British Council Brazil’s Transform programme has changed the cultural relationship between Brazil and the UK in the four years between the 2012 Olympic Games in London and Rio de Janeiro in 2016. The programme has connected artists, arts organisations and governmental bodies from the UK and Brazil with projects that support training for arts professionals and provide opportunities for new talent to develop. To date, Transform has directly involved 200 arts organisations and 20,000 artists, producers and promoters from both countries in projects in 28 cities across Brazil.
Transform is structured around three main themes: the power of the arts to inspire and connect people; how the arts challenge exclusion and assert human dignity; and the role of the cultural sector and the creative economy in building a sustainable future. The programme aims to deliver economic impact, social transformation and create mutually beneficial relationships for both countries.
Transform was launched in 2012 at the Rio Film Festival, screening an early Hitchcock silent film accompanied by a new score performed live by the Brazilian Youth Orchestra on Copacabana beach; access and inclusion, creative innovation and the development of young talent have been connecting threads ever since. The programme has broken barriers by bringing the work of innovative disabled artists into the performing arts mainstream; created new networks with strong connections to the UK such as the Association of Brazilian Orchestras established as a direct result of a series of music education and orchestra leadership activities; and has taken a fresh look at longstanding UK-Brazil relationships including the creation of a new digital tour (launching in September 2016) exploring the UK presence at the São Paulo Biennial since its creation in 1951.
A special Transform season accompanying the Olympic Games in Rio will illustrate the range of themes and breadth of networks created through the programme, from our Backstage to the Future workshops for young theatre technicians, to a forum on accessibility inspired by the Unlimited Festival at London 2012. The forum will precede a live performance by theatre company GRAEAE, leading exponents of work involving artists with disabilities. A new circus performance by local artists with disabilities will also be created by GREAE’s director Jenny Sealey.
The British House - a gathering point for athletes and the media in the Rio’s Parque Lage – will host events showcasing the creativity and diversity of the UK including Shakespeare’s The Tempest performed in Portuguese, part of our wider Shakespeare Lives programme in Brazil. We will also screen sports documentaries from the BFI archive going back to the London Olympics of 1908 in open locations across the city.
All of this activity was launched on the 5 August with a chorus – made up of homeless people in Rio de Janeiro – greeting the Olympic flame at the Christ the Redeemer statue above the city, the outcome of the With One Voice project, which was supported by the Transform programme.
To stay up-to-date with the programme in Rio and to find out more about the impact of Transform, visit the dedicated website.