From disability arts in Nepal to hip hop from Uganda

Coming up this spring… Find out what artists are up to around the world with the British Council

BOPRWANDA3Birds of Paradise delivers a workshop in Rwanda as part of the British Council's East Africa arts programme. This spring, the company is off to Nepal. Photo: Mairi Taylor

New opportunities for disabled artists in Kathmandu and hip hop in the UK with artists from Uganda – these are just some of the British Council theatre and dance projects taking place around the world over the next few months.

It’s an exciting time for theatre in Nepal, with the launch of the new Nepal International Theatre Festival in March. To coincide with the festival, the British Council is starting a series of new disability arts initiatives. We’re offering a new grant scheme enabling Nepalese theatremakers to collaborate with local disabled artists. The disabled-led, Glasgow-based theatre company Birds of Paradise (BOP) leads a workshop exploring inclusive practice. There's a series of events introducing signed performances to Kathmandu as part of the festival programme, and BOP helps the city’s arts infrastructure find new ways to support access for disabled audiences.

“In these initiatives, we're exploring how disability arts can play a more active role across theatre in Nepal,” says James Tyson, our Theatre and Dance Programme Manager for South Asia. "The idea came about when our Arts Manager for Nepal visited the Southbank Centre’s Unlimited Festival 2018. It’s part of a wider British Council arts and disability programme in South Asia, which has also included major projects in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka."

Mairi Taylor, Executive Producer at Birds of Paradise, explains what the company seeks to achieve: "The workshops will equip disabled and non-disabled practitioners with skills to co-devise work in an accessible manner. They're informed by BOP’s processes of devising, storytelling and movement which we have developed while creating accessible work in the UK. To do this we draw on our artistic practises and our knowledge of disability equality and artist development – but we always work responsively to the needs of a group." 

"We're exploring how disability arts can play a more active role across theatre in Nepal"

In London, audiences have the chance to see hip hop with a Ugandan influence, courtesy of Impact Dance (UK). They’re bringing artists from Uganda’s vibrant hip hop scene to work with local young people. Walter Ruva, Joana Nambalirwa and Hamza Pirimo (Uganda) collaborate with Kloe Dean (UK) and Ugandan hip hop ambassador Adbul ‘Abdanger’ Kinyenya, Artistic Director of Tabu Flo Dance Company.

There are two open sharings at The Yellow on 12 April, featuring 20 local 15–21-year-olds, and the Ugandan artists will also spend time getting to know the UK hip hop scene. For updates on the sharings and booking information, follow @ImpactDance1 on Twitter.

Meanwhile, UK companies continue to reap the benefits of being part of our Edinburgh Showcase 2017, with a number of tours on the horizon. There’s virtual reality theatre at the Hong Kong International Festival with Curious Directive’s  Frogman. Forced Entertainment tours experimental theatre to Brazil and Avant Garde Dance brings hip hop dance to Peru. Theatre Re sets off for the USA and Taiwan, fresh from performances in South Korea and Hong Kong. And Bertrand Lesca and Nasi Voutsas tour Palmyra to Australia’s Adelaide Festival, exploring revenge, destruction and the conflict in Syria.

The Edinburgh Showcase is the British Council’s platform of contemporary UK performance for an audience of international programmers, creating new opportunities for theatre and dance companies. In April, we’ll announce who’s in the 2019 main programme, so follow us on Twitter @UKTheatreDance or sign up to our newsletter to hear more.

These projects are all part of the British Council’s theatre and dance programme, which connects people in the UK and other countries though the power of art. See below for more news on our theatre and dance projects around the world, including our global celebration of the 30th anniversary of the web and a new initiative for South Asian arts in the UK.


See a snapshot of Impact Dance's visit to Uganda in early 2019 with the British Council.


Also coming up this spring:

  • Major arts and disability programme begins: Europe Beyond Access, a €4m project funded by Creative Europe, the British Council and partners in six countries, launched in February with an artistic residency in Germany. It continues with a conference in Poland and residencies in Serbia and Italy. The project will take place over four years, helping disabled artists in Europe to internationalise their artistic innovations and their careers.

  • Connecting cultural organisations: Transforming Narratives launches in Birmingham on 21 March. Funded by Arts Council England and the British Council, the programme aims to establish the city as a leading international centre for contemporary South Asian arts practice. The programme includes study visits, creative exchanges, residencies and collaborations between Birmingham, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

  • The web – past, present and future: Anyone//Anywhere, the British Council’s global programme celebrating the 30th anniversary of the web, launches in March and runs throughout 2019. Our first ever International Bursaries for Bloggers scheme runs as part of the programme, with three talented UK arts bloggers visiting Lagos, Romania and New York this spring to discover new arts communities. Plus keep an eye on our newsletter for announcements of UK performances you can watch online, wherever you are in the world, as part of our performance stream series.

