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Julia Keenan, Arts Council England Relationship Manager for Diversity in Arts Practice in the North West, talks about the four Unlimited commissions that are being shown between 21-31 August at DaDaFest 2012 in Liverpool. Unlimited is part of the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival.
What an amazing summer this is across the UK, and in particular in London, as we see talented sports people shine in the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics events. The Cultural Olympiad, which has been build up now for 4 years, is showcasing amazing talent in the arts and cultural sector. The Unlimited Commissions are a part of the Cultural Olympiad offer, a celebration of disability and deaf arts and culture on an unprecedented scale in the UK. The 35 new commissions awarded in the £3 million pound programme, support collaborations between disability and mainstream arts organisations, and disabled artists and producers. This is a partnership between London 2012 Festival, the UK Arts Councils, the British Council and the Olympic Lottery Distributor.
In the North West we were delighted to have two successful commissions awarded to Laurence Clark and Fittings Multimedia Arts.
Laurence has had a really strong relationship with the Arts Council over the last 8 years or so, in supporting his career development as a stand-up comedian, who doesn't actually stand up (as a wheelchair user), and creatively works with his speech impairment, to give us a fabulous comedy set which is hilarious, cutting and deeply intelligent in his observations. Laurence has been supported over the years through our open grants programme, Grants for the arts.
This new commission is titled 'Inspired' and he asks us 'why are everyday activities, like getting married, going to work, becoming a father, why are they all considered inspirational when it is a disabled person doing them?'. His observations show how human behaviour demonstrates endearing naivety and hilarious behaviours. It's a really warm and funny performance and something that you'll all enjoy.
Fittings Multimedia Arts is based in Liverpool and is led by artistic director Gary Robson. Now Garry has created an innovative and entertaining promenade performance named 'The Ugly Spirit', and this is based on the lives of Siamese Twins, Jessie and Bessie. Gary asks us to take a glimpse behind the curtain of a secret world of a famous touring theatre, and enter undiscovered places that lurk beneath the surface of the Siamese Twins' show. You'll also be taken to a private viewing with Jessie and Bessie. This performance is a mix of improvisation and text by playwright Russell Barr, avant-garde performance artist David Hoyle and acclaimed soprano Denise Leigh.
You'll be able to see both of these Unlimited commissions as well as two other commissions in Liverpool over the summer at DaDaFest 2012. The other two commissions that we will be able to see are Rachel Gadsden's Unlimited Global Alchemy and MACROPOLIS by Joel Simon.
Unlimited Global Alchemy by Rachel Gadsden is a screening featuring Rachel and the Bambanani Group, shot on location in Cape Town. Fuelled by the politics and myths surrounding chronic health issues - and in particular HIV and AIDs - this startling body of work offers visceral and often poetic perspectives on what it means to experience disabling conditions and to fight openly for life in the face of social taboos. The screening itself will be followed by a Q&A session.
The other commission that you'll be able to see is by Joel Simon, MACROPOLIS, and this is a short animation film in which a group of soft toys, in fact a group of impaired soft toys ready for the scrap heap because they're deemed unworthy, decide to escape from the factory and seek a new life among humans in the great outdoors - an endearing piece from Joel Simon from Northern Ireland.
OK, you will be able these over the summer, you can also see them all at the South Bank in London. They will be entertaining, amazing, they will make you cry, they will make you laugh, and one of them will be quite chilling, so we hope this will be a fantastic experience for you all, and if you want more information on times and dates, go to website North West for 2012 dot com, that is nwfor2012.com
This is Julia Keenan podcasting from Arts Council England and I am the Relationship Manager for Diversity in Arts Practise in the North West. Thank you for listening.