Battersea Arts Centre today announces a season of groundbreaking and playful work (April to July 2021) which explores fresh ways of living differently and sharing experiences. After a year of continual change and rapid adaptation, Wild Times brings together some of the UK’s most exciting creative voices to reimagine the future together; experimenting with theatrical films and cutting-edge 360° technology, intimate online performance and even a life-size outdoor board game. Tickets are now available to friends and members, with booking open to the public from 10am on Friday 26 March via bac.org.uk/wild-times
Every performance in Battersea Arts Centre’s artistic programme, starting with Wild Times, will now be available as part of the new, universal Pay What You Can pricing model. The goal is to reach and re-connect as many people as possible after such a challenging year. Pay What You Can marks another step for Battersea Arts Centre towards becoming more inclusive, as it continues to remove barriers to provide a creative welcome to everyone that wants to take part.
The new pricing structure has been a long-term ambition for the cultural community hub. It was amidst the disruption caused by COVID-19 that the team identified the opportunity to make the change, needed now more than ever. The move comes a year into embodying the Relaxed Venue approach, a methodology following the principles of Relaxed Performances which was developed by Touretteshero in partnership with Battersea Arts Centre. The cultural community hub launched as the world’s first Relaxed Venue in February 2020, aiming for access, inclusion and empowering positive social change to be at the heart of every decision.
Tarek Iskander, Artistic Director and CEO of Battersea Arts Centre, says:
“Our topsy-turvy world continues to transform at a rapid pace, and like the artists, young people and communities who are the creative engines of Wild Times, at Battersea Arts Centre we are determined to be part of a better future for everyone. The remarkable and diverse works in this programme exemplify people adapting, reimagining themselves, doing things differently. They don’t shy away from the hard truths but are also full of joy and the thrill of future possibilities. It’s proof that even a pandemic can’t stop our collective determination to connect, collaborate and be creative.
“The Wild Times season also marks a major landmark for Battersea Arts Centre as we move to a universal Pay What You Can model. So from now on, as well as being relaxed, every BAC performance, live or digital, should be financially accessible to everyone. As the times demand, it’s important that we are all supported to come together now, whatever our financial means or personal circumstances, and do the exciting creative thinking needed to refashion our communities and the ways we relate to each other and our world.”
Battersea Arts Centre welcomes back audiences to the Grand Hall in July for a thrilling week of in-person celebration with Lucy McCormick’s Life: LIVE! (8-15 July). Originally programmed for last year’s (interrupted) Going Global season, the subversive pop concert spectacular amplifies what it means to perform ‘live’ in a new, acoustic production. Now accompanied onstage by a live band, the gig straddles stardom, self care and redemption in a hilarious, crumbling, extravaganza to showcase Lucy’s debut album of original music.
Wild Times also features bold and universally acclaimed artists embracing the enforced pause in live touring, who reimagine their compelling stage works for the screen. Award-winning artist Selina Thompson premieres salt: dispersed (22-27 June), adapting her prescient show about grief, Black British identity and colonialism in an intimate film experience. Shot in Battersea Arts Centre during lockdown, Hofesh Shechter’s POLITICAL MOTHER: The Final Cut (UK premiere, 2-4 July) is an exhilarating short film and dance piece. Shechter directs this innovative and theatrically thrilling re-staging inspired by the iconic original production, immersing audiences into a fragile world where individuals struggle against society’s complex structures.
Inspiring voices will share wildly different perspectives in further digital work throughout the season. Revered for their transcendental, Afro-futurist performance parties, the Brownton Abbey collective will host a radically inclusive online gathering made by and centering disabled queer artists of colour. Brownton Abbey: Talk Show (18-20 June) will include exclusive screenings of brand new digital performance commissions from the Brownton Abbey Universe, infused with frank and open conversations led by the collective. Katherine Kotz curates The Motherhood Project (world premieres, 19-25 April); fifteen exciting short films from contributors such as Juno Dawson, Suhayla El Bushra, Hannah Khalil, Morgan Lloyd Malcolm, Irenosen Okojie, Lemn Sissay MBE, and Athena Stevens, exploring the guilt, joy, absurdity and taboo surrounding motherhood.
