Programme announced for Tramway’s Unlimited Festival in Glasgow


Tramway’s Unlimited Festival, which runs from Thursday 15 to Sunday 25 September, features a breath-taking range of innovative dance, theatre, exhibitions, talks and events. Internationally acclaimed artists and exciting emerging talent from Scotland and across the world taking part includes Candoco Dance Company, Sheila Hill, Liz Carr, Marc Brew, Jack Dean, Claire Cunningham and Jess Curtis, Gary Gardiner and Ian Johnston, NCA Small Theatre, Cameron Morgan, Koji Nishioka, Makoto Okawa and Yasuyuki Ueno, Maki Yamazaki, Aaron Williamson, and Bekki Perriman.

Photograph of a performance of NCA Small Theatre's Hiraeth, a woman lies on a reflective stage, five more performers stand behind her, their heads cocked to one side.

Hiraeth, (c) NCA Small Theatre

The opening days of the festival will feature the world premiere of 43 percent, a dynamic new multi-media work by Gary Gardiner and Ian Johnston that explores the medical and social definitions of being human; and the Scottish premiere of The Way You Look (at me) Tonight from Tramway Associate Artist Claire Cunningham and Jess Curtis which combines movement, music and text to ask important questions about how we perceive each other.

Promotional photograph for Gary Gardiner and Ian Johnston's 43%, featuring pair standing on a street, one has his arm around the other, the other is holding a sign with the title of the work on it.

Gary Gardiner and Ian Johnston ‘s 43%. Photograph: 21st Century Challenges

The opening weekend continues with RSC and television actor Tim Barlow reflecting on life at 80 in a new collaborative work, HIM, from theatre maker Sheila Hill and photographer / videographer Hugo Glendenning.

The world premiere of MayBe, an international co-creation between Natalia Mallo and Gisele Calazans from Brazil and Glasgow-based Marc Brew, looks at how chance encounters can act of catalysts of possibility, including the possibilities of love and intimacy. Activist, actor and comedian Liz Carr explores a complex and controversial subject with the back drop of musical theatre in her new show Assisted Suicide, The Musical.

Hiraeth is presented by Armenia’s first integrated dance company bringing together disabled and non-disabled performers, NCA Small Theatre, who have collaborated to tell a story of the painful, yet remarkable journey of the Armenian people throughout their history.

The second weekend of the festival brings the contemporary dance company of disabled and non-disabled performers Candoco to Glasgow with a double bill, Counteracts, featuring commissions from two of the most exciting artistic talents working in the UK today, Hetain Patel’s Let’s Talk About Dis and Beheld by Alexander Whitley.

Promotional photgraph of Candoco Dance Company's Beheld featuring a silhoutted female dancer using crutches standing on her tip toes and arching her head backwards.

Candoco Dance Company’s Beheld. Photograph: Hugo Glendinning

Drawing on her experience as a person with albinism, Jo Bannon unpicks a tangle of stories: the stories we tell of ourselves and the stories told about us in Alba.

Ceramic slip cast telephones – ranging from ‘candlestick’ telephones of the 1880s to flip-top mobile phones from the 1990s – created by Cameron Morgan with Project Ability for the festival will be shown in a work titled Put your sweet lips closer to the phone.

Three Japanese artists will exhibit their work in the UK for the first time in a group exhibition of Japanese outsider art, Nama Āto, with Koji Nishioka’s intuitive black and white musical scores, Makoto Okawa’s colourful drawings and felt ‘Makoot’ dolls, and delicate drawings that challenge gender representation by Yasuyuki Ueno.

Glasgow-based multi-disciplinary artist Maki Yamazaki shows Pioneer [03], an interactive fiction computer game designed to exist beyond traditional gaming environments and that invites audiences to play as a non-white, disabled protagonist.

Interventions will be presented away from Tramway in city centre locations. In Demonstrating the World, Aaron Williamson enacts everyday tasks with detailed step-by-step instructions in the style of YouTube ‘how to’ videos, questioning the intuitive negotiation of even the most habitual activity.

Inspired by her experience of life on the street, Bekki Perriman’s sound installation The Doorways Project features a series of recorded monologues telling of the intimate, sometimes humorous, often disturbing and most ignored experiences of homeless people.

There will also be a Family Day on Sunday 25 September, bringing Tramway’s Unlimited Festival to a close.

Tramway’s Unlimited Festival is produced by Tramway and Glasgow Life and supported by Creative Scotland. The festival is a distinct part of the ongoing work throughout the UK and internationally of Unlimited – an arts commissioning programme delivered by Shape Arts and Artsadmin which offers talented disabled artists funds and mentoring support to develop, produce and show ambitious work. Works presented at Tramway’s Unlimited Festival include commissions from the Unlimited programme.

Koji Nishioka's drawing Untitled (Musical Score 16), a black and white music score in a doodly style

Koji Nishioka, Untitled (Musical Score 16)

Chair of Glasgow Life, Councillor Archie Graham, OBE, said:

“Tramway’s Unlimited Festival is one of this year’s must see events, packed with brilliant new work by internationally acclaimed and emerging disabled artists. With work from leading Glasgow-based choreographers among the highlights of the programme, the best in Scottish arts will be at the fore as we present a festival that celebrates, questions, and invites everyone to join us at Tramway this September.”

Jo Verrent, Senior Producer, Unlimited, said:

“It’s fantastic to have so many of our commissions feature in Tramway’s Unlimited Festival alongside other amazing pieces by disabled artists from across the globe. We’re looking forward to seeing the commissions discussed, shared, interrogated and celebrated through discussions and debate. I’m especially pleased to see the focus on emerging artists too – a real chance to shift the cultural sector across the whole of the UK by empowering a new generation of disabled makers and creators. I can’t wait!”

Leonie Bell, Director, Arts and Engagement, Creative Scotland, said: 

“The Tramway Unlimited Festival represents over six years of strategic support through UK and international partnerships that has taken advantage of large scale opportunities such as London 2012 and Glasgow 2014 in order to nurture, support and present work by some of the UK’s most ground-breaking artists.

“The Tramway Unlimited Festival presents us with a vibrant programme that aims to showcases amazing artistic ambition and shifts perceptions of disabled people. Scotland is renowned for its professional disabled artists and performers, many of whom are in demand internationally, with invitations to perform across Europe and in Brazil, India, Australia, Singapore and Korea.”

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