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Battersea Arts Centre announced as Community Vaccination Centre

A New Hope foyer installation designed by Rajha… Arts Centre

The cultural community hub will welcome Wandsworth residents from 8 March 2021
Vaccinations will be administered by NHS staff in a clinical and contained area while theatre artists and community groups carry on working in other parts of the building
Artists including Inua Ellams, Scottee & Friends, Rosie Jones and coletivA ocupação have been commissioned to help provide a welcoming and creative digital experience for visitors.

This continues Battersea Town Hall’s rich history of supporting the community

#HopeCourageBAC

Battersea Arts Centre today announced a partnership with the NHS to become the community Vaccination Centre for Wandsworth. From Monday 8 March 2021 residents from the borough will be welcomed into the Lavender Hill venue. They will receive vaccines, administered by trained NHS staff. Residents will be contacted by the NHS and asked to book an appointment. This marks the next step in the cultural hub’s COVID response, as it continues to inspire hope by working to support the community.

The front part of the building will be exclusively for Wandsworth residents receiving the vaccine. The Council Chamber room, where the vaccinations will take place, is being trans-formed by the NHS into a clinical and contained area.

Battersea Arts Centre is the only arts venue in South London to host large scale vaccinations. As part of the initiative, it is commissioning installations which inspire hope, curiosity and encourage visitors to imagine a better future for their community. Some of this work will be made available to experience online via bac.org.uk/discover

Artists making creative contributions include poet and playwright Inua Ellams, activists and performance artists Scottee & Friends, comedian Rosie Jones, Brazilian student collective coletivA ocupação, learning disabled theatre company Access All Areas, artist activist the vacuum cleaner, artist Richard DeDomenici, artist and gardener Jo Fong with contributing artist Sonia Hughes, experimental performance duo She Goat, performance makers Bert & Nasi, visual artist Dan Tombs, with a welcoming installation in Battersea Arts Centre’s foyer by production designer Rajha Shakiry.

The other side of the building, including the flagship Grand Hall auditorium, will remain available for artist residencies, local community groups and venue hires. They will continue to develop innovative new work, run social enterprises and take part in creative activities, when it is safe to do so and following health and safety guidelines from the government and Public Health England.

Tarek Iskander, Artistic Director and CEO of Battersea Arts Centre, says:

“Throughout its radical history our Town Hall building has always been a potent example of hope and refuge at times of crises. The next few months will be no different. Everyone at Battersea Arts Centre is delighted to be collaborating with the NHS, Wandsworth Council and our brilliant local partners to be part of the response to these impossibly difficult times.

“As well as supporting our collective public health efforts, we will continue to commission remarkable new creative projects from professional artists, young people and our communities. It’s these shared collective experiences that make our lives worth fighting for. Batter-sea’s old motto is ‘Not for Me, Not for You, But for Us’. That’s been our guiding principle throughout this pandemic, and feels as relevant now as it did in 1893 when the Town Hall first opened. Hopefully a better future for all of us is just round the corner, and by working together we can achieve that goal.”

Dr Nicola Jones, Wandsworth GP and lead GP for the vaccination programme across South West London, says:

Battersea’s former Town Hall has been at the centre of the local community since it was built and we are immensely grateful for the support of Battersea Arts Centre as we continue to expand the vaccination programme.

“Vaccinating as many people as possible will help to bring Covid-19 under control – offering us a realistic hope of a route out of the pandemic. Vaccinations are taking place in locations across south west London, they are safe and effective and I would encourage anyone who is unsure about being vaccinated to talk to your GP or look on NHS.uk for the facts on the vaccines.

The Grade II* listed building was renovated recently, part of an experimental 12-year capital project with architects Haworth Tompkins to honour its Victorian heritage while creating more vibrant and inclusive spaces. Using innovative design methods and feedback from theatre artists, audience members and the community, the building is now one of the UK’s most flexible venues for performance. This allows Battersea Arts Centre to respond creatively when faced with new challenges, to better serve the community and collaborating artists.

Since the start of the pandemic, Battersea Arts Centre has worked to support to the community. It teamed up with schools when they closed in March 2020 and partnered with local artists, organisations and volunteers to commission and deliver 5,800 Create & Learn PlayKits, ensuring that all children across South West London still had access to creative materials regardless of economic circumstances. In the autumn it paired up local food sharing charity Waste Not Want Not Battersea with theatre artists Hunt & Darton for a live-reality experiment to inspire collaboration and tackle food waste in the community.

Further activity to entertain audiences and support freelance creative artists included two-way live streamed shows, where audiences tuning in from home were beamed in real-time into the Grand Hall to interact with the performers. The Grand Hall was transformed into a concert hall to host the Philharmonia’s critically acclaimed series of live streamed classical music concerts. In the summer, there were sold out socially distanced comedy gigs in the building’s open-air Courtyard.