Battersea Arts Centre continues to support artists to push the boundaries between live and digital work, and explore the future of performance. In a pioneering residency and commission programme, Chisato Minamimura, Brian Mullin, N2P, Poltergeist Theatre and RashDash will combine one of their new or popular stage works with cutting edge digital technologies. Using techniques like 360° filming, they will help us make sense of the world through new, immersive kinds of storytelling. In the five world premieres, audiences will be able to experience the experimental performances simply through their mobile phones or laptops.
Wild Times gives Battersea Arts Centre an important opportunity to bring the local community back together. Young people will take the lead, as five alumni Agents (who have all been through Battersea Arts Centre’s flagship creative entrepreneurship programme for 15-25 year olds, The Agency) present Free Up Fest (3 July). Outdoors, in the heart of Battersea, the festival will celebrate the diversity, creative talent and innovation in the area, including a specially created life-sized version of the crime-prevention board game Life Is What U Make It by alumni Agent Osmond Gordon Vernon. What will people need? is a new durational commission led by Jo Fong, an artist and gardener whose award-winning work explores ways of connecting people. The art installation and online archive of voices will encourage the depth and legacy of communities, a vital source of support for so many over the past year, and coincides with Battersea Arts Centre welcoming local residents and NHS staff as the Community Vaccination Centre for Wandsworth.
Battersea Arts Centre is delighted to announce some major funding news this spring. This includes a generous grant from Garfield Weston Foundation’s Weston Culture Fund, to support the creative development of ten early and mid-career artists, while Bloomberg Philanthropies have confirmed another two years of critical support. For over a decade this collaboration has underpinned significant developments to the building, the artistic programme and work with the local community.
Especially at this exceptional time of great challenges for the sector, Battersea Arts Centre thanks all of its supporters and partners, in particular Arts Council England and Wandsworth Borough Council. Battersea Arts Centre would also like to acknowledge the importance of funding from the Culture Recovery Fund Round I. The Culture Recovery Fund is delivered by Arts Council England using funds provided by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
The WILD TIMES season includes:
The Motherhood Project
Mon 19 – Sun 25 Apr 2021
15 short videos available via 1 ticket, available at all times during these dates
The Motherhood Project is an online festival of dramatic monologues and real-life reflections by leading UK artists and thinkers. Fifteen short films explore the guilt, joy, absurdity, pressure and taboo surrounding motherhood, offering a fascinating cross-section of perspectives.
Curator Katherine Kotz invited writers, artists and technicians to join forces in response to the pandemic, creating exciting new pieces of work with the aim of supporting those affected.
Writers and contributors include E.V Crowe, Juno Dawson, Suhayla El Bushra, Jodi Gray, Hannah Khalil, Katherine Kotz, Morgan Lloyd Malcolm, Irenosen Okojie, Anya Reiss, Naomi Sheldon, Lemn Sissay MBE, Athena Stevens and Joelle Taylor. The directors are Maria Aberg, Annabel Arden, Caroline Byrne, Akinola Davies Jr, Tim Hoare, Sam Phillips, Anya Reiss, Elin Schofield and Jennifer Tang. The actors are Landry Adelard, Emmanuella Cole, Tsion Habte, Tom Rhys Harries, Zainab Hasan, Katherine Kotz, Jenni Maitland, Sarah Niles and Naomi Sheldon.
50% of ticket sales will be donated to Refuge.
Produced by Katherine Kotz in association with Drift Studio
Motherhood and The Arts: Rebuilding after COVID
Thursday 22 April, 7pm
This panel discussion will explore the realities of being an artist and a mother, the division of labour pre and post-COVID-19, and what individuals, policy makers and organisations can do to address some of the challenges. Panel members include the playwright and creator of Emilia Morgan Lloyd Malcolm, the award winning author Irenosen Okojie, actor, writer and co-host of The Pleasure Podcast Naomi Sheldon, and Lakuta vocalist Siggi Mwasote.
