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Unlimited presents new work by disabled artists

Posted on August 21, 2012

evelyn glennie marc brew

evelyn glennie marc brewPresented alongside the London 2012 Paralympic Games, the Unlimited programme shows a groundbreaking group of new works by disabled and deaf artists. Originally planned as part of the Cultural Olympiad, this is the UK’s largest ever series of commissions from disabled and deaf artists, celebrating their work on an unprecedented scale.


There are 29 commissions in the new season, in art forms including dance, visual arts, music, comedy, circus and theatre. The works will be performed across the UK, but all 29 will be performed in London at Southbank Centre’s Unlimited Festival, running from August 30 to September 9.


The programme has encouraged collaborations and partnerships between artists and organisations. “I knew I wanted to think big,” says Marc Brew, one of the choreographers in the season. “So who did I want to work with? I always work with composers to create new scores when I create new work, so I thought, ‘Why not Evelyn Glennie?’ She’s someone I’ve wanted to work with for a long time.” Fusional Fragments, Brew’s collaboration with Glennie (pictured) – who performed in the spectacular opening ceremony for the Olympic Games – will be performed at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on August 31, before touring the UK. See the August issue of Dancing Times for our interview with Brew and Glennie.


Brew and Claire Cunningham have created new works for Candoco Dance Company, with guest dancers from Beijing and Rio de Janeiro – the cities that hosted the 2008 and 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Cunningham herself performs in Ménage à Trois, which explores her relationship with her crutches in a study of love, obsession, loneliness and manipulation – see the September issue of Dance Today for our interview with her.


In Creating the Spectacle, Sue Austin “dances” underwater in her specially-adapted wheelchair, Stumble danceCircus showcase their trick-cycling, tumbling and rope work in Box of Frogs, while David Toole, Lucy Hind and South Africa’s Remix company collaborate in The Impending Storm, an exploration of stories and sexuality. Private Dancer, Janice Parker’s award-winning performance piece, features a life-size luminous house and 18 eclectic performers.


Moving outside, Lawnmowers Theatre’s Boomba Down the Tyne unites the English Blaydon Races and the Brazilian Boi Bumba in a free show to be performed around Newcastle.


Ruth Mackenzie, director of the London 2012 Festival and the Cultural Olympiad, said: “The Unlimited programme is unprecedented, offering more commissioning for disabled and deaf artists than any Cultural Olympiad or festival to date. We are delighted to have had the opportunity to work with world-class artists who have created brilliant work that will inspire and change perceptions when we welcome the world to London during the London 2012 Paralympic Games. I hope this will be one of our most important legacies for future Games and for disabled and deaf artists both in the UK and internationally.”


For a full programme, see, or see the Southbank Centre website for the London performances.


Picture: Evelyn Glennie with dancers of Marc Brew Company. Photograph: Irven Lewis

Zoë was born in Edinburgh, and saw her first dance performances at the Festival there. She is the dance critic of The Independent, and has also written for The Independent on Sunday, The Scotsman and Dancing Times. In 2002, she received her doctorate from the University of York for a thesis on “Nationhood and epic romance: Ariosto, Sidney, Spenser”. She is the author of The Royal Ballet: 75 Years and The Ballet Lover’s Companion.

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