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Horizon Showcase seeks exciting artists working in live performance based in England for 2021 pilot

PRESS RELEASE 14th April 2021

  • A vibrant celebration will connect new performance and creative ideas with international partners online at Edinburgh's Festivals this summer

  • The showcase will include both digital and in-person strands, with an artist-focused approach at the heart of the project

  • Artists and companies from across the industry, based in England, are invited to apply by 11 May 2021

A consortium of the nation’s leading artist-focused arts organisations announce today they are seeking expressions of interest from performance makers to take part in the pilot year of a new international showcase. HORIZON will be an exciting and vibrant event that celebrates the next generation of international artists and cultural leaders, currently based across England, born out of a new approach to build deep and sustainable collaborations. As of today, artists and companies working in live performance are invited to submit proposals for the paid opportunity. For more information and to submit a short application, please visit or for support with access requirements please contact .

The pilot year in 2021 will showcase a programme that connects new performance works (ready to be performed this summer and tour internationally), and new performance ideas (which will benefit from a residency opportunity), with international partners during the last two weeks in August. The consortium aims for a wide range of live performance to be represented in the showcase across fields such as theatre, dance, live art, circus, cabaret, ‘made for digital’ and work that straddles different artform approaches. Artists and companies considering the opportunity must apply before 11 May 2021, with outcomes being shared by the consortium in early June.

Moving forward from a year of mass cancellations, drastically reduced opportunities, and with creative freelancers now facing more restrictive and costly regulations for touring work, Horizon marks the development of a thrilling new collaborative model. Responding to the need for different and more flexible ways of thinking, the consortium has placed care, innovation and environmental sustainability at the heart of the showcase.

Planning is underway for multiple scenarios this summer. However, the core of the 2021 showcase will include both digital and in-person strands of performance, residencies, social events and conversations, while international colleagues will be supported to engage with the performances virtually. At the time of publishing the call out, the showcase events are being prepared to take place in multiple locations across England, and to connect virtually with the Edinburgh Festivals.

The consortium aims to enable a wide array of artists based in England to showcase their work to international presenters via the Edinburgh Festivals. They are focusing on removing a number of key barriers to engagement to support this. A new industry standard will be set for open and transparent conversations, including allocating resources towards access and the wellbeing needs of all participating artists and companies. Supported by a community of artists and associates, all performance makers in the showcase will work collaboratively, and will be encouraged to exchange ideas with international artists and partners.

The consortium partners are working with several established independent artists to help shape the showcase, including Project O (Alexandrina Hemsley, Jamila Johnson-Small), Javaad Alipoor, Kirsty Housley, Sonia Hughes and Renny O’Shea. Associate partners reflecting different specialisms and art form focuses will also have input into the process, including Akademi, ATC, Bush Theatre, Circus City, The Cocoa Butter Club and Unlimited.

Commissioned by Arts Council England, the Horizon showcase is being shaped and delivered by a consortium made up of Battersea Arts Centre, Dance4, Fierce, GIFT, MAYK and Transform.

Battersea Arts Centre:



Hannah Barnett Leveson, Press and Communications Manager, Battersea Arts Centre | 07894 905 414


ABOUT BATTERSEA ARTS CENTRE Battersea Arts Centre is a hub for everyone’s creativity. Based in an iconic building with a radical history, it supports people to take creative risks, to inspire change, locally, nationally, and globally.

Battersea Arts Centre is the world’s first Relaxed Venue, the first to have gone through Touretteshero’s Relaxed Venue method of identifying and dismantling the barriers faced by disabled people, striving to radically embed access and inclusivity across all its activities. In March 2021, Battersea Arts Centre introduced a new, universal Pay What You Can pricing model across the entire artistic programme, making its work financially accessible to everyone.

