Arts Council England and Manchester International Festival to showcase work by Inua Ellams and Javaad Alipoor

Manchester International Festival, Arts Council England and The Public Theater will showcase work by Inua Ellams and Javaad Alipoor at The Public’s Under The Radar Festival (6-17 January 2021), as part of a three-year partnership, that began last year, to promote artists and companies based in England to a global audience.

Under The Radar supports artists who are at the vanguard of theatre and performance practice, redefining and refreshing it. As an internationally significant festival, it has become an important meeting place for presenters and curators from across the world and an important platform for artists seeking touring opportunities. This year, for the first time, it will be free and online, further expanding the reach and access of cutting-edge performance to world-wide audiences.

Inua Ellams writer of international hit Barber Shop Chronicles will present Borders & Crossings a new work in development about migration produced by Fuel (7-10 Jan) and Javaad Alipoor best known for his works incorporating real-time mobile technology, will present an online version of his acclaimed Rich Kids: A History of Shopping Malls in Tehran (7-17 Jan).

The partnership is part of MIF’s commitment to nurturing the careers of artists as it heads towards the opening of The Factory, the world-class arts space being developed in Manchester that will be its future home. As well as selecting the artists for inclusion in Under The Radar, MIF will provide additional support such as mentoring and networking to help maximise the opportunities of showcasing their work at a major international festival.

At last year’s festival, MIF and ACE showcased work by Lucy McCormick, Jess Thom and Selina Thompson as part of the partnership. MIF also promoted and supported the work of Inua Ellams, Javaad Alipoor and Rachel Mars at the Under The Radar symposium.

Mark Ball, Creative Director at Manchester International Festival said “Creating international opportunities for artists to share their work beyond Manchester has always been a vital part of what we do at MIF, as it will continue to be at The Factory. Reimagining how to do that in the teeth of a global pandemic has become an urgent priority and working with Under The Radar to create an online opportunity for Inua and Javaad to share their work to an audience that includes international bookers and presenters is part of that response. The works are live experiences that speak to truly global issues and we’re proud to be supporting them both.”

Mark Russell, director of the Under The Radar Festival said “The Public Theater is very proud to be a part of this unique collaboration with the Manchester International Festival and the Arts Council England. This initiative gives an important international platform to a new generation of artists that Americans and the rest of the world should know about. With Inua Ellams and Javaad Alipoor bringing their works to UTR 2021 through this partnership, we are eager to share these artists with audiences around the globe through our entirely free festival this January.”

Simon Mellor, Deputy Chief Executive at Arts Council England said “I’m delighted that Under the Radar is going ahead in January and that it will feature an online programme from some outstanding artists based in England. After a year when so many in the arts and cultural sector have faced such challenges – not least in working internationally – it’s great that the Manchester International Festival has been able to work with the team at The Public Theater in New York to offer this global platform to some of our country’s most talented artists. Like many others, I hope that the 2021 edition of Under the Radar marks the start of a year that brings audiences and artists from around the world back to gather again in face to face contact to celebrate the transformational power of arts and culture.

Inua Ellams said “I am pleased to present Borders & Crossings as part of Under The Radar 2021 with the invaluable support of MIF and ACE. The show places multiple works of mine, together for the first time, specifically for this new international context. I’m curious to discover how it will be received and the conversations it will provoke. The stories are about migration and this opportunity, to connect with a global audience now feels particularly meaningful and perfect.”

Javaad Alipoor said “I’m delighted to continue the relationship with Under the Radar and to present the digital version of Rich Kids: A History of Shopping Malls in Tehran at the 2021 Festival. As an artist whose work is international in scope, it feels more important than ever to keep these channels of artistic collaboration wide open, and I can’t wait to find out how New York and international audiences respond to it.

Following Under The Radar’s Professional Symposium, MIF and ACE will also host an exclusive adaptation of 2017 MIF commission Party Skills for the End of the World for Symposium attendees. Initially presented as a live show at MIF17, and in a new digital iteration as part of MIF’s free online programme during lockdown, Nigel Barrett and Louise Mari from the pioneering cult performance collective Shunt have created a new updated version for the digital reception.

The partnership runs until 2023 with selected artists for that edition announced in due course.

About Author /

Kath is an actor, singer and writer with a passion for theatre. She has been reviewing for At The Theatre since 2014. Kath has a Masters in Performance at Liverpool Hope University and is Creative Engagement Worker for B arts, a participatory arts organisation.

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