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. When using a laptop, there’s a chance to have the best scanner for your artworks and it can improve the performance of the work.
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.