Chaired by Katherine Kotz, creator of The Motherhood Project
D&D Satellite: Time to Vent and Revive
A Conversation for Parents and Carers Working in the Arts During the Pandemic
Wed 28 Apr, 1pm – 4.30pm
A chance to come together, to share stories of the good, the bad, the ugly and the downright maddening times you have been through. Come and grieve the projects that did not happen, laugh at the crazy schooling-at-home days that did, and feel less alone. Let’s see if we can support each other in recovering our practice, our spirits, our hope, and tease out any precious silver linings from this stormy and challenging year.
Children welcome too – inside you, beside you, or ‘zoom bombing’ your screen.
Online conversation hosted by Improbable, in partnership with Mothers Who Make and PiPA.
Wayne Steven Jackson
From Me To Us
Mon 10 – Sun 16 May
Available at all times during these dates
The law changes all the time. A continuous catalogue of amendments, acts, and appeals, and just one more signature on yet another piece of paper. But, in 2019 something shifted. The law in the UK changed to allow for single father surrogacy. From one small piece of legislation, an impossible story grew.
From Me To Us is a playful and poignant performance letter to a future child from their future father. In his latest piece, Wayne Steven Jackson (Now/Then, Hull City of Culture 2017) deftly combines theatrical and film storytelling techniques. He provides the space for discussions about parenthood, whilst documenting the political change against a backdrop of autobiographical experiences.
With videography by Ben Horrigan for Studio 91 Media and music composed by BAFTA and Academy Award winner Chris Benstead (Gravity).
Supported by Arts Council England, Contact, hAb, Word of Warning and Brilliant Beginnings.
Brownton Abbey: Talk Show (BATS)
8pm Fri 18 Jun, available to stream until 12am Sun 20 Jun
Brownton Abbey is an evolving international performance collective which centers and celebrates the intersectional perspectives of disabled queer people of colour. Revolutionary, kaleidoscopic events investigate and reclaim the traditions of ritual and spirituality from within these communities.
The Afro-Futures themed performance parties have exploded in demand across the UK since 2018, with both radical inclusion and exclusion. They have transformed venues such as Southbank Centre, Brighton Dome (Brighton Festival) and Glasgow School of Art (Take Me Somewhere), with a growing international audience (Toronto’s Cripping the Stage festival).
Since the pandemic, the collective has adapted its work for a digital landscape. BATS is an online space for people to gather from the safety of their own homes. Frank and open conversation will be shared with Brownton Abbey artists, infused with exclusive screenings of brand new digital performance commissions.
Brownton Abbey is created by Tarik Elmoutawakil and Creatively Produced by Rob Jones. Brownton Abbey: Talk Show is a Brownton Abbey event, supported by Unlimited and Marlborough Productions.
Tues 22 – Sun 27 June 2021
Available to stream at all times during these dates
A journey to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.
In February 2016, two artists got on a cargo ship, and retraced one of the routes of the Transatlantic Slave Triangle – from the UK to Ghana to Jamaica, and back. Their memories, their questions and their grief took them along the bottom of the Atlantic and through the figurative realm of an imaginary past. It was a long journey backwards, in order to go forwards. This show is what they brought back.
salt. has received critical acclaim in Brazil, Australia, Canada, USA and across the UK, but the world live tour was cut short. Selina Thompson adapts her award winning show about grief, Black British identity and colonialism for this moment of global reckoning, in a powerful and intimate screen experience.
Original stage performance directed by Dawn Wilson, commissioned by Yorkshire Festival, Theatre Bristol and MAYK. Supported by the National Theatre Studio. Part of the British Council Showcase 2017. Funded by Arts Council England and 200 kind and generous supporters who donated towards their voyage across the Atlantic.
The film presentation is funded by Arts Council England, supported by Battersea Arts Centre.
