without walls report 2011
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DESCRIPTIONSince 2007 Without Walls has been extending the reach of outdoor work in surprising ways, with a programme of acclaimed performances that have transformed and animated urban and rural setting up and down the country. This booklet highlights some of our work and achievements of the past years, reflecting the sheer breadth and scope of the projects we have commissioned and presented.
Excellence in Outdoor A
2Between 2007 2011 Without Walls has:
Supported 45 companies
Supported 15 companies new to making work for the outdoors
Delivered 31 new commissions
Invested 510,000 in the creation of new work
Enabled 6 Research & Development projects, one of which is
now a large-scale international work
Supported the presentation of over 700 free performances
reaching an audience of 1.3 million people
Invested over 1.5m in supporting companies through touring
Founded in 2007, Without Walls is a consortium of 8 UK arts festivals who work together to deliver an annual platform of new outdoor arts by British artists.
The consortium members are:
Greenwich + Docklands International Festival
Lakes Alive, Cumbria
Norfolk & Norwich Festival
Stockton International Riverside Festival
Winchester Hat Fair
Without Walls has been breaking new ground in the development and creation of outdoor arts in the UK, working in partnership to deliver opportunities for British artists to create new work of the highest quality, and making that programmeavailable to the widest possible audience.
As a model of strategic partnership, Without Walls is showing that collaboration results in an increased range and quality of work for festival audiences.
Without Walls is bringing UK work to the attention of international programmers and potential partners, helping to ensure that Britain can compete in the flourishing international outdoor arts marketplace.
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Over the past five years Without Walls has extended the reach of
outdoor work in surprising ways, with a programme of acclaimed
performances that have transformed and animated urban and
rural settings up and down the country.
Partnership, civic alliances, shared risk and investment have been
at the heart of our work and key to our success as we pooled
creative ideas and experience, supporting artists to be bolder in
developing new and exciting work for the public realm.
We have responded to some extraordinary ideas and in doing so
have nurtured the skills and talents of the British outdoor sector,
as well as bringing in new players, through commissions and
presentations of large and middle scale work. The work crosses
a surprising range of artforms dance, theatre, installation,
music and pyrotechnics. And usually with a twist. Last years
programme provoked and engaged as well as delighted and
entertained; fly by night hotels were brought to vivid life through
dance and sound; audiences actively participated in the very
real scenario of a world in crisis through a changing climate, and
were astonished by gravity defying acts as performers balanced,
slid and tumbled through the air.
For 2011 and beyond we are looking to develop a series of
even more ambitious projects that continue to demonstrate
how transformative and powerful outdoor work can be,
taking audiences on a journey that invites them to look at their
surroundings in different ways. To achieve this Without Walls
will work with some of the UKs most original and innovative
artists, bringing in new partners, not only nationally but also
from Europe and beyond through our fast-growing international
The vision and ambition of British artists for creating work in the
public realm is growing. Without Walls is well placed to nurture
and realise that vision.
Rose Fenton, Chair, Without Walls
Without Walls has been instrumental in the development of Plunge Boom. The commission came when I was wanting to move into making outdoor work, having previously focused on studio theatre. This has led onto more than 3 years of work in the outdoors, touring and making new work. It gave me professional advice and mentorship in working in the outdoors and, more importantly, the confidence to take risks
Ben Faulks, Director, Plunge Boom
Without Walls is helping raise the bar for free, accessible, outdoor arts in the UK. Providing a supportive structure which allows artists to experiment; take risks and create more ambitious work than might normally be possible. Without Walls has also been instrumental in providing opportunities to companies new to the outdoor arts sector to create work, ensuring talent is supported and artistic excellence thrives.
Artists are engaged through a combination of open submission, invitation and strategic commissioning. Each company is assigned a lead contact from amongst the festival directors, to offer support and guidance throughout the process. Without Walls has developed a bespoke, formal commissioning process for each lead Director to follow, ensuring a consistency of approach from the consortium. Artists also attend annual meetings with members of the consortium, where they can give feedback, share experiences and have the chance to hear from their peers.
Each Without Walls partner presents 4 10 new works every year in addition to their regular outdoor programme, increasing the proportion of British work and the range and diversity presented in each festival.
Each partner works with their local communities to develop audiences and shares its networks and expertise with the consortium to improve and ensure best practice. Without Walls is contributing to a sustainable sector, helping generate interest and bookings for companies both in the UK and abroad.
Artists wishing to make contact with Without Walls should in the first instance visit the website to join the mailing list and view guidance on how to approach the consortium.
It has encouraged us to think of our work on a more national scale and actively promote our work outside of London. We are also considering a new Associate Artist Programme which would include site-specific commissions for cities outside of London in partnership with community organisations, and much of the thinking behind this new idea has been influenced by experiences with Sufi:Zen this summer.
Mira Kaushik, Director, Akademi
Without Walls is committed to the presentation of new and diverse voices, including supporting 8 disabled artists and disable-led companies to make new work for the outdoors for the first time The Alexandras, Marc Brew, Fittings Multimedia Arts, Graeae, Kuljit Bhamra, StopGAP, Mark Smith and Candoco.
The opportunity to grow has been extraordinary. The BSL translation process has developed and we were able to be more theatrically ironic with signed songs. The biggest learning curve has been how to respond and adapt to the diversity of festivals and audiences and become more confident as outdoor performers.
Jenny Sealey, Director, The Alexandras / Graeae
I felt I was entrusted to take a risk and it was expected I would deliver a high quality product. The support from Without Walls was fantastic I felt I could call any one of the team at any time for advice. The commissioning process was a big responsibility a genuine combination of dynamism, trust and support.
Kuljit Bhamra, creator of Chutney
The Bell was our largest production to date, playing to audiences of up to 5000 people. It was a challenging departure for us. The process of having a number of dates through Without Walls was extremely valuable in allowing us to develop many aspects of the performance from venue to venue, and adjust to the demands of this scale. Through this process, our large-scale work has been recognised as international quality, headlining at festivals in Poland and Mexico, where we received popular and critical acclaim, which has led to other international enquiries.
Claire Rafferty, Director, Periplum
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Photo Briony C
Fuel is a producing organisation working in partnership with some of the most exciting theatre artists in the UK. In 2010, Without Walls and London venue Sadlers Wells co-commissioned Fuel to produce the outdoor spectacle Electric Hotel conceived & directed by David Rosenberg and choreographed & co-directed by Frauke Requardt.
Electric Hotel turned out to be one of the popular must-sees of the festival.
Frank Wilson, Artistic Director Stockton International Riverside Festival
The project enabled Fuel to extend the audiences for their work to the outdoor, and has encouraged their portfolio of artists to think bigger about potential work in the future. The company made valuable links with new international contacts through the relationship with Stockton International Riverside Festival.
Electric Hotel was a hugely ambitious project and we were very fortunate to have the support of Without Walls to make it happen. They were able to provide crucial financial backing for this bold piece of work and a programming context at three festivals which allowed the work to reach a wide audience who didnt have to pay to experience the work. This wa