Media Release: Funding of over £400,000 announced helps support disabled artists to create ambitious and high-quality work

Wendy Hoose. Photograph by Eamonn McGoldrick

UNLIMITED today announced over £400,000 of funding to support 26 disabled artists across the UK to create ambitious work covering all genres.

Funded by the National Lottery through Arts Council England (ACE) and Creative Scotland (CS) and led by Shape and ArtsAdmin, the 2014 round of the programme aims to build on the successful legacy that was at the heart of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad, which celebrated the work of disabled artists on an unprecedented scale.

On making the decision to announce the awards in Scotland, Jo Verrent, senior producer, Unlimited said: “In 2012, Scotland stormed Unlimited with stunning work from Mark Brew, Caroline Bowditch, Claire Cunningham, Ramesh Meyyappan and Janice Parker. Why would we not want to announce the next round of Unlimited artists here?”

She added: “Scotland is vitally important for Unlimited. The exchange of work across the border provides a vital two way stretch. Work by disabled artists is blossoming here where their innovation, talent and skills are respected and appreciated by funders, the arts infrastructure and audiences alike. In England, we want to learn from this and ensure both nations get to see the very best work by the very best disabled artists each has produced.”

UNLIMITED will see the selected works staged in collaboration with arts venues and festivals across the UK. From Monday 1 – Sunday 7 September 2014, London’s Southbank Centre will once again present many of the Unlimited supported works in a high profile cross-art form festival. As well as staging works there will be a chance to share in some of the development of the R&D projects during the festival. Unlimited partners The British Council will help to broker international touring opportunities for supported works.

The nine major new works which will be supported are:

Commissions in Scotland include:

Dancer – Ian Johnston

A performance art work created by Ian Johnston, Gary Gardiner and Adrian Howells, Dancer is a gentle provocation on what it is to be a ‘dancer’. Ian and Gary both love to dance in public. Neither are trained dancers. Ian and Gary are two artists asking questions about visibility, opportunity and experiences; as well as sharing a few of their dances. Unlimited will support a tour of the work: £24,524 (Creative Scotland)

Wendy Hoose – Birds of Paradise Theatre Company

The creative forces of Birds of Paradise, Random Accomplice come together for the first time to bring audiences a frank and hilarious sex comedy – Wendy Hoose by Johnny McKnight. Directed by lead artist Robert Softley Gale and Johnny McKnight. Jake and Laura are two twenty year olds searching for love in all the wrong places! In the comedic

style of the production, Wendy Hoose includes audio description, BSL and animated surtitles. Unlimited will support a tour of the work: £32,500 (Creative Scotland).

Commissions in England include:

Edmund the Learned Pig – Fittings MultiMedia Arts

Based on an unpublished poem by Edward Gorey Edmund the Learned Pig is a magical theatre piece for children aged 8+ and families that fuses BSL sign language, puppets, Aerial-circus, deaf storytelling techniques, music and song. A co-production between Fittings MultiMedia Arts, Krazy Kat and The Royal Exchange Manchester, it features new songs by Martyn Jacques of The Tiger Lillies, script by Mike Kenny and a cast of deaf and disabled performers. Unlimited will support a tour of this work. £45,000 (ACE).

Exposure – Jo Bannon

Exposure investigates how we look, how we are looked at and if we can ever really be seen. An intimate one to one performance, it is a tender and tentative look into autobiography, asking how fully we reveal our self – to ourselves, to another, with another. Unlimited will support further touring of the work and the creation of three new short films to accompany it, made in collaboration with visually impaired artists, researchers and activists. £24,950 (ACE).

Let Me Stay – Vital Xposure

Let Me Stay is a tender and unique exploration of the impact of Alzheimer’s on family relations. Artist Julie McNamara has recorded her Mother’s songs and stories, filmed and photographed her in all her glory, over many years. The result is a compelling solo theatre performance, an extraordinary love letter straight from the heart welded with a wicked underlying humour. Unlimited will support additional touring of this new work. £23,993 (ACE).

Otherwise Unchanged – Owen Lowery

Otherwise Unchanged, published in December 2012, is Owen Lowery’s first major poetry collection, featuring poems on various formal and informal subjects including Lowery’s experience of hospitalisation and disability following a spinal injury, war, love, and a series of poems responding to work of Turner Prize nominee Dame Paula Rego. Unlimited will support a reading tour of Otherwise Unchanged. £34,000 (ACE).

RING THE CHANGES+ – Chisato Minaminura

RING THE CHANGES+ is an interactive dance performance created by London based deaf artist and former member of CandoCo Dance Company Chisato Minamimura. Choreographing what she calls ‘visual sound/music’, Chisato uses interactive technology to create an innovative sense experience for hearing and non-hearing audiences. Unlimited will support development of the piece into a full-length dance work and for the work to tour. £47,640 (ACE).

The Dinner Party Revisited – Katherine Araniello

In a twist on a 1920s comedy sketch in which an elderly woman hosts a celebration dinner for the friends she has outlived, live art performance, The Dinner Party Revisited, sees the artist play host to six television monitor ‘guests’, all played by Araniello. Their unscripted interactions with her live presence and her alcohol infused butler form a satirical and darkly comic take on some of the clichés around disability. Unlimited will support the development and presentation of the work: £38,550 (ACE).


Juan delGado’s immersive multi-screen installation explores ideas about urban territory, displacement and economy. Filmed at the Corabastos market in Bogotá, the work follows the journey that produce takes from its arrival before dawn to its consumption throughout most of the day in a variety of dishes at eating establishments across the social spectrum. Unlimited will support technical development and further presentations of the work: £45,845.85 (ACE).