Hofesh Shechter Company
Hofesh Shechter’s Political Mother: The Final Cut
Fri 2 – Sun 4 Jul 2021, 7.30pm
Internationally celebrated choreographer Hofesh Shechter has created a new short film with dancers from apprentice programme Shechter II, who represent the very best of the next generation of contemporary dance.
Directed, choreographed and filmed by Hofesh Shechter, Political Mother: The Final Cut combines Hofesh’s boldly innovative, often playful and always compelling choreography with his own original percussive, cinematic score set against a backdrop of Shay Hamias’ digital animation.
Shechter brings the striking iconic architecture of the venue centre stage – from the elegance of the Grand Hall, and the atmospheric intimate spaces to the labyrinthine gothic corridors creating this extraordinary film and dance piece which is at once emotionally complex, powerfully significant and theatrically thrilling.
Free Up Fest
Sat 3 July 2021
A chance to get back to community living. FREE UP FEST is a culmination of events in response to the Black Lives Matter movement, mental health and COVID-19.
The festival boasts a full day of creative art activities, paint & sip, live podcast discussions on pertinent issues, films featuring community experiences, interactive workshops and Life Is What U Make It, a life-sized crime prevention board game by alumni Agent Osmond Gordon Vernon, followed by performances. The festival, run by five local change makers, aims to bring back a sense of community which has been widely affected by regeneration, lockdown and crime.
Free Up Festival will take place in the heart of Battersea, celebrating and platforming young creatives and showcasing the diversity and innovation in the area.
Created with support from Wandsworth Arts Fringe, Arts Council England, Culture Seeds, Wandsworth Crime Prevention Panel & Battersea Arts Centre.
Thu 8 – Thu 15 Jul 2021, 8pm (no Sunday show)
Press Night: Friday 9 July at 8pm
Following smash hits Post-Popular (2019) and Triple Threat (2016), Life: LIVE! is the latest show from artist and provocateur Lucy McCormick, as she forefronts her aspiration to be a famous pop star.
Originally programmed for Battersea Arts Centre’s (interrupted) 2020 Going Global season, the subversive pop concert spectacular amplifies what it means to perform ‘live’ in a new, acoustic production. Now accompanied onstage by a live band (Dave Page and Nadine Lee), the gig straddles stardom, self care and redemption in a hilarious, crumbling, musical extravaganza.
The DIY cross-genre performance fuses sculpture, comedy and performance art to showcase Lucy’s debut album of original music, and features shonky-spectacular, stadium-chic visuals created on stage by artist Morven Mulgrew. The show comically meanders through some of life’s big questions whilst the despair and damage of false dreams seep through the cracks of B&Q timber.
Co-commissioned by Fierce, Teatro do Bairro Alto and Cambridge Junction with support from Alkantara, Tramway, Civic House Glasgow and Battersea Arts Centre.
Funded by Arts Council England.
What will people need?
Durational, installation at Battersea Arts Centre and online
What will people need? is about connecting. We’re definitely not through this and there is no doubt that there are more difficult times to come. We’re living in and out of hope, yet the seasons keep coming. This moment has scrapped so many versions of stability and yet there is an opportunity to re-think.
In these times, what is success? Getting to 2022 with grace perhaps? Or can we do this together? Or are there things we will need to start again and do differently?
A visual art installation puts a few questions into the air, alongside an online archive of responses. The project guides people to bring their voice to a shared moment of reflection on how they are, what they appreciate and what is missing. On everything from loss, land, relationships, ways of coming together, belonging or protest, to friendships and the role of neighbourhood. A way to look gently to the future and acknowledge what and who we need to remember.
To contribute to the conversation please visit www.whatwillpeopleneed.com
Jo is working with four local conversationalists, with digital artist Lisa Mattocks and she would like to thank artist and friend Sonia Hughes for her contribution.
In a pioneering residency and commission programme with ‘Extended Reality’ (or XR) company LIVR, and made possible by Arts Council England, Battersea Arts Centre invites five artists/companies to combine one of their new or popular stage works with cutting edge digital technologies. The artists will explore the future of live, digital and immersive performance using techniques such as creating and capturing work in 360 degrees. After the residencies and support from post-production and digital marketing experts, five performances will have their world premiere as part of Wild Times.