Battersea’s former Town Hall has been at the centre of Battersea’s social, political and cultural life since it first opened in 1893. Throughout its rich history it has been guided by its wider purpose of providing a safe and inspiring space for the local community. As it transforms into a Vaccine Centre, Wandsworth residents will follow in the footsteps of those who celebrated the historic inauguration of John Archer as London’s first Black mayor in 1913; who came to collect their gas mask and ration book during the Second World War; and who attended rallies for equality when Battersea Arts Centre hosted suffragists like Charlotte Despard.

Looking forwards, the aim is to continue to remove barriers for anyone working with or visit-ing the cultural hub, which has received several awards for its community and inclusive focus. In February 2020, Battersea Arts Centre launched as the world’s first Relaxed Venue, using a methodology developed by Touretteshero in partnership with Battersea Arts Centre, following the principles of Relaxed Performances. For the venue, this means aiming for access, inclusion and empowering positive social change to be at the heart of every decision.

Building on the Relaxed Venue approach, Battersea Arts Centre is making changes to ensure that people can be welcomed back into the building more inclusively as soon as possible, such as offering Pay What You Can pricing throughout 2021 (more details soon to be announced).

Battersea Arts Centre awarded for community focused architectural design

Battersea Arts Centre Credit Morley von Sternberg

Battersea Arts Centre’s “exemplary” and “ingenious” restoration recognised in this year’s Design and Architecture Awards

Creativity and community at the foundations of 12-year experimental collaboration with Haworth Tompkins to create a more flexible and inclusive cultural hub

Innovative changes bring hope and resilience for the future, with Battersea Arts Centre creatively responding to COVID-19 challenges this year

Battersea Arts Centre has received the 2020 Overall Winner Award and the Community and Experiencing Culture prizes from New London Architecture (NLA), whose annual awards celebrate the very best in architecture, planning and development in the capital. This marks five awards in recent weeks to pay tribute to the community-driven vision at the foundation of a 12-year collaboration with Stirling Prize-winning architects Haworth Tompkins. The partnership project has opened up the building and led to the development of flagship Battersea Arts Centre programmes such as the BAC Beatbox Academy, the Scratch Hub and The Agency.

The international jury of architects, critics and cultural figures remarked that it is “the inclusive nature of the project that signifies a new community-centred era for cultural buildings. It wasn’t just a restoration. It was a dedication to innovation, to craft, yet a really thoughtful way of evoking the spaces that were there before. You can read the story of the building by looking at it. It communicates to the visitor on so many levels and does that by being of service to a community. Extraordinary.

Architecture critic Andreas Ruby added “I also like the interpretation of what culture is. It’s not this kind of highbrow exclusive club kind of culture where you’re happy to be chosen while others are not. It’s integral and it’s inclusive and a kind of statement for our time.

In 2006, Battersea Arts Centre and Haworth Tompkins embarked on an ambitious capital project by applying the principles of developing a new show, Scratch, to the renovation of the building. The aim has been to open up the Lavender Hill premises into a vibrant, welcoming and more accessible hub, and to become one of the most flexible venues for performance in the country. Theatre artists, audiences and the local community have taken part by testing out and feeding back on ideas to reimagine the possibilities for the physical space, which all celebrated the rich and radical heritage of the former Town Hall building.

During Punchdrunk’s groundbreaking, immersive performance of The Masque of the Red Death in 2007, disused spaces were opened up and audiences invited to follow their curiosity and explore every corner of the Grade II* listed site. Today, performances can take place in any corner of the building, the architectural innovations giving artists the freedom to take creative risks. Last week, Director Suri Krishnamma and his crew won a Royal Television Society Craft & Design Award for masterfully realising an immersive theatrical journey through Battersea Arts Centre on screen. Performance Live: The Way Out (Arts Council England/BBC Arts/Battersea Arts Centre) was shot in an unbroken, continuous take and described by judges as “an astonishing technical feat” and a “seamless piece of storytelling”. The film is available to watch on BBC iPlayer here.

Thanks to the National Lottery and range of corporate and individual funders, the £13.3m redevelopment effort has seen the Victorian fabric of the building conserved while ensuring its future as a resilient cultural hub in a fast-changing world. A small outdoor seating area has been transformed into The Courtyardthe UK’s most intimate open-air theatre structure. This allowed Battersea Arts Centre to be one of the very first venues to re-open after the first lockdown, hosting live comedy gigs to in-person audiences during the summer.

In 2015, before the capital project was completed, the building’s flagship auditorium was destroyed by a fire. This devastating set-back provided another moment for evolution. Out of the ashes, the Lower Hall area was redesigned into a new creative co-working space. The Scratch Hub has provided a home for local businesses, start-ups, artists, creative companies, charities and social enterprises in a COVID-secure environment this year.

