Edinburgh Showcase 2011 puts challenging UK performances on the world stage
09 June 2011
The British Council’s Edinburgh Showcase 2011 will give some of the UK’s most innovative performing artists a global platform like never before – with 70% of performers making their debut, the inclusion of dance for the first time, and the opportunity to engage with audiences worldwide through digital media.
The Showcase will take place from 22 – 27 August, as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Since the British Council’s first Showcase in 1997, the event has given 146 drama and dance companies the opportunity to present their work to international delegates and subsequently tour overseas. This builds new relationships and opens up new markets for the UK’s performing arts sector.
The eclectic line up for this year’s showcase features leading producing houses such as Traverse Theatre and Oxford Playhouse, and established artists including Tim Crouch and Blast Theory alongside younger companies such as Lundahl & Seitl and Idle Motion. Companies performing at the Showcase for the first time include:
National Theatre Wales, The Dark Philosophers
A conjuring of the world, life and stories of 1940s Valleys writer Gwyn Thomas. Inventive, dark, surreal, very funny and full of song, with characters tumbling out of terraces of wardrobes.
Greyscale, Tonight Sandy Grierson will lecture, dance and box
A comic and surreal faux lecture exploring ideas of identity, myth-making, subversion of the social compact and the destructive power of the individual.
Hetain Patel, TEN
Hetain’s work centres on the struggle to place his identity between two very different cultures. TEN is his first performance piece embracing theatre, live art and dance alongside two performers, one from Scotland and the other with Barbadian parentage.
Protein Dance, LOL
An energetic piece of dance-theatre which takes the lid off online social networking to investigate how the internet is transforming human relationships. The work will have wide appeal to international promoters interested in dance and theatre.
This year will also see three installations, including Rotating in a Room of Images by Lundahl & Seitl – a young company who use instruction, choreography and technology to investigate space, time and perception. Their work has been presented internationally in museums, theatres, galleries and public spaces, including presentations at Tate Modern and The Whitechapel Gallery
As well as presenting high-quality live performance, the British Council will for the first time curate a supporting programme of artist interviews, industry know-how sessions and critical debates which will seek to contextualise the work to be showcased. These include an introduction to UK theatre for the international delegates, hosted by Guardian critic Lyn Gardner.
The Showcase will also embrace the best of digital innovation in the UK, through elements including a panel discussion on the use of digital media in the Arts. This will be available to a worldwide audience as a webcast. Thanks to a new partnership with Arts Council England, a video trailer will be made for each of the 28 participating acts, providing them with a valuable tool with which to promote their work. For the first time, the Showcase will have its own public website.
Brendan Griggs, Head of Drama and Dance at the British Council, said: “We’ve made some changes to this year’s Showcase to create even more opportunities for UK artists and better value for the international delegates. 70% of the companies performing this year are new to the Showcase. When choosing the acts, our aim has been to identify work that fits with the British Council’s current programmes around the world and the interests of the partners with whom we work.”
Kate Stanley from Idle Motion, one of the companies performing at the 2011 Showcase for the first time, said: “The Showcase is a fantastic platform, enabling us to continue to grow as a company and share our work with a wider audience. It offers so many exciting possibilities for us as a young company and it is very encouraging to be involved in the same event as such prestigious artists. We are passionate about making the most of this opportunity.”
Tim Crouch, who returns to the Showcase this year, said: “The British Council has been central in opening out my work to international influence and audiences. The Edinburgh Showcase is the nerve centre for an ongoing process of reciprocal exchange between performing artists, curators and promoters from around the world. It is more than a marketplace: it has taught me to consider the process by which ideas of art and national identity pass across borders and through cultures. It has strengthened my theatre practice by internationalising my perspective.”
Kath Mainland, Edinburgh Festival Fringe Chief Executive, said: “The British Council’s Edinburgh Showcase remains a true benchmark of quality that inspires international promoters and ensures that performers continue to return to the Fringe. Everyone in the industry is aware of the extraordinary benefits the Showcase brings to the artists involved, not least to unlocking the door to international touring opportunities.”
In organising the Showcase, the British Council has worked closely with a steering group of leading figures from drama and dance in the UK: Anthony Roberts, Ben Twist, David Fry, David Micklem, Helen Cole, James Tyson, John McGrath, Matt Burman, Mike Griffiths, Nike Jonah, Nina Steiger, Steven Brett, Clare Reddington, Fern Smith, Mark Ball, Rose Fenton, and Shonagh Manson.
For enquiries from UK national & international media, contact:
+44 (0) 207 389 4872
+44 (0) 207 389 4889
For enquiries from Scottish media, contact:
Alex Orr, Orbit Communications
+44 (0) 131 257 4232
Notes to Editors:
The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. We work in over 100 countries worldwide to build opportunity and trust for the UK through the exchange of knowledge and ideas between people. We work in the Arts, English, Education and Society, including science and sport - and in the process contribute to the security and prosperity of the UK and the countries where we work. Last year we engaged face to face with 18.4 million people and reached 652 million. We are a non-political organisation which operates at arm’s length from government. Our total turnover in 2009/10 was £705 million, of which our grant-in-aid from the British government was £211 million. For every £1 of government grant we receive, we earn £2.50 from other sources. For more information, please visit: www.britishcouncil.org.