Contact Shortlisted For Gulbenkian's Major Arts Programme

Contact Shortlisted For Gulbenkian's Major Arts Programme

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Six proposals from performing arts organisations have been shortlisted for a major grant within the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation’s participatory performing arts programme. This will recognise and support an outstandingly original idea for a new participatory performance which genuinely involves local people.

The Arches and Untitled ProjectsBattersea Arts Centre (BAC) with Contact, Manchester and People’s Palace Projects (PPP)Entelechy Arts with Freedom Studios, Bradford and Casa das Fases, LondrinaPunchdrunkQuarantine • and Wayne McGregor│Random Dance have been chosen from 46 bids put forward by producing companies across the British Isles

Worth £175,000 over two years, this grant forms part of a new programme which the Foundation hopes to develop further.  The programme was piloted in 2010 through support for two projects developed by Manchester International Festival – Sacred Sites and That Day We Sang. National Theatre Wales was the next recipient, in 2011, for an idea brought to the company by four young Somali men from the Butetown area of Cardiff who were eager to change negative perceptions of their nation. The eventual performance of De Gabay, which draws on Somali poetry and music, will take place in 2013.

The participatory performing arts programme supports the development of a new performance piece of uncompromising quality which brings together leading professionals and people from local communities.  The aim is that continuing connections should be established between arts participants and communities with demonstrable social and cultural benefits. As a European foundation, based in three countries, Gulbenkian is also keen to encourage greater international exchange.

 Andrew Barnett, director of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation UK, said: “We want to identify and support practice that breaks down barriers between professional artists and non-professionals in a way that gives voice to some of the most marginalised in society. When the recipient has been chosen we will be taking stock of the impact of the programme with a view to developing it further. We hope to build a community of practitioners, nationally and internationally, who believe that participation in making art can deliver both cultural value and a lasting effect on audiences and all those involved.”


John McGrath, Artistic Director, National Theatre Wales, recipient of the performance grant in 2011 and member of the advisory and selection panel said: “The Gulbenkian Foundation’s performance grant has already had a huge impact on National Theatre Wales’ work with young Somali artists in Butetown.  The sense of pride and possibility that this support has fostered in everyone involved has been huge.  There is a sense that our project, De Gabay, can have a real impact in the world, and that the resources and exposure offered by the grant will be a big part of making this happen."

 The recipient will be announced at the end of June and work will start immediately to develop the production. The programme offers two tranches of support: an immediate £75,000 for R&D, followed by £100,000 for an eventual production in 2014.

Shortlisted proposals:

The Arches and Untitled Projects (Glasgow)

The Arches and Untitled Projects propose a cycle of Glasgow city centre performances resurrecting and reconstructing the life and legend of teenage warrior Joan of Arc for a 21st century audience.

Battersea Arts Centre (BAC) in partnership with Contact and People’s Palace Projects (PPP) (London and Manchester)

Drawing inspiration from Agência de Redes para a Juventude (the Agency Network for Youth) in Rio de Janeiro, we propose a national UK festival of young people's ideas as a catalyst for positive change. This project is about young people, creativity and our future. It is an adventure into the unknown.

 Entelechy Arts in partnership with Freedom Studios, Bradford and Casa das Fases, Londrina, Brazil (London and Bradford) 

Theatre of epic proportions woven from the imaginations of elders from the Ukrainian, Italian and Pakistani communities in Bradford, from the Caribbean, West African and White British communities in south east London, from the Euro-Brazilian and Afro-Brazilian communities in Londrina. How on earth did I get to this age? Who am I now?

 Punchdrunk (London)

From the ground-breaking theatre company whose work includes, FAUST and MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH comes a city-wide immersive theatre game - that takes the best of gaming and live theatre and combines them to new and dramatic effect. The show will bring communities and cities together through play.

Quarantine (Manchester)

A Dawn Chorus is a song cycle and film project made over 18 months with night workers in city centre Manchester.  Performed live at dawn as day workers arrive in the city, with film shown on public screens and broadcast.  Score and libretto by internationally-celebrated composer and writer. 

 Wayne McGregor | Random Dance (East London)

E20 DANCE When the greatest sporting event in the world has departed from East London, world-renowned choreographer Wayne McGregor and his team will bring together the old and new E20 communities to explore their creative aspirations for the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and its new E20 postcode.


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