Groundbreaking film Performance Live: The Way Out gets BBC Four premiere


Battersea Arts Centre today announces the TV premiere of its brand new film, Performance Live: The Way Out. At this unprecedented time when the doors to our cultural institutions are closed, Performance Live: The Way Out offers an immersive journey through Battersea Arts Centre’s labyrinth of rooms and corridors, propelled by performances from extraordinary artists, filmed in one continuous, unbroken shot. The latest programme in the groundbreaking Performance Live commissioning series, The Way Out is part of BBC Arts’ current virtual arts festival, Culture in Quarantine, offering viewers access to a broad range of imaginative UK theatre and dance work at this time when many are confined to their homes. The Way Out premiers on BBC FOUR on Sunday 17 May, 11pm.

Performance Live: The Way Out showcases the true breadth of theatre and performance in the UK. Actor/ Comedian Omid Djalili (His Dark Materials, The Infidel) plays the enigmatic Guide, leading The Young Person played by Bláithín Mac Gabhann (Penance, Sally Rooney’s Normal People) on a journey where they discover performances devised by some of the most exciting, diverse artists working in the UK today: Lucy McCormick, Caleb Femi, Botis Seva, Le Gateau Chocolat, The Cocoa Butter Club, Sanah Ahsan, and Too Hot For Candy.

BAFTA-nominated Director Suri Krishnamma (A Respectable Trade, The Cazalets) uses a single camera to create the feel of an immersive theatrical performance. Using the latest technology to enable a single 42 minute take, in the tradition of seminal films such as Russian Ark (2002), Performance Live: The Way Out invites the viewer on a journey of surprise and unexpected discovery, revealing stories that move, provoke and entertain.

In a surreal, theatrical adventure, a young person escapes into a seemingly empty building at night and meets a mysterious guide who offers them an alternative way out.

Battersea Arts Centre’s building is also a protagonist in the film. With a long, proud, radical history, both as a Town Hall and as an arts venue with a track record of pushing the boundaries of performance, coupled with strong belief in the power of creativity – it is a fitting backdrop to a film that also pushes boundaries in terms of form and content.

The Way Out is directed and co-written by Suri Krishnamma and produced by Battersea Arts Centre, in partnership with Arts Council England and BBC Arts.

The Performance Live Collection

A partnership between Arts Council England, BBC Arts and Battersea Arts Centre, Performance Live is a risk-taking and pioneering strand of artist led programmes, opening up previously uncharted channels of collaboration between some of the UK’s most innovative artists working in live performance and in television today.

The Way Out marks Battersea Arts Centre’s commitment to supporting different voices and kinds of work (that are largely new to television) and to connect new audiences to the breadth of current performance making in the UK. Through Performance Live, bold and entertaining new work has been commissioned from artists previously unseen on prime-time television, its partnering arts organisations have been enriched with newfound production skills, and it has sparked new avenues for commissioning future projects.

The full Performance Live Collection of 12 films (previously broadcast between autumn 2016 and December 2019) is now available via the BBC iPlayer for an extended period, with work created by the following artists, companies and arts organisations: Kate Tempest; Young Vic + Paul Mason; Slung Low; Eggs Collective; Ross Sutherland; 20 Stories High + Contact Theatre Manchester; Wayne McGregor Studio + Robin Friend; Akala; Touretteshero; Tamasha; Hofesh Shechter; Alexander Zeldin + National Theatre.

The Way Out was first premiered on BBC iPlayer in April. You can watch the full collection here: