburgh Showcase 2011, which takes place 22 to 27 August 2011. The showcase aims to show 'new art to new audiences', presenting UK contemporary live performance to key programmers and producers drawn from the international performing arts sector.

From over 220 applications, 18 out of the 22 successful acts from England have recently been supported through our open application National Lottery funded Grants for the arts awards scheme. One is from the Yorkshire, two are from the North West, two are from the Midlands, two are from the East, and eight are from the South East, and five are from London.

Here is a selection of works in this year's showcase.

West Yorkshire

National and international theatre touring company Imitating the Dog was supported in 2004 to nationally tour their cinematically driven ghost story, Hotel Methuselah, with a £29,752 Grants for the arts award.

The critically acclaimed piece uses projection and live action to tell the tale of a hotel night porter losing his memory.

Simon Wainwright from Imitating the Dog says, "Hotel Methuselah was originally made in 2005 but has been on tour on and off ever since. It was the start of a new period of work for us - both in terms of its scenography and the creative team involved - made in collaboration with Pete Brooks.

'The show has already toured internationally with the British Council, and it's a great pleasure to present it as part of the showcase at Edinburgh. Taking the work out to new audiences both in the UK and abroad is one of the central focuses so the showcase is a great opportunity to extend our audience.'

North West

Manchester-based theatre company Quarantine will be presenting new work, Entitled. Last year, their work The Slightest Movement, was supported with a £5,000 Grants for the arts award. Their successful 2006 piece Susan & Darren was re-made for UK and international touring with a £10,000 Grants for the arts award and will be touring in Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland.  

Entitled takes the form of a get-in and a get-out, featuring technicians-as-performers.  The piece explores ideas about hope, privilege and disappointment, and looks at our urge to make our lives complete. Quarantine makes theatre, performance and other public events out of the everyday stuff of real people's lives - in Entitled, those 'real people' happen to be performers.

Julia Turpin, Executive Producer, Quarantine says, 'This year will be Quarantine's second appearance at the British Council showcase, following a showing in 2003 of our installation in total darkness, Something a taxi driver in Liverpool said... The showcase is a really important opportunity to enable us to develop new relationships with promoters to help build on our growing international profile and reputation.'

East Midlands

International dance centre Dance4 and Nottingham-based visual artist Hetain Patel will present TEN. Using the Indian rhythm cycle of ten as a starting point, this three-man performance explores cultural identity via theatre, live art and dance. TEN was developed and toured, supported with a £24,760 Grants for the arts award.

Hetain Patel says, 'TEN is my first piece for theatre, and, to my surprise and delight, it has surpassed all expectations. Since the launch in 2010, with National Lottery support through Arts Council England, it's enjoyed an 18 date national tour including Southbank Centre and Royal Opera House. It even showed at Sydney Festival, Australia.

'I am thrilled to be selected for British Council's Edinburgh Showcase 2011. It will be fascinating to see how international promoters take to the work. Because of the issues of identity and nationality in the work, I'd love the chance to perform it more internationally.'

Nottingham-based writer and live artist Michael Pinchbeck will present The End; a work inspired by the stage direction from The Winter's Tale. The End explores endings and exits and asks why we perform and how we will know when to stop. The End's production and tour was supported with a £9,905 Grants for the arts award.

He says, 'This is a brilliant opportunity to share your work with national and international promoters. In 2009, I was selected for a piece I devised with my parents and, as a result, the show has toured for three years culminating in a run at the Southbank Centre this July.

'The Arts Council's support has been invaluable in creating a new performance - The End - and I look forward to seeing how the showcase shapes this show's future.'

East

I Infinite is a multi-media dance performance created by Essex-based choreographer Tom Dale. The piece shows a character moving in a bright white, digitally animated setting, searching for the infinite in a world of the finite. Tom Dale Company has been supported with several Arts Council England Grants for the arts awards.

Tom Dale explains: 'I've wanted to make I Infinite for a long time and approached Dance4 for support. The work was created with Maria Palliani (performer) and Barret Hodgson (digital media artist). We have managed to produce a piece very close to my vision.'

Dog Kennel Hill Project presents two works, The Devil and the Details and Hinterview. Dog Kennel Hill Project has received three Grants for the arts awards in the past. Dance piece The Devil and the Details addresses the choreographer's inner dictator. Solo piece Hinterview explores the notion of work and why we keep doing it.

London

Investigative arts company Curious presents the moment I saw you I knew I could love you at the showcase. In 2010, their UK tour of the show was supported with a £34,000 Grants for the arts award.

A theatre company that reinvents stories anew through performance, live music, animation, and film - 1927 - created their show The Animals and Children Took to the Streets with support from a £37,542 Grants for the arts award.

Protein Dance's LOL (Lots of love) was supported with a £100,000 Grants for the arts award for production and tour of the new work in spring 2011.

Protein Dance's General Manager Sarah Trist says: 'We've been told that LOL is our best show to date, so we are thrilled that the British Council has chosen to showcase it to an international market.'

South East

Scottish artist/choreographer Billy Cowie presents Tango de Soledad, a life sized looped installation of a dancer's solo who audiences - wearing 3D glasses - believe is a real dancer. A £8,500 Grants for the arts award enabled Cowie to experiment with installations using virtual and real dancers.

A 2009 British Council Edinburgh showcase later led to shows in 15 countries. Cowie says: 'That British Council event was a literally life changing five days! Hopefully 2011's will prove equally successful.'

Melanie Wilson and Abigail Conway will present every minute, always. Abigail and her company Subject to change's previous work home sweet home was supported with a £19,500 Grants for the arts award.

Conway says: 'Last time we went to Edinburgh, we had opportunities we never expected: working with new artists in collaboration with different venues and travelling nationally and internationally, reaching different cultures and new audiences.'

Jessica Curry's Perpetual Light: Requiem for an Unscorched Earth is a site-sensitive choral work written to commemorate those who lost their lives in the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The work was originally developed with a £21,570 Grants for the arts award. 

Curry says, 'The work has now taken on a new resonance in light of the recent terrible events in Japan. The British Council presents works that tackle hard-hitting socio-political themes, and I am delighted that we're bringing this work into the international arena.'

Brighton-based Sam Pearson (UK) and Clara García Fraile (Spain) - interactive multimedia performance group Me and the Machine - will present When We Meet Again, which was produced with a £4,990 Grants for the arts award in 2010.

In Blast Theory's A Machine to See With, participants play the lead in a high-octane, 45-minute bank heist film, directed around the city through their mobile phone. The interactive work has received critical praise at this year's Sundance Film Festival.

Oxford-based Idle Motion Theatre Company will present The Vanishing Horizon, which uses the world of flight and travel to tell the story of a woman in search of her past. The national tour was supported with a £10,000 Grants for the arts award.

For a full list, please see the British Council website: http://www.britishcouncil.org/arts-drama-edinburgh.htm.

Grants for the arts supports arts activities that engage people in the arts and helps artists and arts organisations with their work and welcomes first time applicants. To apply, see  http://www.artscouncil.org.uk/funding/grants-arts.