In addition, 17 Research and Development awards will enable artists to develop new and ambitious works – a full description of awards is available on request. The artists receiving these awards are Sonia Allori, Richard Butchins, Nicola Canavan, Louise Coleman, Lea Cummings, Pete Edwards, Extant, Simon Fildes, Sheila Hill, Kazzum, Noëmi Lakmaier, Aidan Moseby, Ailís Ní Ríain, Bekki Perriman, Touretteshero, the vacuum cleaner & Aaron Williamson.

Robert Softley Gale, co-artistic director, Birds of Paradise Theatre Company, said: “Birds of Paradise are delighted to be part of Unlimited in 2014.The new creative triumvirate of Shona Rattray, Garry Robson and myself have been collaborating to bring exciting new work to the stage. It is a fantastic recognition that our premier production has been pleasing audiences in Scotland and will now be seen at the high-profile Southbank Festival in London.”

Katherine Araniello, performance and video artist, said: “This is fantastic news and I am so excited that many more people will get the chance to experience ‘The Dinner Party Revisited’. It’s an opportunity to share one of my strongest pieces of work that has the potential to reach a much wider audience.”

Alan Davey, chief executive, Arts Council England said: “Following on from the huge success of the Cultural Olympiad Unlimited programme in 2012, these latest set of commissions aim to build upon this legacy by developing further opportunities for deaf and disabled artists across the country.”

He added: “The Arts Council is proud to support a programme that facilitates such varied, collaborative, and pioneering work. This will no doubt encourage new partnerships and support the distribution of work via touring and digital means, enabling more people to see and experience great art.”

Leonie Bell, director of Arts and Engagement, Creative Scotland, said: “We are delighted to be supporting Unlimited again in Scotland, promoting established performers, encouraging emerging talent, and helping to change perceptions and attitudes of arts and disability. She added: “These artists will once again deliver an impressive programme of work, the scale and ambition of which will make an impact. There is growing national and international interest in the work of disabled artists from Scotland, and Unlimited continues to foster and promote this diversity of talent, at home and abroad. Congratulations each of the commissioned artists. I look forward to seeing their work.”

Wendy Martin, head of Performance and Dance at Southbank Centre and member of the Unlimited selection panel, said: “In 2012, Unlimited Festival was part of Southbank Centre’s celebration during the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Over 11 days audiences responded to the work of disabled artists with the same enthusiasm that they embraced the Paralympic athletes on the sporting field. Eighteen thousand people attended our program of free and ticketed events celebrating the talent of disabled artists. Unlimited captures the essence of Southbank Centre’s core belief in the potential of art for social change, and I am thrilled we are presenting Unlimited again in 2014. As a panel member, I was impressed by the quality of the work submitted, and I look forward to sharing another exciting festival with our audiences this September.”

Information, images, interviews contact:

Wendy Niblock on or +44 (0)7961 814834 /

Sam Scott Wood on 020 7247 5102 /


Unlimited is delivered by the disability-led arts charity, Shape, and arts producing organisation, Artsadmin, and funded by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and Creative Scotland. The programme supports disabled artists to develop their practice, forming new relationships and collaborations with producers, venues and promoters. It will increase distribution of the work (through touring, including international touring, and digital iterations) affording greater opportunities for audiences to see some of the very best work available from disabled artists right across the UK and internationally.

The selection panel included: Ruth Gould (artistic director, DadaFest and chair of the panel), Chenine Bhathena (senior cultural strategy officer, Greater London Authority), Cathy Mager (independent curator and event producer), Wendy Martin (head of Performance and Dance, Southbank Centre), Carole McFadden (programme manager, Theatre & Dance, British Council), Sarah Pickthall (independent coach, producer and artist), Marc Steene (executive director, Pallant House) and Aaron Williamson (independent artist).

Shape is a disability-led arts organisation working to improve access to culture for disabled people by developing opportunities for disabled artists, training cultural institutions to be more open to disabled people, and running participatory arts and development programmes.

Artsadmin is an arts lab for the 21st century, supporting the creation of new performance, site-specific and interdisciplinary work by the most talented and innovative artists through mentoring, development and producing support.

Senior producer, Jo Verrent, works in arts and culture at strategic levels with national agencies and on the ground with organisations and individuals embedding the belief that diversity adds texture, turning policy into real action. Jo is a Clore fellow, and has won both COSMOPOLITAN’s woman of achievement award and her village award for making jam. Jo is partially deaf and has tinnitus. She uses residual hearing, lip reading and sign language.

Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2010 and 2015, we will invest £1.9 billion of public money from government and an estimated £1.1 billion from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. We create international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and build trust between them worldwide. We work in more than 100 countries and our 7,000 staff – including 2,000 teachers – work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year teaching English, sharing the Arts and in education and society programmes.

Creative Scotland is the national organisation that funds and supports the development of Scotland’s arts, screen and creative industries. Creative Scotland has four objectives: to develop and sustain a thriving environment for the arts, screen and creative industries; to support excellence in artistic and creative practice; to improve access to and participation in, arts and creative activity; and to deliver our services efficiently and effectively. In 2013/14, we will distribute over £100m in funding provided by the Scottish Government and the National Lottery. For further information on Creative Scotland, please visit

Southbank Centre’s Unlimited Festival 1 – 7 September 2014

Southbank Centre is the UK’s largest arts centre, occupying a 21-acre site that sits in the midst of London’s most vibrant cultural quarter on the South Bank of the Thames. Unlimited, Southbank Centre’s festival of arts and culture by disabled artists, was first presented in September 2012 to coincide with the London Paralympic Games. For 2014, Southbank Centre will present an eclectic programme of free and ticketed events, exhibitions, workshops, participatory activities and platforms for discussion and debate. Together, the events put the spotlight on disabled artists, giving them space to present their work and share their practice.


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