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£700,000 awarded to artists for final round of Cultural Olympiad programme Unlimited

  • Date: 4 August 2011
  • Area: London, National

The London 2012 Cultural Olympiad, Arts Council England, the other UK Arts Councils and the British Council have today awarded £700,000 of funding in the final round of Unlimited Commissions, the ground-breaking Cultural Olympiad programme that celebrates arts and culture by disabled and deaf artists on an unprecedented scale.

The 12 new commissions include a children's theatre show taking families on an adventure inside a beehive, an animated film about a group of misshapen toys who escape from their factory, and a comedy show about a 'demotivational' speaker.

Four of the commissions are international collaborations which will be supported by the British Council. These include partnerships between groups of disabled performers in the North East and Brazil, and an ambitious digital musical collaboration with artists in up to seven countries.

The winning commissions from round three are:

Heart 'n' Soul, The Dean Rodney Singers (London)
Simon Allen, Resonance at the Still Point of Change  (London)
Tin Bath Theatre Company, Bee Detective (London)
Helen Petts, Throw Them up and Let Them Sing (North East)
Lawnmowers, Boomba Down the Tyne (North East)
Joel Simon, Escape from the Factory (Northern Ireland)
Laurence Clark, Demotivational Speaker (North West)
Ramesh Meyyappan, Skewered Snails (Scotland)
Rachel Gadsden, Unlimited Global Alchemy (South East)
Diverse City, Breathe (South West)
Susan Austin, Creating the Spectacle! ­(South West)
Jeremy Colborne, Irresistible (Yorkshire) 

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, to create original and exciting work. The £3m programme 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.

The previous rounds of Unlimited Commissions were announced in March 2010 and January 2011, awarding 23 artists funds totalling £1,200,000.  Commissions supported include a dance work exploring the fusion of classical ballet and contemporary dance by choreographer Marc Brew, a circus show exploring the ups and downs of bipolar disorder, and thousands of handmade ceramic flowers that will appear in historic gardens around the country in 2012.

Ruth Mackenzie, Director, London 2012 Cultural Olympiad, said: 'Unlimited is about commissioning world-class artists to create brilliant work which will change perceptions of the work of disabled and deaf artists. Through the Cultural Olympiad this is the largest commissioning fund for disabled and deaf artists the UK has ever seen. Congratulations to the commissioned artists and we look forward to seeing how their work develops.' 

Moira Sinclair, Executive Director London, Arts Council England commented: 'As we announce the final Unlimited Commissions, I'm struck by the enormous diversity and scale of ambition of these artists. The work of deaf and disabled artists has been going from strength to strength, and we are thrilled that these extraordinary projects will help form the centrepiece of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. It promises a truly long lasting legacy of increased profile for this groundbreaking art.'

Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said: 'Unlimited is bringing the talent, wit and originality of deaf and disabled artists and performers to the fore and will be a key part of the excitement and success of the cultural celebrations in 2012. I'm also pleased that more London artists have been successful in this final commissioning round, some of whom will be familiar to people who have attended the capital's annual Liberty Festival.' 

Read more about Unlimited and our work for London 2012.