The season will feature experiments into the future of digital and co-created performance.
Battersea Arts Centre is extending an invitation to Make/Love this autumn, today announcing an ambitious season of daring and intimate work. At a time when connecting people has never been more important, Make/Love asks how we can re-imagine a future with care and creativity as the guidelines. For ticketed events, booking for BAC members is now open. Booking for the general public will be available from 12 noon on 1 October 2020 via bac.org.uk.
Make/Love builds on the work BAC has continued to do to support local and national artists and communities, despite temporarily shutting its doors in March. Acknowledging that everyone has been affected by the global pandemic in different ways, BAC keeps listening and adapting to the changing needs of its audience and neighbours.
BAC will continue to push the boundaries of digital performance, beginning journeys with innovative artists Brian Lobel and Joon Lynn Goh (Sex with Cancer) and Robert Softley-Gale (Come to Bed With Me) on two interactive new works that encourage us to reexamine our relationships with our bodies, and our differing perceptions of what they can do. What If…? A live reality show! follows artists Hunt & Darton, emerging producer Lorra Videv and Hadas Hagos, CEO of local surplus food sharing charity Waste Not Want Not Battersea, as they invite the cameras in to capture an ambitious experiment in co-creation. Talented young artists and activists, from around the world to our locally based BAC Agents, takeover BAC’s digital and social media channels and exclaim We Will Still Breathe in response to the Black Lives Matter movement and global unrest. The event will be co-curated by dramaturg Tunde Adefioye and will include a special preview screening of new documentary short, I Still Breathe (PROJECTSIXTY4 and Modern Films) directed by Alfred George Bailey with creative partners Tavaziva Dance.
BAC will present Live from the Grand Hall; join friends, family and hundreds of other spectators to be swept into BAC’s stunning auditorium and enjoy uplifting comedy and music acts live-streamed throughout the autumn. The entertaining line-up will include musician, novelist and spoken word artist Anthony Joseph, marking the first collaboration with EFG London Jazz Festival; Liverpool’s fearless rock gang The Mysterines presented by The Close Encounter Club and Gigwise; female-led improv troupe Yes Queens; The Friday Show, an expertly curated mixed bill of diverse talent from Berk’s Nest; and a raucous night in with The LOL Word’s Big Online Gayla.
Completing the digital season, BAC presents SESSION: The Documentary, a celebration of the Still House, Steppaz and Empire Sounds collaboration celebrating community, youth and belonging; and the digital premier of movement film Don’t Wait, from Lanre Malaolu and Regé-Jean Page, musically charting a young Black man’s path out of the bindings of grief, to finding a love worth fighting for.
BAC continues to champion diverse artists and new voices, supporting the UK’s first national, digital, Migrants in Theatre Town Hall, to increase the representation of migrant artists in UK theatre. Responding to this period of vulnerability and uncertainty, BAC extends support to freelance artists and creative people in the form of a free, no-strings attached, hour-long 1:1 Creative Surgery with a member of the producing & programming team.
Following the launch in February of BAC as the world’s first Relaxed Venue, a pioneering initiative created with Touretteshero, BAC is committed to removing barriers that disable people. In the Make/Love season, this includes offering captioning, BSL interpretation and audio description where possible, and pre-show information will be made available for every booking. All the events will be made available at affordable prices or for free.
Tarek Iskander, Artistic Director and CEO of Battersea Arts Centre, introduces the season:
“At this moment of worldwide crisis we all need to step up and do our bit. For BAC, we’re focusing on continuing to MAKE artistic work in this time in whatever ways we can. Our response to the pandemic is to keep empowering artists, young people and communities to be creative in this moment of incredible hardship. Together they can help us envision a better future.
This season is also about radiating some LOVE into the world. We must push forward together and use our collective artistic creativity to reimagine our communities in ways that support all of us, not just some, to thrive. And it’s the essential, playful, messy, mischievous kinds of interactions that you’ll find in this season…I believe these are the best ways for us to establish a more just future for everyone.”
