Without Walls Announces Blueprint R&D 2020 Programme

2 July 2020

Ten artists and companies supported by £76K investment to develop ambitious new Outdoor Arts shows for audiences at leading UK festivals in 2021

Without Walls, the UK’s largest network of Outdoor Arts festivals and organisations announces its Blueprint 2020 Programme to support the research and development of new work.

In a world where the politics of public space are at the forefront of our consciousness, Without Walls believes that Outdoor Arts has an important role to play in supporting a cultural sector in crisis and bringing communities back together following the trauma of recent events.

Without Walls Blueprint 2020 spotlights a diverse range of artists with 40% of this year’s programme BAME-led and granting equal space to D/deaf and disabled artists to take risks and experiment with their craft. The programme seeks to expand the possibilities of what Outdoor Arts can be and sees many established companies looking to develop new approaches to their work come together alongside emerging artists who have no previous experience of Outdoor Arts, making the move into the public realm for the first time.

The artists and companies come from across the country and include Ashley Peevor & Nikki Watson,  Autin Dance Theatre,  Avanti Display,  Common Wealth and Fuel, Jeanefer Jean-Charles & Associates, Just More Productions, Kaleider, Ling Tan,  Southpaw Dance Company and Studio Go Go

The programme celebrates all kinds of artistic expression and responds to current social issues in compelling and entertaining ways.

Selected on the cusp of the COVID-19 crisis from amongst 113 other applicants, these ten visionaries will inevitably see the development of their work shaped by an exceptionally politically charged moment in our history. Many of the shows have been purposefully chosen for their ambition to raise the visibility of socially relevant issues that have come under intensified scrutiny in recent times and covey them in relatable and enjoyable acts of artistic intervention.

Outdoor Arts is widely recognised for its ability to create value in place-making and for promoting community spirit. This year’s Blueprint R&D programme demonstrates just how well-positioned Outdoor Arts are to bring awareness to some of the most pressing issues of our times.

What is Without Walls Blueprint?

Since its inception in 2018, Blueprint has supported the creation of 33 shows, with many going on to become fully realised productions that have toured across the UK and internationally. Without Walls draws on the strength of its network of 34 UK Outdoor Arts festivals and organisations that collectively champion collaboration and talent development as an instrument for resilience.

 

Josephine Burns, Chair of Without Walls, tells us: “Without Walls passionately believe that nurturing talent to stimulate new work is more important than ever and a vital tool to support the recovery of the cultural sector and our towns and cities across the land. With support from Arts Council England, we can use this investment to make sure that there is a future for Outdoor Arts, a form that uniquely reaches people in the places they call home and brings joy and comfort in an experienced shared”

Blueprint 2020 highlights the importance of supporting artists now to create work to aid the post-crisis recovery of the cultural sector.

Blueprint Artists will work alongside some of the UK’s highest regarded outdoor production and performance specialists, as well a recently appointed Production Manager whose role will be to assess specific challenges for outdoor presentation in a COVID-19 context. This package of support ensures that the artists are encouraged to push the boundaries of their art form to ensure accessibility, inclusivity and safety is at the heart of their projects.  

 

The artists will also be given the time and space to scale-up their ideas whilst taking up residencies in purpose-built creation spaces across the UK such as the Drill House in Great Yarmouth and 101 Outdoor Arts Creation Centre in Newbury – the UK’s largest purpose-built space for the development of Outdoor Art.

 

Catherine Mitchell, Director North from Arts Council England, says: “I’m delighted that we’re supporting the Without Walls Blueprint 2020 programme for Outdoors Arts. It is great to see such a broad range of artists developing ideas, particularly those reimagining their practice in outdoor public spaces for the first time. This continued investment in R&D is a good example of how our NPO funding benefits the whole sector, by allowing organisations in the portfolio the time and resources to advance their thinking and ideas. I’m excited to see how this fantastic selection of artists will explore these pressing issues and convey them to audiences in creative and inspiring ways!”

This project is supported by Arts Council England.

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