- 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.