  • Performance and politics in Manchester: Young artists, activists and programmers from Manchester, UK and São Paulo, Brazil get together on a residency hosted by Contact Theatre to explore performance and politics. Part of Quebradas, a British Council programme that seeks to develop cultural organisations and young leaders working with low-income communities in Brazil.

  • Applied theatre in Central Europe: How can theatremakers work with local marginalised groups? Dr Selina Busby of Central School of Speech and Drama (UK) visits the Czech Republic and Slovakia for workshops with theatre organisations. Part of People-to-People, a Foreign and Commonwealth Office funded programme that aims to improve opportunities and community cohesion in ex-industrial cities in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary.

  • Residency for South Asian theatremakers: Sri Lanka’s Floating Space Theatre hosts the second year of this British Council residency, which investigates democracy and citizenship, practice and research. The residency encourages dialogue between makers from different countries and increases opportunities for artist development.

  • Scotland-Europe funding awards announced: Following an open call, British Council Scotland and Creative Scotland are supporting 16 new projects that strengthen links between Scotland and Europe. Successful applicants include Cove Park, Feral Arts, Luke Pell, Rosana Cade and Ivor MacAskill, Starcatchers  and Take Me Somewhere festival.

  • Enormous in Japan: Inclusive dance company Stopgap (UK) tours The Enormous Room to three cities in Japan. And following a sell-out success at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe, Birds of Paradise tours My Left/Right Foot to Shizuoka. The Royal Court also leads its first ever workshop in Japan, part of a series to develop new Japanese plays with New National Theatre Tokyo. The workshop programme will be part of UK in Japan 2019–20, which runs alongside the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. Also as part of UK in Japan, British Council Scotland and Creative Scotland have announced £100,000 funding for 11 projects that will feature in the season.

  • Fearless in Bangladesh: 

    Dhaka Theatre is working with the British Council to produce Fearless, a performance exploring gender-based violence, working with outstanding artists with disabilities. It aims to support ambitious ideas by disabled artists, building a community of collaborators who will help to embed disabled-led art in the cultural sector and improve access. To be presented at WOW Dhaka 2019, as part of a partnership between the Southbank Centre’s WOW – Women of the World festival and the British Council in South Asia.

  • International roads lead to Hull: Arts professionals from Europe gather for IETM Hull in March to explore the reality of inclusion and see performances by UK companies. Performances include Us Against Anywhere, in which Middle Child Theatre works with Polish choreographer Adam Hadi to explore the UK and Poland in the wake of Brexit. The British Council has partnered this collaboration and the IETM event. We're also bringing visitors from the Baltics, Sri Lanka and a group of disability arts specialists from Europe.

  • Dance in Paris: Belfast-based contemporary dance artist Oona Doherty tours to Théâtre de la Bastille to perform Hard to be Soft and Lady Magma, with support along the way from Arts Council Northern Ireland, Belfast Festival, the MAC and the British Council.

  • UK in the USA: Performance artist FK Alexander is invited to be Artist in Residence and to perform at Fusebox Festival, USA. Producer Nick Anderson of The Sick of the Fringe also visits. Part of a relationship with Fusebox giving a platform to the next generation of UK artists and producers, and helping them to develop networks.

  • Touring to Egypt: Ant Hampton’s  Crazy But True is a participatory installation for children aged eight to 11. It tours to D-CAF festival, Cairo with workshops.

  • Border Tales in Palestine: Protein Dance (UK) performs Border Tales, a celebration of difference and a commentary on multicultural Britain, at the Ramallah Contemporary Dance Festival.

  • Visits Down Under: Dance programmers Freddie Opoku-Addaie (Dance Umbrella) and Maria Ryan (The Place) visit Dance Massive, Australia to discover new artists and build networks. Meanwhile, Gecko company members lead workshops at the Auckland Arts Festival, New Zealand.

  • Fatherhood in Ireland: Laurence Clark performs An Irresponsible Father’s Guide to Parenting at Galway Theatre Festival. Clark is a stand-up comedian and writer, and a key figure in Difference Matters, a consultancy company that promotes the social model of disability. The show was seen at the Southbank Centre’s Unlimited Festival 2018.


For more information on British Council arts events around the world, visit the relevant British Council country website. 


Find out more:

> Read an interview with Hakeem Onibudo of Impact Dance discussing his hip hop work in Venezuela

> Watch a video about Birds of Paradise reimagining Shakespeare's Tempest as a trial by TV

> See British Council opportunities for artists, practitioners and organisations

> Find international funding with our guide for UK creatives

> Get an overview of what we do in the British Council Theatre and Dance team



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