When restoring the Grand Hall, Haworth Tompkins devised a breathtaking, innovative, lattice structure, inspired by the pattern of the original ceiling, which has made way for a more advanced technical infrastructure. The stunning atmosphere and enhanced audio capabilities of the space allowed Battersea Arts Centre to welcome new partnerships in a year defined by isolation. This includes the London Philharmonia, who made their Battersea Arts Centre debut with a sensational, socially distanced, classical concert series, The Philharmonia Sessions. There was also Live from the Grand Halltwo-way live streamed music and comedy gigs throughout October. Audiences tuning in from home were beamed in real-time into the auditorium to interact with the performers.

The process of opening up the building brought new possibilities to the artistic programme, but also renewed Battersea Arts Centre’s link with its heritage as a space for gathering, fostering new collaborations and radical ideas. Since it first opened in 1983, the old Town Hall has been a home to the Trade Unions movement, the campaign for Women’s Suffrage, and the first Black Mayor of London, John Archer. Its existence has also been repeatedly, and fiercely, defended by the local community since first being threatened with demolition in 1965.

Adapting to the needs of its neighbours, Battersea Arts Centre has transformed and expanded the way it works with communities today; aiming for access, inclusion and empowering positive social change to be at the heart of every decision. February 7 2020 marked the launch of the world’s first Relaxed Venue, using a methodology developed by Touretteshero in partnership with Battersea Arts Centre, following the principles of Relaxed Performances and removing barriers for anyone who wants to explore Battersea Arts Centre.

In 2008, BAC Beatbox Academy was born as a home-grown performance collective of young artists. Starting with a handful of local participants, it has since grown into a community of highly accomplished music leaders. The weekly drop-in sessions for 8-29 year olds have continued running via zoom during the pandemic, meaning international members were able to join for the first time. The smash hit theatre-beatbox hybrid show, Frankenstein: How to Make A Monsterco-created by Academy members over 10 years, embarked on an international tour in January 2020. After a sold-out run at the Adelaide Festival, the tour was paused due to COVID-19. The cast reimagined the production for the screen, commissioned by BBC Arts and The Space, and the original musical film was broadcast on BBC Four as part of Culture in Quarantine in October.

In partnership with Contact, Manchester and People’s Palace Projects, Battersea Arts Centre launched The Agency in 2013, to support the development of the next generation of socially-conscious entrepreneurs. By combining the best of creativity and enterprise, the programme helps young people take the lead to make meaningful change happen, both for themselves and for those around them. Starting in London and Manchester, The Agency has since expanded to work with 15-25 year-olds in Belfast, Cardiff, and boroughs of Waltham Forest and Brent, as part of their respective Mayor of London Borough of Culture programmes.

Over the past 7 years, 355 young people across the UK have gone through The Agency methodology, with 104 Agents going on to lead social change projects that have directly engaged over 19,000 people. The Agents have additionally raised £131,547 to develop their projects, significantly more than the £90,000 initial seed funding offered by The Agency. 46 of these projects are still running today, with many Agents leading COVID-response activity in their communities this year.

Steve Tompkins, Director of Haworth Tompkins, said:

“We’ve learned so much from our 12 year relationship with this extraordinary building and an equally remarkable team of people. Being part of such a slowly evolving transformation of both the building and the organisation has deepened our understanding of how cultural spaces can become genuine centres of community – we experienced at first hand the collective energy of improvisation and shared authorship, the multiplying power of mutual trust and the deep, sustaining affection that so many people feel towards Battersea Arts Centre. For all the technical complexity of the task and the unexpected twists of fate, it has been a joyful project to work on.”

Tarek Iskander, Artistic Director and CEO of Battersea Arts Centre, said:

Battersea Arts Centre and its work have always been defined by the unique architecture of the old Town Hall: a place of true gathering, welcoming to everyone, a space to house endless reserves of refuge, creativity and hope. And also somewhere that the difficult politics of the day can be tackled head on, in the feverish search for a more just future.

With Haworth Tompkins’ truly remarkable renovation of our burning Grand Hall, new layers of meaning have been added – and ones that are even more relevant in these difficult times. That the memories and stories of a place matter as much as the bricks and mortar that house them. That we mustn’t hide the scars of the past, instead they can empower us to strive for an even better future. And that through collective effort and true generosity, everything destroyed can be rebuilt, nothing is lost that can’t be rediscovered, and even from despair we can create things that are full of joy and beauty, that will delight the many generations to come.”

The restoration has recently been recognised as “ingenious”, “exemplary and scholarly” by the NLA 2020 Awards, with Battersea Arts Centre receiving the Experiencing Culture Prize, the Community Prize sponsored by ft’work and was announced this week as the Overall Winner. Battersea Arts Centre also received the prize for best Restoration/Conversion at this year’s biennial Wandsworth Design Awards, as well as the chief prize, the Mayor’s Design Award. Further recognition so far for the “imaginative” and “outstanding” architectural collaboration include two RIBA Awards, Civic Trust’s AABC Conservation Award, a Wood Award for the new Grand Hall ceiling, an International Architecture Award and The Stage Award for Theatre Building of Year.

