Thursday 18 July 2019


  • Performers address abuse, transphobia, #MeToo and gender identity
  • Additional projects explore the D/deaf and disabled experience
  • More than half of Showcase productions are female or LGBT+ led 
  • Artist Development Programme results in diverse Showcase programme

The international traction of gender equality and identity politics resonates strongly in this year's Edinburgh Showcase, the British Council's platform for contemporary UK performance staged alongside the Edinburgh Festivals, 19–24 August. Celebrating its 12th edition in 2019, the Edinburgh Showcase remains the single biggest opportunity for UK arts organisations and individuals to introduce their work to international promoters.  

In a unique collection of performances aptly reflecting world events over the past year, August’s line-up includes diverse themes from trauma and survival through to discrimination, disability politics and the #MeToo movement.

Stories of survival include Bryony Kimmings’ I'm a Phoenix, Bitch, an epic show about intensely personal experiences, exploring motherhood, womanhood and mental health with dark, devastating humour; BURGERZ finds Travis Alabanza attempting to cook a burger on stage to purge themselves of a transphobic attack and explore how trans bodies survive; and ThisEgg's dressed. is a true story of healing and defiance after a traumatic attack, told with tender intimacy by four women who have been friends since school.

Birds of Paradise Theatre Company examines disability and notions of male machismo in Purposeless Movements, a dance theatre piece presenting the personal stories of four men with cerebral palsy; Mr and Mrs Clark work with deaf artist Jonny Cotsen in Louder is Not Always Clearer, using dance-based movement as one of many ways to tell his story and investigate language and communication; and Scored in Silence – a digital sign language performance by Deaf Japanese artist Chisato Minamimura exploring elderly deaf survivors of the atom bombs in Japan.

Timely artistic responses to #MeToo continue with Breach Theatre’s It's True It's True It's True – an all-female verbatim courtroom drama, re-staging the 1612 trial of baroque painter Agostino Tassi for the rape of his student Artemisia Gentileschi; and Louise Orwin’s Oh Yes Oh No which asks: how do we understand female desire in a post-#MeToo world?

Over half the artists performing or leading projects in the Edinburgh Showcase are female or LGBT+ led in 2019.They include Amy Bell, who celebrates "often being the only dyke in the dance class", looking at sexuality, desire and gender in The Forecast; and Like Honey where Becky Namgauds uses contemporary dance and krump – a street dance form often associated with male energy – to present a visceral all-female performance full of noise and aggression. 

Neil Webb, Director Theatre and Dance, British Council, comments: 

“This year’s Edinburgh Showcase gives us a fascinating snapshot of artists’ stories reflecting what’s happening in the world today. I’m delighted the programme demonstrates how the British Council continues to champion diverse UK artists who deserve to be seen by a global audience.”

Continuing to feature in the Showcase are alumni artists from the British Council’s Artist Development Programme – a complementary campaign to encourage and support representation of diverse performers in the Edinburgh Showcase, and the wider Edinburgh festivals. 

Seeta Patel was selected for the first Edinburgh Showcase Artist Development Programme in 2015. This year she presents Not Today's Yesterday  with Australian choreographer Lina Limosani, blending bharatanatyam, contemporary dance and theatre to explore how societies airbrush other histories. 

She says: “The British Council’s support over the past few years has had a huge impact on my work with Australian collaborator Lina Limosani. This support has enabled me to develop meaningful international connections, which directly impacts on producing work that is relevant to audiences around the world. It has allowed my career to take the next vital steps into an international arena and I look forward to more outcomes arising from being chosen for the British Council’s Edinburgh Showcase.” 

The British Council is grateful for the expertise of an external panel of UK and international curatorial advisors whose insights have shaped the Showcase programme.

The Edinburgh Showcase is a British Council initiative, in partnership with Arts Council England, Creative Scotland, Arts Council of Wales and Wales Arts International.

Notes to Editor

British Council Edinburgh Showcase Dates: Monday 19 – Saturday 24 August 2019

Full press pack with images here:

For more information or to arrange interviews about the British Council Showcase contact 

Hayley Willis, Senior Media Officer, Arts: or +44 (0) 203 285 3781

Follow updates on @UKTheatreDance #EdShowcase via: Twitter 

For more information visit:

The curatorial panel responsible for the 2019 selection are:

  • Chair: Neil Webb, Director Theatre and Dance, British Council
  • Paul Burns, Head of Dance, Creative Scotland (UK)
  • Maggie Dunning, Development Officer, Arts Council of Wales (UK)
  • Tarek Iskander, then Director Theatre, Arts Council England (UK) 
  • Andrew Jones, Senior Theatre and Dance Programme Manager, British Council (UK)
  • Laura Mackenzie-Stuart, Head of Theatre, Creative Scotland (UK)
  • Kath M Mainland CBE, Executive Director, Melbourne International Arts Festival (Australia)
  • Carole McFadden, Theatre and Dance Programme Manager, British Council (UK)
  • Freddie Opoku-Addaie, Choreographer (UK)
  • Kathrin Vesser, Dramaturg and Artistic Director, Gessnerallee Zürich (Switzerland)
  • Meiyin Wang, Curator and independent producer (USA)

About Arts Council England 

Arts Council England is the national development body for arts and culture across England, working to enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to visual art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2018 and 2022, we will invest £1.45 billion of public money from government and an estimated £860 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country: 

About Creative Scotland

Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here. We enable people and organisations to work in and experience the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland by helping others to develop great ideas and bring them to life. We distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and the National Lottery.

For further information about Creative Scotland please visit 

About Arts Council of Wales and Wales Arts International

Arts Council of Wales is responsible for funding and developing the arts in Wales. Arts Council of Wales is an independent charity, established by Royal Charter in 1994. Its members are appointed by the Welsh Government’s Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism. Our principal sponsor is the Welsh Government. We also distribute funding from the National Lottery and raise additional money where we can from a variety of public and private sector sources. We are the country’s funding and development organisation for the arts. Working together with the Welsh Government, we are able to show how the arts are helping to meet the Government’s policy ambitions. Our vision is of a creative Wales where the arts are central to the life of the nation.  

Wales Arts International is the international team of Arts Council of Wales. We aim to increase the value of international cultural exchange to Wales by facilitating and supporting opportunities for international artistic collaboration and market development. We work closely with Welsh Government, British Council and other UK and international partners.

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We work with over 100 countries in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society. Last year we reached over 75 million people directly and 758 million people overall including online, broadcasts and publications. We make a positive contribution to the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust. Founded in 1934 we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. We receive 15 per cent core funding grnt from the UK government.