Photograph of a woman who appears to be defying gravity as she leans sideways across a grassy path through a meadow. She wears a white dress and has short, blonde hair.
Image by Suzie Larke.

Southbank Centre’s Unlimited Festival: The programme

A few weeks ago, we revealed that Southbank Centre’s upcoming Unlimited festival is going to be delivered digitally, allowing audiences worldwide to experience the artistic vision of some outstanding disabled artists. Now, we can share the whole festival programme and tell you a little more about our additional industry only events!

Southbank Centre’s Unlimited festival is a five-day event featuring dance, performance, comedy, film, talks, workshops, and art that celebrates the artistic vision of disabled artists. Unlimited is excited to be collaborating with the Southbank Centre again this year for what will be the fifth Unlimited festival since it first started in 2012.

The festival – 13 – 17 January 2021 – is set to be the most accessible yet, with 33 online events, 32 of which are free, and 16 available on-demand. 

World Premieres

Second Hand Dance presents the world premiere of Insect Hands (16 January, free)

A new work for ages 4-7 invites audiences to look a little more closely at the world around them.

The Origin of Carmen Power (13 – 17 January, free)

A new interactive, online storytelling experience created by an eleven-year-old girl, created for 7-13 year-olds with support from innovative theatre-maker Toby Peach who experienced cancer as a teenager himself.

Instagramming the Apocalypse (15 -17 January, free)

The first ever screening of this popular stage show by Byron Vincent. The work is accompanied by a Q&A and DJ set.

Dance

111 (13 – 15 January, free)

A broadcast of the critically acclaimed powerful dance duet 111 featuring Joel Brown (Candoco Dance Company) and Eve Mutso (formed Principal Dancer of Scottish Ballet) as they explore their different strengths and vulnerabilities. 111 is the number of vertebrae Joel and Eve say they have between them.

Artificial Things (15 – 17 January, free)

Filmed on location in a derelict suburban shopping mall, featuring an ensemble of disabled and non-disabled dancers, the film explores human interdependence, strength, and vulnerability. 

Saturn Returns (17 January, free)

Sonny Nwachukwu gives an interactive insight into his choreopoem in Saturn Returns, a live dance and spoken word performance which explores the psychospiritual clashes produced in Black people by the weight of history. 

Here / Not Here (14 – 17 January, free)

A new hip-hop film exploring British Sign Language, Krump street dance, football, and Visual Vernacular; the choreographed and poetic form of sign language directed by award-winning film-maker and Deaf artist Bim Ajadi, written by Jonzi D, Artist Director of Breakin’ Convention. 

Online exhibition and multimedia performance

Reasonable Adjustment – The Disabled Armed Resistance Movement (13 – 17 January, free)

An online exhibition created by shortlisted BAFTA award film-maker

Within Sight (17 – 19 January, free)

Multimedia performance Within Sight is a filmed version of Ellen Renton’s debut solo show based on her experience of living with albinism. 

The Microscope Sessions (15 January, free) 

The Microscope Sessions invites a live audience to witness a painting emerge through an evolving game of consequences, cross-pollination, and contamination by artists Rhiannon Armstrong and Tim Spooner, who co-create a painting in real-time.

Performance Broadcasts

I Was Naked, Smelling of Rain (14 – 16 January, free)

I Was Naked, Smelling of Rain is a performance by Aidan Moesby exploring wellbeing and weather. 

One Woman (14 – 16 January, free)

A broadcast performance by theatre artist Cheryl Martin invites audiences to enter the mind of a woman living with mental illness through binaural sound. This event includes an introductory talk and a Q&A. 

Augmented (13 – 15 January, free)

One-person show Augmented, written and performed by Sophie Woolley and presented as a streamed film, shares the joys and conflict of being welcomed back into the hearing world after losing her hearing in her twenties. 

Gods of Lockdown (16 – 19 January, free) 

Gods of Lockdown Brownton Abbey Service Transmission (B.A.S.T) is an Afro-futurist performance party.

Live performance and comedy

GLOOPTOPIA with NewfrontEars! (16 January, free)

Autistic green drag queen Ooozing Gloop presents a one-off adaptation of GLOOPTOPIA with NewfrontEars!, a live exploration into cultural stagnation of political hope. 

A Crash Course in Cloudspotting (14 – 17 January, free) 

A Crash Course in Cloudspotting is a theatrical invitation to pause, to rest, to listen. The experience is conceived as a break from the screen, and invitation to connect with a small audience of 21.

Abnormally funny people (17 January, tickets £5-10)

To close the festival, Abnormally funny people will perform live via Zoom. Featuring stand-up comedy, sketches, songs, a quiz show, celebrity cameos, and more.

