The largest ever celebration and exploration of disability arts and a major element within the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad, this initiative was realised by London 2012, the UK arts councils and the British Council, with the aim of creating a body of new high-quality and ambitious work by Deaf and disabled artists with the power to open doors and change minds.
All of the 29 Unlimited commissions were presented at the Southbank Centre as Unlimited: The Revelation Starts Here from 30 August – 9 September 2012, with a programme that spanned a diverse range of art forms including dance, visual arts, comedy, circus, music and theatre.
We invited an international delegation of practising artists and representatives from arts organisations, venues and ministries of culture to London to experience the Unlimited programme and take part in a series of talks and networking opportunities. We hope that by highlighting the Unlimited commissions to international promoters and programmers we will create opportunities for some of the UK’s most talented Deaf and disabled artists to take their work to new audiences around the world and make global connections.
We commissioned five international collaborations for the Unlimited programme:
Diverse City (UK) and APAE (Brazil)
A breathtaking outdoor performance of circus and dance telling the story of the Olympian god of wind, Aeolis, Breathe was an outdoor spectacle for the opening of the London 2012 Olympic Games on Weymouth beach. Created by three leading British disabled artists, Jamie Beddard, Dave Toole and Alex Bulmer, this Unlimited commission was performed by an outstanding and inspirational cast of 64 disabled and non-disabled performers from Dorset (The Remix and Double Act) and Brazil (APAE).
Performances took place on Weymouth Beach on 28 July and at the Southbank Centre from 31 August - 9 September 2012.
Boomba Down the Tyne
Featuring Lawnmowers (UK), Opaxoro Dance & Percussion Company, and Orquestra Sertao/Urucungo Association Point of Culture (Brazil)
Learning disabled artists were at the heart of this collaboration between Brazil and North East England. The Lawnmowers, together with various Brazilian artists and producers, created an inspirational large-scale performance for venues along the River Tyne which explored and celebrated northern culture and spirit.
Performances took place in Gateshead, Newcastle and London from 24 August - 2 September 2012.
The Impending Storm
David Toole, Lucy Hind (UK) and Remix Dance Company (South Africa)
Acclaimed dancer David Toole collaborated with a team of UK and South African artists, both able-bodied and disabled. Created with Birmingham-based artist Mark Storor, The Impending Storm is an explosive and emotional look at the stories that we tell, and the stories that we are. The dancers of Remix Dance Company, South Africa’s only professional integrated dance company, performed with UK-based David Toole and Lucy Hind. UK musician Dom Coyote, in collaboration with South African singer Sandile Gontsana, provided a passionate spoken text and sung score, which effortlessly crosses geographic and cultural continents.
Performances took place at the Southbank Centre, London on 7 - 8 September 2012.
The Dean Rodney Singers
Produced by Heart n Soul (UK) and featuring various artists from Brazil, China, Croatia, Germany, Japan and South Africa
Discover the world of The Dean Rodney Singers, a fantasy parallel world unlike anything you’ve ever encountered. Masterminded by Dean Rodney, a 22-year-old artist, rapper and musician, he enlisted the help of 72 band members made up of musicians, singers and dancers from seven countries across the world.
Working together online, the global band created new music, dance and video using cutting-edge web technology. Most significantly, they created 23 songs in a collaboration between the disabled and non-disabled band members. The installation is an interactive audio-visual treat that brings the world of The Dean Rodney Singers to life.
The interactive installation was at the Southbank Centre, London between 31 August - 9 September 2012.
Rachel Gadsden: Unlimited Global Alchemy
Featuring Rachel Gadsden (UK), Nondumiso Hlwele and the Bambanani Women’s Group (South Africa)
A project led by visual artist Rachel Gadsden in collaboration with South African artist and activist Nondumiso Hlwele and the Bambanani Women’s Group based in Khayelitsha Township near Cape Town. Over the course of a six-week residency in South Africa, a large number of drawings and paintings were created exploring issues of identity, survival in the face of chronic medical conditions and the politics of HIV.
The results of Gadsden’s unique collaboration with the Bambanani Group went on display at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Cambridge from 23 June – 18 August 2012.
The project finally culminated in a documentary film, an exhibition of the large-scale visual artworks at the Royal Festival Hall, and a performance co-directed by Gadsden and choreographer Athina Vahla, featuring performers Freddie Opoku-Addaie and Sarah Chin at the Southbank Centre.
The performance premiered at Southbank Centre, London on 5 September 2012 and the exhibition was on show from 31 August - 9 September 2012 at Royal Festival Hall, London.
Unlimited was principally funded by the National Lottery through the Olympic Lottery Distributor, and delivered in partnership between London 2012, Arts Council England, Creative Scotland, the Arts Council of Wales, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the British Council.
London, UK31st Aug 2012 - 9th Sep 2012
Weymouth, UK28th Jul 2012 - 28th Jul 2012
Gateshead, UK24th Aug 2012 - 27th Aug 2012
St. Mary's Square
Newcastle-Upon-Tyne25th Aug 2012 - 25th Aug 2012