Improbable announces Devoted & Disgruntled: What are we going to do about theatre and the performing arts?

Improbable calls for devoted and disgruntled theatre and performing arts people to gather together for an urgent national conversation in partnership with Battersea Arts Centre.

  • 15 years after the first D&D, and at a time of bitter division in our country, the arts community are still devoted, still disgruntled and ready to gather for meaningful conversation and creative action.
  • ‘I think theatre is at a turning point’ says Tarek Iskander, Artistic Director of partner and host venue Battersea Arts Centre
  • Pay What You Choose tickets available for the first time
  • Tickets on sale NOW.

Improbable’s 15th annual unconventional conference for performing arts people, Devoted & Disgruntled: What are we going to do about theatre and the performing arts? will take place on Saturday 8th, Sunday 9th and Monday 10th February 2020 at Battersea Arts Centre, London.

Devoted & Disgruntled is an opportunity for performing arts people at every point in their careers, from artists to students, CEOs to Front of House staff, grassroots groups to seasoned professionals, to come together for a national conversation around the issues affecting the arts in the UK.

Lee Simpson, Co-Artistic Director of Improbable says:

‘As we watch current events unfold I would guess I am not alone being mired in anxiety, fear, anger, helplessness. But I feel none of those things when we meet as a community in Open Space. Not because we all know the answer and we all agree but because we have different opinions or perhaps no opinion at all and from this multiplicity of voices comes clarity. Actions seem obvious and possible. My path opens up and I know what to do. And there is so much to do.

For what it’s worth I think Theatre is in a fantastic amount of trouble. By the time you read this, goodness knows what political events have happened and how much more precarious the funding situation is; there’s been some tiny shifts towards a slightly less middle-class-white-male dominated sector yet already some are claiming it is “job done” when it really isn’t and this art form is, I reckon, getting less and less connected to anyone beyond its traditional constituency. I mean COME ON?!

Those are some of the things I think it is urgent that we work on. What about you?’

Improbable has partnered with Battersea Arts Centre on D&D events throughout its 15 year history, most recently collaborating on an emergency Devoted and Disgruntled event in response to the proroguing of parliament in September.

Tarek Iskander, Artistic Director and CEO of Battersea Arts Centre said:

‘I think theatre is at a turning point. We are close to taking a path that will make us much stronger, more pioneering and a great deal more important to people’s lives. Or the opposite.

For me Devoted and Disgruntled represents everything that is wonderful about our artform and the people in it. To achieve anything we need to work together, and this can only be done by being together, by disagreeing, by finding points of union, by inhabiting the same space, falling out terribly and reaching common ground.

Battersea Arts Centre’s Grand Hall has always been a home for radicals who refused to accept the status quo. Bertrand Russell, the Suffragettes, John Archer… all came here to share new ideas and create a better, fairer future. They fought impossible odds, but nothing was insurmountable. Our current challenges in theatre are significant, mammoth even… but they aren’t insurmountable. Not now. Not together.

I can’t wait for us to meet in February at Battersea Arts Centre and keep mapping a path. After every Devoted & Disgruntled I walk away inspired and motivated to do better. So let’s fill the room with those we hear from the least but need to spend time with the most. And let’s be brave, be bold and even a bit rebellious if we need to be.’

D&D uses a process called Open Space Technology (OST) which supports groups to self-organise and collaborate around any question of shared concern. It gives all participants the chance to propose a starting point for discussion, take part in any of the conversations or flit between them all. It is particularly effective in dealing with complex issues where diverse and conflicting views are present. At D&D everyone’s voice can be heard and no topic is censored.

Devoted and Disgruntled was born out of frustration.’ says Phelim McDermott, Co-Artistic Director. ‘I was frustrated both with theatre and with myself. I knew things could be better in theatre and I also knew the way I responded to that situation could be more creative. I wanted to stop moaning and actually do something about it.

This year for the first time all tickets are Pay What You Choose.

Olivia Coxhead, Producer of D&D15 and Improbable says:‘D&D thrives when there are a range of voices in the room, from every part of the sector, at every level of experience. The cost of D&D has always been offset by Improbable, in order to keep ticket prices low. But by changing our model, and offering Pay What You Choose tickets instead of fixed price tiers, we hope that this brilliant event will be even more affordable and open to all.’

To ensure that D&D is an inclusive conversation for D/deaf, disabled and neurodivergent people, access provision this year will include live captioning, BSL interpretation, tactile venue markings, an accessible changing space, and support for neurodivergent attendees including plain-text materials and a quiet space with specialist equipment. Anyone who would like to discuss specific access requirements to attend the event is encouraged to contact dandd@improbable.co.uk or 020 7240 4556.