MAKE/ LOVE SEASON HIGHLIGHTS:
Battersea Arts Centre’s Make/Love season will feature experiments into the future of digital and co-created performance, responding to this moment of collective crisis and restrictions with creativity and care as guidelines
Booking for members is now open. Tickets for the general public, with no ticket more than £10, will be on sale from 1 October at 12 noon via bac.org.uk
Audience-participants to collaborate in new interactive works from innovative artists Brian Lobel and Joon Lynn Goh (Sex with Cancer, from November), Robert Softley-Gale and Birds of Paradise (Come to Bed With Me, 26 October – 1 November) for intimate, safe and playful conversations
Live from the Grand Hall (16 October – 20 November) offers an entertaining line-up of uplifting music and comedy; including the first partnership with EFG London Jazz Festival, cult-indie experience The Close Encounter Club; female-led improv troupe Yes Queens, an expertly curated mixed bill of diverse talent in The Friday Show from Berk’s Nest; and a raucous night in with The LOL Word’s Big Online Gayla
Talented young artists and activists across the world respond to the Black Lives Matter movement, radical protest and moving forward in We Will Still Breathe (23 October); a takeover of talks, artist installations, an album launch and headliner I Still Breathe (PROJECTSIXTY4 and Modern Films), a powerful new documentary short directed by Alfred George Bailey with creative partners Tavaziva Dance, filmed in BAC’s Grand Hall
BAC have brought together artists and the local community in What If…?: A live reality show!. Viewers can check in every week (October and November) to watch entertaining, behind-the-scenes style episodes of an unfolding collaboration. Participants will work together to discover how creative practice can inspire positive social change. They decide the outcome, the only rule is they must be equal at all times
Committed to supporting diverse artists and platforming new voices, BAC will also:
> Present SESSION: The Documentary, a celebration of the Still House, Steppaz and Empire Sounds collaboration celebrating community, youth and belonging
> Present the digital premier of movement film Don’t Wait, from Lanre Malaolu and Regé-Jean Page, musically charting a young Black man’s path out of the bindings of grief, to finding a love worth fighting for
> Support the UK’s first national, digital, Migrants in Theatre Town Hall, to increase the representation of migrant theatre artists in UK theatre
> Offer practical support for artists interested in an hour-long 1:1 Creative Surgery with a member of the producing & programming team
MAKE/LOVE: September – November 2020
What If…? A live reality show!
Durational, October – November, Free
New episodes released on Thursdays in October and November
Autumn also sees BAC embark upon an ambitious experiment, with the outcome entirely out of its hands. What if… all creative decision-making is put in the hands of a local community group in partnership with artists? The only rule is they need to be equal at all times. What If…? is a fascinating, behind-the-scenes ‘live reality show’ – where Bake Off meets Gareth Malone’s The Choir. Or not quite Bake Off and not quite The Choir but something like that, or maybe not like that..its up to them.
Local Battersea organiser Hadas Hagos, CEO of local surplus food sharing charity Waste Not Want Not Battersea, will introduce established public performance-centric artists Hunt & Darton (Radio Local, Hunt & Darton Café) to the community she is deeply embedded in. Taking conversation as a starting point they will establish a smart, fun, relevant idea and creative process to respond to a key need raised by the community.
BAC is supporting local emerging producer Lorra Videv to capture the partnership on film, so viewers can check in every week to follow the sparks of ambitious new ideas, sharing of unique expertise, moments of true humanity and the unveiling of the final outcome…whatever that may be. New episodes will be released every Thursday.
SESSION: The Documentary
30 September – 4 October, Free
Originally programmed to run in the Grand Hall this summer, BAC is honoured to kick off the Make//Love season by instead presenting the final week of SESSION: The Documentary, a celebratory and moving record of the impact of SESSION; the Still House, Steppaz and Empire Sounds collaboration which toured the UK in 2018-19.