From the beginning of the process, the artists will work creatively with LIVR and Battersea Arts Centre teams to remove barriers for anyone who wants to engage with the final pieces. The aim is for all audiences, from anywhere, to have access to the high quality experience of a front row seat, and the ability to interact using a range of devices, including mobile phones and laptops.
Dates, times and tickets will be available soon
The five artists/ companies and their projects are:
Based on Chisato Minamimura’s original research, Scored in Silence uses a unique blend of cutting-edge technology and choreography to unpack the hidden perspectives of Deaf people, using true accounts from the handful who survived the atomic bomb atrocity in Japan 1945.
Chisato is a Deaf performance artist who often uses mathematical scores to choreograph visual sound. Through her multidisciplinary and intensely collaborative process she has created interactive projects combining projection, smartphone/ tablet apps, electronics, live bodies and physical space. Recent projects include SoundMoves, Chisapp project, Ring the Changes.
LIVE TO TELL: (a proposal for) The Madonna Jukebox Musical is writer Brian Mullin’s debut as an autobiographical performer. A brutally honest reflection on re-invention and legacy, Brian looks back at his life as an HIV+ artist and is desperate to make something that will live forever.
Originally developed at Pulse Festival and Yard Live Drafts.
Brian Mullin is a playwright, theatre-maker and dramaturg, and has been engaged in queer politics, especially HIV/AIDS activism and advocacy throughout his career. Plays include We Wait in Joyful Hope and the UK/ international hit Our Fathers (as part of international devising ensemble Babakas).
Helen is a brand new piece from N2P, using virtual reality to tell the story of pioneering astronaut Helen Sharman CME OBE, the first British person in space.
Commissioned by Battersea Arts Centre and LIVR in collaboration with Ugly Duck and supported by ACE.
N2P are a theatre ensemble who develop new work, frequently praised for their honest and disarming use of auto/biographical source material and innovative staging. GRIP, N2P’s third original play won the Audience Choice Award at the International Youth Arts Festival in Kingston.
THE ABDUCTIONS is a 360° experience, inspired by Poltergeist’s 2018 sell-out Edinburgh Fringe Festival hit, Lights Over Tesco Car Park, that puts the audience at the centre of four historic alien abductions.
Lights Over Tesco Car Park was originally produced in Association with The North Wall, supported by New Diorama, The Yard and The Pleasance. The Abductions is commissioned by Battersea Arts Centre and LIVR, in association with The Rose Theatre, Kingston and supported by Arts Council England.
Poltergeist Theatre company makes narrative driven work in new ways, collaborating with a live audience. Their debut production Lights Over Tesco Car Park won the Samuel French New Play Award 2018 with a sold-out Run at Edinburgh Fringe Festival, followed a second sell-out hit, the critically acclaimed Art Heist (winner: New Diorama & Underbelly Untapped Award 2019).
Look At Me Don’t Look At Me is a brand new cabaret about love, art and a legacy. RashDash reclaim the story of Lizzie Siddal, famous throughout history as model and muse for the Pre-Raphaelite painters but an artist and poet in her own right.
RashDash creates exhilarating and political work combining music, dance and theatre to create sensual and cerebral experiences. Theatre credits include THREE SISTERS (Royal Exchange Theatre/ The Yard/ Tobacco Factory Theatres/ The Old Vic/ MAYK/ Cambridge Junction), THE DARKEST CORNERS (a large scale, outdoor, headphone show for Transform Festival 2017) and TWO MAN SHOW (Northern Stage/ Soho Theatre, Edinburgh Fringe First Winner 2016, Stage Award for Acting Excellence).
Recipient: Adrian Howells Award For Intimate Performance 2021
Adrian Howells (1962 – 2014) was one of the world’s leading figures in the field of one to one and intimate performance. In a year of feeling isolated and unable to meet, touch and be together with people, the idea of intimate performance feels a bit of a distant concept, yet more important than ever.