Tickets go on sale from Thursday 31 October 2019
https://www.devotedanddisgruntled.com/Event/devoted-disgruntled-15

BAC in spring 2019 with Ridiculusmus, Chris Thorpe and Rachel Chavkin, Mark Thomas, Ad Infinitum and more

Battersea Arts Centre
Battersea Arts Centre

Battersea Arts Centre

Battersea Art Centre’s spring 2019 programme combines new work by artists tackling some of the biggest subjects being debated in the UK today, with innovative comedians and collectives exploring the boundaries of performance.

The spring season sees Battersea Arts Centre (BAC) continue working towards becoming a Relaxed Venue – a new initiative that builds on the principles of relaxed performances. 95% of all the announced performances in the spring season are relaxed, which at BAC means there is a relaxed attitude to noise and movement in the auditorium, a designated ‘chill-out space’ provided for guests who may need time away from the performance,and headphones available for those with sensory sensitivities.

  • Chris Thorpe and Rachel Chavkin explore nationality, identity and the rejection of one’s national story in Edinburgh hit Status (23 Apr – 11 May).
  • George and Nir, Co-Artistic Directors of Ad Infinitum and real-life same-sex couple, wrestle with a question many people face – should they have kids, or not – in No Kids (5 – 23 Feb).
  • Ridiculusmus present the UK premiere of Die! Die! Die! Old People Die! (8 – 25 May), the final part of their trilogy of works around contemporary mental health issues, which will be performed in full on 25 May.
  • ThisEgg’s dressed. (25 Feb – 2 Mar) sensitively and powerfully explores how a woman can find strength, resilience and beauty in friendship when recovering from a traumatic assault.
  • Mark Thomas takes a deep dive into the health of the NHS with CHECK UP: Our NHS@70 (23 Apr – 4 May).
  • In a time of online echo-chambers, The Justice Syndicate (11 – 23 Feb ) by fanSHEN challenges audiences to disagree, debate and question their own preconceptions in a piece of playable theatre drawing on a jury format.
  • Sleepwalk Collective return to Battersea Arts Centre with the UK premiere of Kourtney Kardashian (27 Feb – 2 Mar), examining celebrity, high art and society’s collective grip on reality.
  • Figs In Wigs bring back Often Onstage (6-8 Feb), gleefully disrupting traditional theatrical conventions.
  • Ben Target and Tom Rosenthal present new comedy shows Splosh! (26 Feb – 2 Mar) and Manhood (28 Jan – 2 Feb).
  • Touretteshero co-founder Jess Thom curates Rest & Resistance, a ground-breaking inclusive festival of theatre, dance, art and performance for all ages showcasing the very best of the disability arts scene.
  • As the UK is planned to exit the EU, Up Next Artistic Director Saad-Eddine Said curates Homegrown Festival: Occupy, an invitation for young artists, collectives, entrepreneurs, activists and local communities to occupy BAC.
  • The OFFIES awards celebrate the excellence, innovation and ingenuity of independent theatres across London.

Tom Rosenthal: Manhood (Work In Progress)

Tom Rosenthal | 28 Jan – 2 Feb, 8pm

As seen as the drunkest guy on Drunk History (Comedy Central) and taking down Chris Ramsey on Roast Battle (Comedy Central). This year Tom Rosenthal, star of Friday Night Dinner (C4) and Plebs (ITV2), is discussing his manhood, or lack thereof. A show about reaching maturity. And dicks.

Directed by Jon Brittain

The OFFIES

3 Feb

The next OFFIES awards event will be in the reborn Grand Hall at Battersea Arts Centre, bringing together theatre lovers and the industry to celebrate the excellence, innovation and ingenuity of independent theatres across London. In what promises to be a memorable night with a champagne reception, awards ceremony and a post-awards party, The OFFIES will help raise the profile and status of independent theatres in London and rewards the new talent that these theatres nurture. Special guests from the world of theatre will present the awards and help celebrate another memorable year for OffWestEnd theatre. Information on 2018 nominations, and how to get tickets for the 2019 awards event, can be found on the new Offies website.

No Kids

Ad Infinitum | Tue 5 –Sat 23 Feb | Press night Thu 7 Feb, 7:30pm

No Kids is the latest energetic, hilarious and thought-provoking play from the multi- award-winning Bristol-based company, Ad Infinitum.

George and Nir, Co-Artistic Directors of Ad Infinitum, are a real-life same-sex couple trying to answer a question many people face – should they have kids, or not?  Every consideration – adoption, surrogacy, co-parenting, the environmental impact of childbirth, the fears and anxieties, how the past affects parenting and much, much more – brings with it a succession of ethical challenges. Together, George and Nir confront this chaos head-on through Ad Infinitum’s signature style of physical theatre, cabaret, verbatim stories – and Madonna songs.