ABOUT DANCE4 Dance4 is an internationally recognised dance development organisation based in Nottingham, nurturing new ideas in choreography. With a unique voice in the UK dance sector, Dance4 supports international and UK artists to develop new ideas in choreography alongside the public as participants and makers. Dance4 produces Nottdance, a biennial festival celebrating new choreographic practices and leads on Dance from England, a project to develop new international opportunities for independent artists and producers.

ABOUT FIERCE Fierce is the West Midlands leading organisation for Live Art with a national and international reputation. Fierce produces the biennale Fierce Festival, with the 2019 edition described as a 'daring whirl of theatrical thrills' in The Guardian's five star review. Fierce transforms the city and the way we feel about it: populating theatres, galleries and hidden, unusual or out-of-the-ordinary spaces like disused warehouses, swimming pools and car parks. You might see theatre, dance, performance art, music, installations, activism and parties or a combination of all those things in a programme of memorable experiences and events. Fierce also produce a number of artist development programmes as well as notorious late night event series Club Fierce. Fierce is an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation.


GIFT: Gateshead International Festival of Theatre is North East England’s creative home for contemporary theatre. Placing artistic experimentation and collaboration at its core, GIFT’s annual three day festival offers a supportive platform for artists to come together and to push the boundaries of their practice. International in scope and interconnected in approach, GIFT is a carefully curated conversation, providing a meeting point for meaningful exchange between artists and audiences based in North East England and the wider world.

GIFT 2020 rapidly transposed into a virtual edition, and was recognised by the Guardian as a ‘virtual virtuoso delight’ that ‘moved ingeniously online’ (Wyver, K. 3 May 2020). Founded in 2011 by Festival Director Kate Craddock, in response to a gap in the regional cultural offer, GIFT is committed to presenting contemporary and experimental practices that otherwise wouldn’t be seen in North East England.

ABOUT MAYK MAYK is one of the country’s leading live performance producing organisations. Based in Bristol but working internationally, we create dynamic meeting points for participation in world-class live performance both in and out of traditional art spaces. Led by Kate Yedigaroff and Matthew Austin, MAYK was established in 2011 and continues to make a space for a holistic, long term approach to creating memorable experiences that are accessible to lots of people. MAYK curate and produce Mayfest, Bristol’s biennial international festival of contemporary theatre. Other recent projects include Still House’s SESSION, co-produced with LIFT, Caroline Williams and Reem Karssli’s Now Is The Time To Say Nothing and Verity Standen’s Undersong.

MAYK is an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation and a Bristol City Council Cultural Investment Partner.

ABOUT TRANSFORM Transform is an engine room for urgent, of the moment theatre. We are the creators of the biennial Transform festivals, citywide takeovers of powerful performance by UK and international artists. Focused on reimagining what theatre can look like and what it can do, we present theatre works everywhere from arts venues across Leeds, to city sites and outdoor spaces. Celebrating the independent and adventurous spirit of Leeds, we reflect the socially conscious and radical North, and connect to the world. Transform is led by Creative Director Amy Letman and was established as an independent company in 2015. Commissioning and producing credits include ‘The Believers Are But Brothers’ by Javaad Alipoor, ‘Idol’ by Jamal Gerald and guest programme ‘Spirit of Change’ for the Barbican. Transform leads the Creative Europe supported network ‘Festivals of the Future’ supporting founder and female led festivals across Europe. ‘Transform has changed the way audiences experience Leeds’ - The Guardian


Arts Council England is the national development agency for creativity and culture. We have set out our strategic vision in Let’s Create that by 2030 we want England to be a country in which the creativity of each of us is valued and given the chance to flourish and where everyone of us has access to a remarkable range of high quality cultural experiences. We invest public money from Government and The National Lottery to help support the sector and to deliver this vision.

Following the Covid-19 crisis, the Arts Council developed a £160 million Emergency Response Package, with nearly 90% coming from the National Lottery, for organisations and individuals needing support. We are also one of several bodies administering the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund, an unprecedented support package of £1.57 billion for the culture and heritage sector. Find out more at,uk/covid19



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