SESSION is a dance party, gig and social. Led by an ensemble of young dancers moving across hip hop, contemporary folk and Afrobeats, SESSION celebrates community, youth and belonging. The film intersperses backstage footage, cast and creative team interviews and performance capture from the LIFT 2018 shows at Bernie Grant Arts Centre, Tottenham. Available to watch here
SESSION is a LIFT Tottenham original. Co-commissioned by LIFT, Attenborough centre for Creative Arts, Bristol Old Vic Ferment, Pavilion Dance South West and Théâtre National de Bretagne.
SESSION is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. LIFT Tottenham is supported by Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Jerwood Charitable Foundation, Foyle Foundation, Austin and Hope Pilkington Trust.
Tour Produced by MAYK in association with LIFT. National tour supported by Garfield Weston Foundation.
Live from the Grand Hall: Music & Comedy
16 October – 20 November, £10
Since July, BAC has trialed outdoor performances for limited in-person audiences under the umbrella of Comedy in the Courtyard (booking until 4 October). Building on the tremendously positive feedback from audiences for much needed light relief, Live from the Grand Hall will offer a series of uplifting of live(streamed) music and comedy gigs to many more audience members at home.
The Friday Show – Live from the Grand Hall
16 October, 7.30pm
Recommended age: 16+
Award-winning comedy production company Berk’s Nest return to Battersea Arts Centre, with an edition of The Friday Show beamed directly into your homes, live from BAC’s beautiful Grand Hall.
– Rosie Jones (Live At The Apollo, The Last Leg, Harry Hill’s Clubnite)
– Kemah Bob (Jonathan Ross’ Comedy Club, The Paddock)
& many more still to be announced.
Expect to see TV faces, critically acclaimed award winners, and your next new favourite stand-up, all wrapped up in one perfect Friday night out – and there’s no reason to leave your sofa!
*Line-up subject to change
The Close Encounter Club – Live from the Grand Hall
17 October, 7.30pm
Indie-cult experience The Close Encounter Club and Gigwise present Liverpool’s fearless rock band The Mysterines, plus support (tba). The grooviest music venue in the galaxy passes back through BAC, after the recent success of 2020’s LIVE IN ORBIT online series and 2019’s sold out shows and festival appearances.
Yes Queens – Live from the Grand Hall
18 October, 7.30pm
Grab your weekend by the crown jewels and say yes to a raucous night of improvised comedy and music with the women ruling the impro scene!
Yes Queens is the West End’s first female led improvised comedy night filled with Olivier Award-winning talent from Showstopper, Mischief Theatre, Austentatious and more.
The LOL Word: Big Online Gayla – Live from the Grand Hall
18 November, 7.30pm
Recommended age: 16+
Award-winning collective The LOL Word will take their hilarious, inclusive queer comedy nights online for the first time with a supercharged line up of LGBTQ+ women and non-binary talent, streamed from BAC’s Grand Hall.
This special “gayla” (that’s gay for ‘gala’, to the straights out there) is a one-off special event with a bumper line up and professional two-camera stream, beaming the show to queers and allies across the country.
The LOL Word is presented by Chloe Petts, Jodie Mitchell, Chloe Green and sketch duo Shelf, with fresh new guests every time.
Previous guests at The LOL Word include Suzi Ruffell, Sofie Hagen, Rosie Jones, Sophie Duker, Sarah Keyworth, Fern Brady, Kemah Bob, and Catherine Bohart.
Founded by best mates and rising stars, The LOL Word serves up a tasty mixed bill of new and established queer women and non-binary stand-up and sketch comedy talent. They’re tearing up the rule book and reinventing the comedy club with jokes that won’t make you hate the world (no sexism, racism, transphobia, classism etc). There’s no punching down, but plenty of punching the patriarchy.
Anthony Joseph – Live from the Grand Hall
20 November, 7.30pm
Anthony Joseph is an award winning Trinidad-born poet, novelist, academic and spoken word artist. He is the author of four collections of poetry and three novels. As a musician he has released seven critically acclaimed albums which blend poetry with jazz and Caribbean music. His show at the EFG London Jazz Festival 2020 features the premiere UK performance of his forthcoming album, The Rich Are Only Defeated When Running For Their Lives, due in Spring 20201.