No Kids is made possible by Arts Council England. Developed at Battersea Arts Centre and supported by Salisbury Playhouse, Tobacco Factory Theatres, Newbury Corn Exchange, Birmingham Hippodrome, Redbridge Drama Centre, The Tolmen Centre and The North Wall.

All performances are relaxed. At Battersea Arts Centre, this means that you are free to move about, make noise and come and go during the show. This does not mean that light and sound effects have been changed. For more info, visit the Access Page.

Often Onstage

Figs In Wigs | 6 – 8 Feb

Often Onstage is an offbeat facetious romp that explores the ins and outs of the stage through the medium of dance. With one step forward and two hundred steps back, this choreographic exercise in comings and goings plays with a myriad of ways to enter and exit the stage, unearthing dormant anxieties about life choices along the way.

What if the only thing keeping you going are inspirational quotes and subsidised income from your side project as a Backstreet Boys tribute act? It’s only a matter of time before we sell out, and we don’t mean tickets…

All performances are relaxed. At Battersea Arts Centre, this means that you are free to move about, make noise and come and go during the show. This does not mean that light and sound effects have been changed. For more info, visit the Access Page.

The Justice Syndicate

fanSHEN | 11 Feb – 23 Feb | Press night 12 Feb, 7pm

A top surgeon is accused of a serious crime. Conviction would mean planned operations will not go ahead – and the evidence is far from conclusive.

The Justice Syndicate, a piece of playable theatre drawing on a jury format, has its London premiere at Battersea Arts Centre in February. As an immersive story unfolds in ever increasing complexity, players will question their initial assumptions and get the opportunity to discuss and probe what they have learned.

Dealing with challenging topics such as sexual assault, The Justice Syndicate challenges audiences to debate justice and engage with each other in an era of echo-chambers, while exploring the connections between power and privilege, trust and technology, and thought and action.

The development of The Justice Syndicate was supported by LSBU, King’s Cultural Institute and Near Now.

All performances are relaxed, however due to the nature of the show and the need to hear instructions at the beginning, latecomers will not be admitted. At Battersea Arts Centre, a relaxed performance means that you are free to move about, make noise and come and go during the show. This does not mean that light and sound effects have been changed. For more info, visit the Access Page.

dressed.

ThisEgg in collaboration with Made My Wardrobe | Mon 25 Feb – Sat 2 Mar | Press night: Tue 26 Feb, 7:30pm

dressed., ThisEgg’s powerful mediation on the power of friendship after trauma, has its London premiere at Battersea Arts Centre. A costume maker, a theatre maker, a singer and a dancer, all friends since school, tell a true story. After being stripped at gun point, Lydia Higginson set out to redress herself with a new healing set of armour. Lydia now only wears clothes she has made. dressed. is about the power clothes have to define us, to liberate us, to hide us and to embellish us. It is about making something beautiful out of something dark and traumatic. It is a celebration of female performance and friendship.

dressed. is co-created by ThisEgg Artistic Director Josie Dale-Jones, Lydia Higginson, Imogen Mahdavi – who also performs original music – and Olivia Norris, who provides original choreography. Combining direct address, movement, original music, dance and live sewing, dressed. sees the cast tell Lydia’s story with extraordinary intimacy, humour and creativity.

ThisEgg were winners of the inaugural Underbelly and New Diorama Untapped Award early-mid

career theatre companies run by Underbelly and New Diorama Theatre. The company’s previous

productions include critically acclaimed family shows Me & My Bee and Goggles.

dressed. is supported by public funding through the Arts Council England and National Lottery.

Winner of underbelly and new diorama theatre untapped award 2018.

Ben Target: Splosh!

Plosive Productions | 26 Feb – 2 Mar | Press night 27 Feb, 7pm

Pool party starter and Edinburgh Comedy Awards Best Newcomer nominee, Ben Target, invites you to plunge in for a paddle. Goggles on for synchronised aquatics, front crawl relays and doggy paddle lessons (for beginners). BYOL (Bring Your Own Lilo). Directed by Ben Williams

All performances are relaxed. At Battersea Arts Centre, this means that you are free to move about, make noise and come and go during the show. This does not mean that light and sound effects have been changed. For more info, visit the Access Page.

Kourtney Kardashian

Sleepwalk Collective | 27 Feb – 2 Mar | Press night 28 Feb, 8pm

Experimental theatre company Sleepwalk Collective return to Battersea Arts Centre with Kourtney Kardashian, the final part of an accidental trilogy of performances which include the ballet Kim Kardashian (2016), and stage play Khloé Kardashian (2017).

A statement on high art, celebrity and society’s increasingly tenuous grip on reality in the 21st century, Kourtney Kardashian dances playfully around the rules and conventions of classical opera, with an orchestra of laptops, a multi-speaker sound system chorus, and performers with second voices carried on their bodies. The show is a love and hate letter to outrageous luxury and artistic genius, and also the joyous, dreadful punchline to a joke that’s worn so thin that you can see right through to what’s on the other side of it…

Sleepwalk Collective is an award winning live art and experimental theatre company creating fragile, nocturnal performances between the UK and Spain.

