UK artists travel to Edinburgh to build their careers

Tags: Festivals

Our Artist Development Programme helps artists from diverse backgrounds prepare to take work to the Edinburgh Fringe and connect internationally

Edinburgh fringe2

We're excited to announce the artists who will take part in this year's Artist Development Programme as part of the British Council's Edinburgh Showcase, alongside the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

This programme is a professional development opportunity aiming to encourage diversity in performing arts. It's open to UK-based artists who identify as disabled or BAME (black, Asian or minority ethnic) and who don't regularly work overseas. We received many outstanding applications and, together have selected eight talented artists to travel to Edinburgh.

The group will gain special access to the Edinburgh Showcase, our platform of UK performance for an audience of international promoters. They will see shows, to learn what works and what doesn't work in Edinburgh. They'll meet artists who have had successful runs at the Fringe, attend professional development sessions and meet international programmers. They'll also meet producers on the Emerging Producers Development Programme which we partner with the Fringe.

The 2017 Artist Development Programme artists are:

  • Laura Dajao, a dancer, choreographer, performer and teacher with particular interests in hip hop and cross-collaborative art who has worked with Sardines Dance Collective, Kaos Choir and Chisato Minamura

  • Sara Dos Santos, an independent movement artist and choreographer who aims to create social narrative theatre to raise awareness and inspire change through her practice, she is also former Artistic Director of East London Youth Company

  • Jamal Gerald, an artist who makes conversational, socially conscious work and whose first solo show was shown at SPILL, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Homotopia, Battersea Arts Centre and Queer Contact

  • Helen Hall, a choreographer and performer who responds to the environments around her as inspiration for creating work and who was selected for an Unlimited commission in 2017

  • Vicki Igbokwe, Creative Director and Choreographer at Uchenna Dance, who was Mass Movement Co-ordinator for the opening and closing ceremonies at the London 2012 Olympics

  • Asif Majid, an inter-disciplinarian who researches, teaches and performs at the intersection of conflict and performance and is currently pursuing a practice-based PhD at the University of Manchester

  • Lanre Malaolu, Independent Choreographer and Co-Artistic Director of Protocol Dance Company, which combines physical theatre and hip hop dance, and was recently selected to be an Artist in Residence at Oxford Playhouse

  • Cathy Waller, Artistic Director of Cathy Waller Company, which creates work for theatres and outdoors; Waller was also movement director for Graeae's The Solid Life of Sugar Water

"Insightful and inspiring"

We started the Artist Development Programme in 2015 and hope to run it every two years alongside the Edinburgh Showcase. "For some time, our Theatre and Dance team has been frustrated by the lack of diversity in our Edinburgh Showcase," says Nadine Patel of the British Council. 

“Talking to artists from diverse backgrounds, we’ve found that it can be hard for them to gain practical knowledge about taking work to Edinburgh and many aren’t sure whether the financial investment is worth it. Some people also assume the British Council isn’t for them. We hope our Artist Development Programme will help to change this.”

 “It was so insightful and inspirational to see the work of other artists and hear the thinking behind some of the decisions that affect programming,” says dance artist Seeta Patel, who took part in 2015.

This year's selection panel included Anne-Marie Crowther, Director of PANDA (Performing Arts Network and Development Agency) and Natalie Ibu, Artistic Director of Tiata Fahodzi. They were joined by three British Council Theatre and Dance Programme Managers: Steven Brett, Nadine Patel and James Tyson.

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