Jason Yarde – Saxophone/ Keys
Denys Baptiste – Saxophones
Andrew John – Bass
Thibault Remy – Guitar
Rod Youngs – Drums
Crispin Robinson – Percussion
We Will Still Breathe
23 October, Donations invited to Black Lives Matter UK
Age recommendation: 12+
We Will Still Breathe is a full-day takeover of BAC from artists around the world responding to the Black Lives Matter movement, reactionary protests sweeping the globe and how we move forward for a more just and equal future. The line up is co-curated by Tunde Adefioye (City Dramaturg at KVS, The Brussels City Theatre) and will include talks, artist installations, film screenings and showcasing work from The Agency, BAC’s flagship co-creation project supporting young people’s social entrepreneurship.
The headline event will be a Q&A and limited preview screening of I Still Breathe (PROJECTSIXTY4 and Modern Films), a powerful new documentary short created by local filmmaker Alfred George Bailey with creative partners Tavaziva Dance and heavily featuring two of BAC’s Agents, Dulcie Usher and Isatou Ceesay. Bailey found the energy and profound beauty of the Grand Hall to be the ideal backdrop to shoot the powerful film this summer; a safe space for the extraordinary and deeply emotional testimonies of a group of astute young people to speak, un-inhibited, about systemic racism, sexism, violence, both here and in America, and their plans to build a brighter future. Limited tickets for the screening will be available via early sign up at bac.org.uk
Earlier in the day there will be events including a panel (Acknowledge, Transform, Advance) connecting artists in the UK, Europe and America and chaired by Tunde Adefioye; Agent Teasha Louis-D (Creative Director of #WhatWeWant) will present an exclusive episode of Undefined Fluidity – a new podcast covering identity and self-expression for the LGBTQIA and QTIPOC community; Agent Prince Agyei will premier several tracks from his new album ViZion, – a multi-genre collection of stories written and performed by artists and residents connected to Wandsworth; and social enterprise UnrestrictedLDN (founded by Agent Danielle Honger) will debut their summer zine in physical form – Respect Me will feature photography, artwork and poetry around themes of self-care, sisterhood and self-reflection.
Come to Bed With Me
26 October – 1 November, 9-10pm, Free
BSL interpreted, captioned and audio described
Age recommendation: 18+
Experimenting with form during this period of separation from live theatre, BAC presents the world premier of Come to Bed With Me, a co-production with world class disability-led Birds of Paradise Theatre Company in which a small audience interacts with Artistic Director of BOP Robert Softley Gale (My Left/Right Foot – The Musical, Purposeless Movements, If These Spasms Could Speak) in a conversation and exploration of our rituals as we transition from day to night through the intimate lens of his nightly routine. A shared experience, bedroom to bedroom, until…. Lights out.
“Come get ready for bed with me. From your bedroom to mine – sharing our intimate spaces and personal moments. We might talk about what’s there and what’s not there – what’s missing. Listen, watch, talk, move with me… it’s up to you.”
Robert is a disabled performer – he is used to being looked at and to being asked all sorts of questions. Tonight he’s inviting you in – join him and other guests.
Bedrooms are our private spaces that only certain people are allowed to see and fewer still are permitted to occupy. Come to Bed With Me is an invitation to share in moments that are new and real – to exchange with people who might not look or move as you do.
Created by Robert Softley Gale, Rachel Drazek and Mairi Taylor for BOP, a force for change in Scottish theatre. BOP has a unique vision that presents disability as an opportunity to explore untold stories and takes a unique approach to the delivery of these stories by pioneering a radical dramatic language that explores the ‘aesthetic of access’.