Workshops

Lesbian Pirates: Bringing History to Life (17 January, free)

Online theatrical workshop Lesbian Pirates: Bringing History to Life uses writing exercises, group work, and prompts to explore how to create a dramatic narrative around the audience members’ favourite historical icon. 

Colour Full at Home (16 January, free)

Colour Full at Home is a sensory, hands-on workshop led by JoAnne Haines for learning disabled adults bringing together dance, movement, and music with art materials to make art using the whole body. 

DYSCO (16 January, free)

DYSCO is a neurodivergent-led space with live dancing and music with no teacher to follow. DJ DYSCOURSE (dance artist Aby Watson) leads a virtual, intergenerational, and celebratory dance party. 

Outdoor exhibition

Unseen (13 Jan – 28 Feb, free & onsite)

Alongside the digital programme, there will be an outdoor exhibition onsite at the Southbank Centre showcasing ‘Unseen’ by Suzie Larke. This project aims to increase awareness and conversation about mental wellbeing. 

Plus…

Unlimited discusses… (14 – 15 January, free)

Curated by Unlimited and the Southbank Centre, Unlimited discusses considers the burning questions for disability-led arts, from diverse and international perspectives, in a series of three discussions and debates. Artists, arts practitioners, and experts in their field discuss the issues, solutions, and possibilities for disability arts in the post-Covid arts landscape.

Pitch and Mix (14 – 16 January, free) 

Pitch and Mix offers audiences a sneaky insight into projects in development by disabled artists, and hear from disability-arts organisations over three sessions. The sessions offer insights into work from several different art forms by independent creatives and companies. Artists are drawn from the Unlimited portfolio – often work that has been through R&D and is still being created.

On Thursday 14 January, this includes work by Nwando Ebizie, Anna Berry, Jonny Cotsen and Sophie Hoyle. Hosted by Samantha Renke.

On Friday 15 January, this includes work by Ailís Ní Ríain, Stephanie Anne Back, Christopher Samuels and Noëmi Lakmaier. Hosted by Mik Scarlett.

On Saturday 16 January, this includes work by Rowan James, Chanje Kunda, Nye Russell-Thompson and Katy Rose Bennett. Hosted by Melissa Johns

Industry Programme

There will also be a series of industry-only events for programmers, curators, festivals and organisers to find out more about Unlimited and the commissions. These events are open to Unlimited Allies and international delegates and include:

Brunch with Unlimited on Wednesday 13 January 10.30 – 12.00 noon

An introduction to Unlimited giving attendees a chance to understand the context of Southbank Centre’s Unlimited festival within the wider work of the commissioning programme. The session is designed for new allies or people who want to know why and how Unlimited works, and will also provide an introduction to the Industry programme as a whole. Areas to be covered: how Unlimited is funded, how the commissioning process is run, international producer placements, trainees, commitment to intersectionality and how Unlimited is transitioning into an independent organisation.

Unlimited Festival – Any questions? – on Wednesday 13 January 12:30 – 1:30pm

Got questions about the Unlimited festival?  About the programme, the curatorial process, about the relationships between Unlimited, Southbank Centre and British Council? About the changes for 2021 due to Covid 19. This session sees Unlimited, Southbank Centre and British Council staff in discussion with each other and with the audience to answer your questions.  

Industry Meet and Greet – Introductions – on Wednesday 13 January 2.00 – 3.30pm

A session led by Unlimited to help facilitate connections and conversations across the week. Since we can’t exchange business cards, this is the best we can do! Come along prepared to introduce yourself in 30 seconds or so, and add your contact information into the chat box. Those attending get the video recording and the chat so they can remember who they have met and make personal contact afterwards throughout the festival.

Industry Showing: A Crash Course in Cloudspotting (the subversive act of horizontality) – on Wednesday 13 January 4:00 – 5:00pm

An opportunity for Industry and International delegate to experience Raquel Meseguer show. The show has limited capacity in its run through the week so this option is provided to ensure allies and international colleagues have a chance to experience the work., with larger numbers than usual able to attend.

For more information on the work, please see here.

Industry meet up with a focus on Music – on Thursday 14 January 4:00 – 5:00pm

 

Industry meet up with a focus on Visual Arts  – on Friday 15 January 4:00 – 5:00pm

 

Industry meet up with a focus on Theatre and Dance  – on Saturday 16 January 4:00 – 5:00pm

 

A chance to chat with other organisations and allies about current concerns in artform areas, access and inclusion. With no fixed agenda, these sessions are designed to be part networking, part Question Time where everyone can contribute to the answer.

If you want links to join the industry programme, please email joverrent@weareunlimited.org.uk or join our allies scheme and we can send you more information.