2012 Cultural Olympiad commissions Welsh Artists

Welsh artist Chris Tally Evans and theatre group The Llanarth Group awarded first commissions for the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad project Unlimited – the UK’s largest programme celebrating arts, culture and sport by disabled and deaf people

Over £400,000 committed to the first 10 commissions from the unprecedented three-year programme to create new work for the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad.

Welsh artist Chris Tally Evans and Ceredigion based theatre group The Llanarth Group have been awarded two of the ten commissions for the first round of Unlimited, the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad project. Unlimited, delivered in partnership between London 2012 and Arts Council of Wales, will celebrate disability, arts, culture and sport on an unprecedented scale and is set to transform the disability arts movement in the UK. In this round over £400,000 of funding has been awarded to 10 commissions across the UK.

Chris Tally Evans’ Personal Best will be a nationwide community storytelling project focusing on those turning points in our lives when we realise what we can become – unique. The resulting tales of hard-won battles and personal triumphs will become a life-affirming online resource and audio soundscape, which can be downloaded or broadcast in a variety of public spaces across the UK. This will ultimately lead to a touring installation and series of interactive workshops for young people exploring the theme of inspiration, role models and turning points in people’s lives.

The ‘d’ Monologues by The Llanarth Group will be a dramatic collection of monologues for Deaf and disabled performers, inspired by the stories and experiences of disabled and Deaf individuals across the whole of the UK. The lead artist, Kaite O’Reilly hopes to produce a body of work that will address the dearth of pieces written from a disability perspective, and parts written for disabled performers. The ‘d’ Monologues will be performed in venues in Wales and across the UK.

Unlimited encourages collaborations and partnerships between disability arts organisations, disabled and deaf artists, producers, and mainstream organisations to celebrate the inspiration of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and produce work like never before.

Applications for the second round of commissions are now welcomed from disabled and deaf artists or disability arts groups wishing to create high quality work to form part of high profile showcase events across the UK. Further information on the application process can be found at www.london2012.com/unlimited.

Nick Capaldi, Chief Executive, Arts Council of Wales said: “I am delighted that our Welsh artists have been awarded commissions for the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad project Unlimited. Their projects will offer an important showcase allowing them to celebrate the creativity and imagination of disabled artists. The unprecedented scale of the Unlimited project also means that their work will be given the kind of national and international prominence that it deserves. Unlimited is an opportunity like no other for an extraordinary programme of art, performance and spectacle – a chance to speak to the world about the quality of what we do.”

Ruth Mackenzie, Director of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad, said: “These are my first commissions since I started work for the Cultural Olympiad Board and I am proud to be working on a festival which will be offering more commissioning for disabled artists than any Cultural Olympiad and festival anywhere in the world. This is a chance to change the way work by disabled artists is perceived and enjoyed round the world, and we are thrilled to have such exciting commissions to get the programme started.”

Chris Tally Evans said: “This Unlimited commission gives me an unprecedented opportunity to explore my passion for people and their stories and weave them into an inspirational tapestry to touch the lives of many others.”

Phillip Zarrilli, Artistic Director of THE LLANARTH GROUP, said: “The selection of The ‘d ‘Monologues as part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad is a tremendously exciting opportunity. It will further playwright Kaite O’Reilly’s ground-breaking work with alternative dramaturgies informed by a deaf and disability perspective and will allow many new voices, young and old, to reach diverse audiences throughout the UK.”

Moira Sinclair, Executive Director, Arts Council England, London said: “Unlimited Commissions will bring projects by some of our leading disabled and deaf artists to new audiences across the UK in the run up to London 2012, showcasing their work on a world stage. We hope that the Commissions will leave the legacy of a strengthened sector long beyond the Games, and we wish all the artists the very best as they develop their work in the coming months.”

Unlimited Commissions is a commissioning fund of £1.5m for new work which is believed to be the largest single investment in creative work by disabled artists. The second half of the Unlimited programme will provide support to artists to develop their talent and skills and present their work to audiences in the UK and abroad. Through Unlimited Talent there will be resources and training to foster young talent and develop skills across the sector, forging new partnerships between disability and mainstream arts organisations. Unlimited International will support collaboration between the artists in the UK and other countries, showcase new work around the world, and promote a global debate amongst young people about disability rights.

The project is principally funded by the Olympic Lottery Distributor, and is delivered in partnership between London 2012, Arts Council England, the Scottish Arts Council, Arts Council of Wales, Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the British Council.

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