Limited numbers. To participate in one of the seven performance events, register at bac.org.uk
Sex with Cancer
Performances from November, Free
Age recommendation: 16+
@blobelwarming @joonlynngoh #SexWithCancer
Sex with Cancer is an instruction-based experience which confronts the harmful barriers and negative attitudes around illness and intimacy. In the tradition of BAC’s long history with 1:1 performances, each participant will follow a guide through their unique, interactive journey. In a safe and responsive online space, the experience will encourage cancer patients and their partners to reflect on their own experiences and explore new supportive, playful and unconventional approaches to re-think what it means to live with cancer. In this moment of crisis, illness and trauma, where we are healthier at a ‘social distance’, Sex with Cancer aims to reinvigorate deeply important conversations about illness with touch, safe and healthy sex, and above all, connection and care.
Created by artists Brian Lobel (A Pacifist’s Guide to the War on Cancer, Fun with Cancer Patients) and Joon Lynn Goh (Asia Art Activism, Migrants in Culture), Sex with Cancer is an ongoing project, developed in dialogue with a Steering Group of community activists, creative thinkers and professionals across sex, sexual health and cancer care. These performances will form the early steps of a larger vision to launch the world’s first sex shop owned and run by people living with and beyond cancer.
Co-commissioned by Battersea Arts Centre, Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts, Contact and
Wunderbar. In partnership with Sh! Supported by Arts Council England
1-3 November, Free
@LanreMalaolu @regejean #DontWaitFilm
BAC will also present the digital premier of Don’t Wait, a short movement film from award-winning director/ choreographer Lanre Malaolu (Pass Over, The Conversation, The Circle) and acclaimed performer/musician Regé-Jean Page (Roots, Mortal Engines, For The People). Born of the summer of 2020’s global eruption of Black activism, Don’t Wait reflects a personal journey. Embodied by dancer Joshua Nash’s (Blacklist) extraordinarily sensitive performance, it beats a path through grief to re-discovering and defending life’s intrinsic celebration. Page composed and performed the soundtrack to the film, with his brother under their shared pseudonym ‘TUNYA’. The film will be available to watch here.
Further BAC activity this Autumn
Migrants in Theatre Town Hall
16 October, 1-3pm, Free
Captioned & BSL Interpreted
As part of a commitment to supporting diverse artists and platforming new voices, BAC will support the first, digital, Migrants in Theatre Town Hall together with partner organisations across the UK.
Migrants in Theatre (MiT) is a nationwide movement campaigning for more and better representation of first generation migrant theatre artists and companies based in the UK. Marking the first in a series of town hall meetings to take place in different parts of the UK, Artistic Directors from Actors Touring Company, Battersea Arts Centre, Gate Theatre, LIFT, New Diorama Theatre, Royal Court, and Young Vic will join migrant theatre makers from actors, directors, set designers and playwrights, to stage managers, arts administrators and board members. The first event will be facilitated and chaired by director, writer and dramaturg Anthony Simpson-Pike (The Ridiculous Darkness) and producer, theatre facilitator and director Lora Krasteva (Global Voices Theatre Director and Executive Producer at With One Voice).
The town hall meetings are envisaged as an introduction to the MiT movement, linking migrant artists with their local venues, and as a way to start important conversations about the issues migrant/foreign born/International Artists face working in UK theatre. There will also be time for the partner organisations to ask questions and to engage in a facilitated, open floor discussion with registered participants.
To register or for more information please visit http://bit.ly/MiTLondonTownHall
1:1 Creative Surgery
October – December, Free
In a recent BECTU poll, 97% of creative freelancers said they were unhappy with the financial relief made available by the government since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Despite being the life force of the creative industries, thousands of freelancers and artists across the UK have been neglected in this time.
BAC is dedicated to continue to support creative artists through these uncertain and ever changing times, and will be scratching no-strings attached, one-off Producing support, delivered via a 1:1 meeting with a member of the programming and producing teams this autumn. This is not for pitching projects, but an offer of practical support with elements like funding applications, co-creation, budgeting, risk assessments, re-thinking work for a digital world and accessibility.
BAC will work to allocate an hour on a first come first served basis. The meeting will take place over zoom, with the right person from the team to provide the best support. For more information, visit bac.org.uk. To apply, artists should send a brief paragraph of what support is needed to