All performances are relaxed. At Battersea Arts Centre, this means that you are free to move about, make noise and come and go during the show. This does not mean that light and sound effects have been changed. For more info, visit the Access Page.

Rest & Resistance

4-16 Mar

Battersea Arts centre hosts Rest & Resistance (4-16 Mar), a ground-breaking inclusive festival of theatre, dance, art and performance for all ages that will showcase the very best of the disability arts scene. Curated by ACE Change Maker and Touretteshero co-founder Jess Thom, this playful two week venue takeover will feature work that provokes, disrupts and inspires change. More details about Rest & Resistance to be announced soon.

Homegrown Festival: Occupy

18 Mar- 12 Apr

Saad-Eddine Said curates Homegrown Festival: Occupy, an invitation for young artists, collectives, entrepreneurs, activists and local communities to occupy BAC over the period that the UK is planned to exit the EU, and present a young perspective on our shared future post-Brexit. The month will feature interactive and gig theatre, live games, virtual experiences, opera, hip-hop, installations and new shows by Sounds Like Chaos, Conrad Murray and a BAC co-production with Contact Theatre Manchester. Other artists include BAC Phoenix Award winner Amy Leon, dancer and performer Akeim Toussaint Buck and many others. Occupy builds on BAC’s annual Homegrown Festival of young voices and emerging talent, and is produced in association with Tarek Iskander.

Saad-Eddine Said and Tarek Iskander are Artistic Directotrs at Battersea Arts Centre as part of Up next, a joint initiative by Artistic Directors of the Future, Battersea Arts Centre and Bush Theatre designed to catapult visionary culturally diverse artists into leadership roles in the UK’s theatre industry. Since July 2017 five directors have taken up artistic directorship at Battersea Arts Centre and Bush Theatre.

Status

Chris Thorpe and Rachel Chavkin | 23 Apr – 11 May | Press night Thu 25 Apr, 8pm

Status is a show about someone who doesn’t want his nationality anymore, someone running away from the national story they’ve been given, someone asking what might happen to it if they give it up. A globe-spanning journey of attempted escape, with songs along the way, Status springs from conversations about who we might be, and whether your country needs you more than you might need it.

Status is a new show written and performed by Chris Thorpe (Unlimited Theatre, Third Angel) developed with and directed by Rachel Chavkin (The TEAM, Hadestown) – the team behind Confirmation, the hugely acclaimed Confirmation, which won a Fringe First at the 2014 Edinburgh Fringe before touring nationally and internationally. Taking as their starting point the Prime Minister’s assertion that ‘if you believe you are a citizen of the world, you are a citizen of nowhere’, Chris and Rachel draw on globe-spanning conversations, from people who have found themselves stateless, to those for whom national identity is a defining characteristic.

Commissioned by Battersea Arts Centre, Warwick Arts Centre and Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg. Supported by the British Council, Goethe-Institut London, the Collaborative Touring Network and using public funding by the national lottery through Arts Council England.

All performances are relaxed. At Battersea Arts Centre, this means that you are free to move about, make noise and come and go during the show. This does not mean that light and sound effects have been changed. For more info, visit the Access Page.

MARK THOMAS – CHECK UP: Our NHS @70

Mark Thomas | 23 Apr – 4 May | Press night 24 Apr, 7:30pm

Mark Thomas is 54, the NHS is 70, UK national average life expectancy is 84. If Mark makes it to 84 the NHS will be 100, what will they both look like? Based on a series of interviews with leading experts in and on the NHS and residencies in hospitals and surgeries, Thomas uses his own demise to explore the state we’re in. What’s going right, what’s going wrong and how does it get better?

Winner of an Edinburgh Fringe First Award 2018, directed by Nicolas Kent

Lakin McCarthy and Mark Thomas in association with Nick of Time Productions

Supported by the Wellcome Trust

All performances are relaxed. At Battersea Arts Centre, this means that you are free to move about, make noise and come and go during the show. This does not mean that light and sound effects have been changed. For more info, visit the Access Page. The performance on 1 May is BSL interpreted.

Die! Die! Die! Old People Die!

Ridiculusmus | 8 – 25 May | Press night Thu 9 May, 7.30pm

Dialogue as the Embodiment of Love trilogy

Eradication of Schizophrenia in Western Lapland, Give Me Your Love and Die! Die! Die! Old People Die!

Ridiculusmus | 25 May

Ridiculusmus has been producing seriously funny theatre for over 25 years. This May, Battersea Arts Centre presents the UK premiere of Die! Die! Die! Old People Die!, the third part of Ridiculusmus’s epic trilogy of works around contemporary mental health issues, Dialogue as the Embodiment of Love, a theatrical clarion call for social inclusion that dares to engage with our last taboos. The entire trilogy will be performed together on Saturday 25 May.

