Friday 30 April 2021

A year of uncertainty & change has encouraged new, radical ways of working: DISRUPT Festival

DISRUPT Festival 2021
One of the things that we have learned from the past 18 months is that, when it comes to our standard performance model, things can change and ought to. Many organisations have invested in the technology to enable live-streaming, and you sense that a 'normal' future (whatever and whenever that may be) will be more of a mixed model for the performing arts.

Arising directly out of the last year's restrictions and trials, the DISRUPT Festival is taking place virtually on 8-9 July 2021, co-ordinated by the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and the Barbican (in partnership with the Culture, Health & Wellbeing Alliance, the Culture Mile, the Lived Experience Network, Maya Productions, and Slung Low). The festival is presenting a programme of discussions, panels and workshops with the intention of exploring how the performing arts can support communities during the pandemic, and how a year of uncertainty and change has encouraged new and radical ways of working. The programme has been created entirely from open submissions and selected by a panel of 14 community members and artists. 

The commissions for DISRUPT that will form the programme of work across the festival include:

  • Rebecca Biscuit and Heather Bandenburg's Mummy Vs is a performance that will examine the effect of COVID-19 on the childcare crisis and the pressures on new parents, bringing the domestic to life in the spectacular nature of a wrestling show
  • The Margate Bookie and Co-Relate, the creators of The Feedback Machine, an innovative online platform which provides feedback and support to writers at all levels during the pandemic, will be discussing the project
  • Peer Productions and the National Association for Children of Alcoholics': 50 Days: Alone Together tells the story of ten teens and their first 50 days in lockdown
  • Laura Kenyon and Centre 151:  This project will work with women who have experienced domestic abuse to create a ‘handbook’ using movement and improvisations to empower them to tell their story in their own voices
  • Rhubarb Theatre and Addy Farmer and Lincolnshire County Council and SHINE Network: an animation for schools created by Rhubarb Theatre, as well a selection of resources for adults, schools, and children to help encourage dialogue about depression and suicidal thoughts
  • Maya Productions and Darnall Wellbeing and Ignite Imaginations and Roshni Sheffield: inspired by Maya’s new musical, Benny and the Greycats which tells the story of an Anglo-Indian family moving from South India to Sheffield, this project will work with an over 50s South Asian and ethnically diverse group in Sheffield, providing participants with new skills and respite from the constraints of COVID-19 through memory sharing, music, art and theatre-making
  • Breakfast Club and The Magpie Project:  Over five weeks, Breakfast Club will work with mothers supported by The Magpie Project to produce a series of sonic postcards in response to material developed by the mothers in workshops, which will include instrumental improvisations, spoken word, field recordings and moments captured during workshop conversations
Full details from the festival website.

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