The Adrian Howells Award for Intimate Performance is an opportunity for a UK artist to develop and present an early staging of a new performance-based project. The Award aims to celebrate the intimate work that Adrian pioneered and excelled at, as well as providing an opportunity to explore new territories in the field of one to one and intimate performance.
This year the commission is awarded to multidisciplinary artist Nwando Ebizie, who will explore intimate performance in an online or remote context. Nwando will develop and share her ideas throughout 2021.
Nwando Ebizie is an Afrofuturist neurodivergent artist. Incorporating music, immersive technologies, Black Atlantic ritual dance, myth-making and performance art, her work frequently explores live, digital and alternate realities. Most recently, she has been artist in residence with Yorkshire Sculpture Network (2020), staged large-scale immersive works such as Distorted Constellations (2019), performed as alter ego Lady Vendredi (a blaxploitation heroine from another dimension!), and seen her compositions for voice and electronics presented across the world. Her work with the Wellcome Collection includes curating an installation for their Lates series exploring the link between neuroscience, sensory perception and creativity, and presenting the podcast series For All I Care, asking what care means for our bodies, communities, the planet and our futures.
The 2021 Adrian Howells Award is co-presented by Take Me Somewhere, Something To Aim For, Battersea Arts Centre & BUZZCUT
Venue: Battersea Arts Centre, Lavender Hill, SW11 5TN
Box Office: 020 7223 2223
Booking link: bac.org.uk/wild-times
Dates: 19 April – 15 July 2021
Festival Hashtags: #WildTimes2021 #PWYC
Title: The Motherhood Project
Artist: Katherine Kotz in association with Drift Studio
Date: 19 – 25 Apr 2021
Price: PWYC (Suggested Price £10)
Booking Link: bac.org.uk/whats-on/motherhood-project
Age guidance: 14+
Running time: 15 videos ranging from 2 – 16 mins.
Show Hashtag: #MotherhoodProject
Artist Handle: @KatherineKotz @driftstudio_ldn
Title: From Me To Us
Artist: Wayne Steven Jackson
Date: 10 – 16 May 2021
Price: PWYC (Suggested Price £6)
Booking Link: bac.org.uk/whats-on/from-me-to-us
Age guidance: N/A
Running time: 1 hour
Show Hashtag: #FromMeToUs
Artist Handle: @waynesjackson
Title:Brownton Abbey: Talk Show
Artist: Brownton Abbey
Date: 18 – 20 Jun 2021
Time: 8pm Fri – Available to stream until 12am Sun
Price: PWYC (Suggested Price £6)
Booking Link: bac.org.uk/whats-on/brownton-abbey
Age guidance: 18+
Running time: TBC
Show Hashtag: #BrowntonTalkShow
Artist Handle: @BrowntonAbbey
Title: salt: dispersed
Artist: Selina Thompson
Date: 22 – 27 Jun 2021
Price: PWYC (Suggested Price £6)
Booking Link: bac.org.uk/whats-on/salt-dispersed
Age guidance: 14+
Running time: 1 hour
Show Hashtag: #saltdispersed
Title: Hofesh Shechter’s POLITICAL MOTHER: The Final Cut
Artist: Hofesh Shechter Company
Date: 2 – 4 Jul 2021
Price: PWYC (Suggested Price £10)
Booking Link: bac.org.uk/whats-on/political-mother
Age guidance: 13+
Running time: 33 mins
Show Hashtag: #PMFinalCut
Artist Handle: @HofeshCo
Title: Free Up Fest
Artist: Inside-Out Collective
Date: 3 Jul 2021
Time: 11am – 7pm
Booking Link: bac.org.uk/free-up-fest
Show Hashtag: #FreeUpFest
Artist Handle: @FreeUpFestival
Artist: Lucy McCormick
Date: 8 – 15 Jul 2021
Price: PWYC (Suggested Price £20)
Booking Link: bac.org.uk/whats-on/life-live
Age guidance: 14+
Running time: 1 hour
Show Hashtag: #LifeLIVE
Artist Handle: @lucy_muck