Die! Die! Die! Old People Die! is a funny and fragile study of ageing, death and grief. It’s a simple but paper-fine portrait of a timeless trio: a love triangle cursed to eternal life without eternal youth, in an age where death and the forgotten art of grieving has been medicalised out of existence. Indie theatre luminaries David Woods and Jon Haynes project into 120-year-old versions of themselves in a mordantly funny work about hanging on, dying and mourning. More of a visceral experience than a show, Die! Die! Die! Old People Die! oozes with the positivity of elderhood and good deaths.

In the first two plays in the trilogy, big pharma, psychiatry, psychology and the system collide in a pair of domestic encounters that plunge audiences into two disorders of the everyday. Eradication of Schizophrenia in Western Lapland is informed by a treatment method for psychosis which delivered incredible results whilst Give Me Your Love explores the therapeutic impact of MDMA on post-traumatic stress disorder. The non-compliant and the not-so-naive discover breakthroughs in understanding and recovery through their battle with the medical model.

All performances are relaxed. At Battersea Arts Centre, this means that you are free to move about, make noise and come and go during the show. This does not mean that light and sound effects have been changed. For more info, visit the Access Page. The performance on 16 May is BSL interpreted.

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Interview with Amit Lahav, Artistic Director of Gecko: “The role of an artist is to challenge the status quo.”

It seems that we are getting better at being honest with each other about our own frailties.

Institute is driven by Geckoʼs desire to explore complexities in human nature; our impulse to care and our complete reliance on one another. We are entering a time in which we are potentially more fractured and disconnected than ever before – when the time comes, will anyone really care? But a Gecko world is never as it first appears…

Gecko have teamed up with mental health charity Suffolk Mind to launch a series of  workshops & participatory opportunities.
I had a phone chat with company director and all round theatrical wizard Amit Lahav recently.
Here is what we discussed:

Amit Lahav

Amit Lahav

Hi Amit! Congratulations on Live from Television Centre – the collaboration with Battersea Arts Centre and the BBC – It really highlighted the values of British independent theatre. You’ve had quite a year haven’t you.>
I couldn’t be happier – it was outrageously ambitious and we couldn’t have pushed harder. We explored the extraordinary Gecko language inside TV and film, we went 1,000% with BAC who produced it and went in all guns blazing. It was something that everyone believed in. I think with the BBC wanted us to make something incredibly theatrical – I am genuinely proud and I had to think as a film maker, which was incredibly challenging.

There is a lot of debate around how live screenings of shows have changed theatre; for better or worse. They are increasingly popular with audiences. What do you think their impact on live arts are? 
It’s incredibly important to keep engagement live. We are in a dangerous situation of becoming disconnected in a society that has a hidden loneliness. Don’t get me wrong, there is an enormous benefit having work seen by larger audiences, but the present connection with audiences is something I wouldn’t want to move away from.

Institute is a remarkable production exploring troubled men. 
At the heart of Institute is the question to do with masculinity and culture, in these times people are trying to survive more than it seems. It’s subterranean, on a multitude of levels, the experiences men have on an internal and external level.

Does it feels like more is required of audiences than just talking about the ‘issues’ and how have people responded to the show out on tour?
We have so frequently come across people who have been affected by Institute, who at the end of the production have been unable to move from their seats. They want to talk to us, to someone. Out on tour there is someone from the charity Suffolk Mind as well as a panel discussion with service providers. Uniquely, as well there is someone local to the venues who have proximity to that venue and have used those resources available to them.

Political correctness and art don’t *usually* mix well. Institute feels like a genuinely political piece of theatre, would you agree? 
The role of an artist is to challenge the status quo. All Gecko shows are political. In some way being the bearer of truth, Gecko is an important commodity and in these times even more critical.

What would you say have been the most rewarding moments of getting Institute in front of audiences? 
I think that what I have been learning about mental health has been so extraordinary because it’s shone a mirror about where Institute came from within me, there is something very powerful in that. At one end on the spectrum there is wellness and the other there is not. You can be on that continuum somewhere and that stress can be the crossover. The fragility of being a human being can take you by surprise. You might know someone who is suffering. It’s important to reiterate that there is help out there and it’s good to talk about these things.”
Cheers! 

Nuffield / Southampton / www.nuffieldtheatre.co.uk

Performances2 – 5 November at 7.30pm / tickets

Ancillary programme2 November at 9pm – post show panel discussion (free with show ticket)

4 November at 2pm – 5pm – workshop (free with show ticket, registration information will be available on the venue website)

Playhouse / Liverpool / www.everymanplayhouse.com

Performances16 – 19 November at 7.30pm (except for: 5.30pm on 17 November) / tickets

Ancillary programme17 November at 7pm – post show panel discussion (free with show ticket)

17 November at 12pm-3pm – workshop (free with show ticket, registration information will be available on the venue website)