A number of Culture UK commissions are being announced today across BBC platforms and channels including BBC Two and BBC Four.
As well as projects from Battersea Arts Centre’s Performance Live strand and from The Space, commissions include work from from National Theatre Artistic Director Rufus Norris, Crystal Pite and Phil Collins.
My Country; A Work In Progress
1 x 60, BBC Two
The National Theatre gathered interviews with people from Derry Londonderry, Edinburgh, Merthyr, Leicester, Salisbury, Newcastle, Glasgow, Gloucester, and Northumberland about the condition of the nation, and whether we should count ourselves European, in response to the division exposed by the EU referendum.
Britannia calls a meeting to listen to her people. This series of honest, emotional, funny and personal testimonials are interwoven into speeches from the nation’s party leaders in this play. The debate is passionate, the darts are sharp, stereotypes nailed and opinions divided. Can there ever be a United Kingdom?
Written by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy and directed by Rufus Norris (Broken and London Road) and adapted from the National Theatre production, My Country; A Work In Progress features the ensemble cast from the 2017 stage version, is adapted for television by the BBC and is produced by the National Theatre in association with Cuba Pictures. The original stage production was created in collaboration with; Citizens Theatre, Curve, Derry Playhouse, Live Theatre, National Theatre Wales, Sage Gateshead, Salisbury Playhouse and Strike A Light Festival in association with Cusack Projects Limited. It was commissioned for the BBC by Emma Cahusac, Executive Producer, BBC Arts and Music.
1 x 60, BBC Four
Friedrich Engels - philosopher, writer and radical thinker - is coming back home.
Turner Prize-nominated artist Phil Collins is returning Engels to the city where he made his name - in the form of a Soviet-era statue, driven across Europe and permanently installed in the centre of Manchester as the closing event of this year's Manchester International Festival.
Directed by Phil Collins, with a soundtrack by Mica Levi (Jackie, Under The Skin) and Demdike Stare, and a new anthem composed by Gruff Rhys (Super Furry Animals), this film will mark one hundred years since the ideas in The Communist Manifesto, written by Engels and Karl Marx, changed the course of history by inspiring the Russian Revolution.
Engels arrived in Manchester in 1842 and documented the plight of the city's working classes in The Condition of the Working Class in England. Collins' film for BBC Four will not only document the statue's journey but also the lives of Manchester workers today and a live event specially created to welcome the statue to the city.
Ceremony is produced by Tigerlily Productions for BBC Four, backed by Manchester International Festival, HOME and 14-18 NOW. It is commissioned by Emma Cahusac, Executive Producer, Arts and Music, BBC.
Today it is announced that BBC Arts, in collaboration with The V&A and Royal Opera House, will launch an ambitious digital festival to get opera to more audiences across the UK as part of the pan-BBC opera season this autumn. #OperaPassion will launch in October and will see major opera companies in the UK coming together for the first time for this digital festival, to celebrate and showcase the breadth and range of opera productions today. This major initiative is supported by the British Council and will include live streamed events, archive recordings and inspiring new content which invites everyone to experience opera and the emotions and excitement which the art form evokes. This digital initiative sits as part of a wider pan-BBC opera season in collaboration with the Victoria and Albert Museum and Royal Opera House, coinciding with the opening of their major new exhibition, Opera: Passion, Power And Politics. As part of the Opera Season BBC Music programming will look to engage audiences in a love of opera across BBC Two, BBC Four and BBC Radio 3. BBC Two will present a two part documentary with Lucy Worsley and Sir Antonio Pappano; BBC Radio 3 will broadcast recordings of seven operas which feature in the V&A exhibition. Radio 3 will also be broadcasting live from the V&A episodes of In Tune and Music Matters. Further details of the programming on BBC Four will be announced in due course.
The Perfect Place
1 x 4 - BBC Arts Digital, Connected Studios and Scottish Ballet
Scottish Ballet has collaborated with BBC Arts Digital and Connected Studios on The Perfect Place, a short film which uses 360-degree video technology to create a new way to experience dance. This collaboration between Scottish Ballet’s Artistic Director Christopher Hampson, choreographer Sophie Laplane, BBC Arts Digital director Laura-Jane McRae and BBC 360 producer Edwin Wyatt has resulted in a work that explores a new way of telling stories. The film features choreography and narrative created specifically for the medium, resulting in a truly collaborative process - and a beautiful film. The Perfect Place was jointly commissioned by BBC Scotland and BBC Arts Digital.
Multi-award winning choreographer Crystal Pite and actor-playwright Jonathon Young’s Betroffenheit received critical acclaim at its UK premiere in spring 2016.
Betroffenheit describes the state of shock and bewilderment that is all encompassing in the wake of a disaster. For this boundary-stretching hybrid of theatre and dance, stark with unflinching honesty, Crystal Pite and Jonathan Young join forces to examine the aftermath of Young’s personal tragedy, exploring what happens to a person after experiencing the all-too imaginable.
Choreographed to the rhythm of Young’s words, the trauma of loss and the long road to recovery are uncovered through comedy and drama, poetry and movement. Nominated for a 2017 Olivier Award, the piece is co-created by Kidd Pivot and Electric Company Theatre.
Crystal Pite has cemented her place as one of today’s most inventive choreographers, sought after by the world’s leading dance companies including National Ballet of Canada and The Royal Ballet as well as choreographing for her own Vancouver-based company Kidd Pivot, which she founded in 2002. A former dancer with William Forsythe’s Ballett Frankfurt, Pite was the youngest person ever to receive the Clifford E. Lee Choreographic Award in 1995.
In its initial phase, in partnership with the Roundhouse, and with support from the Arts Council England, Words First toured the UK running workshops for young aspiring poets and writers. From these workshops emerged six powerful new voices who went on to perform at a climactic event last summer. In keeping with this original spirit, Words First will continue to unearth grassroots spoken word talent, as well as broadening its scope to helping young people from all backgrounds have their voices heard through other forms of storytelling. As part of this return, Words First will be part of Contains Strong Language in Hull in September.
Edinburgh Festivals 2017
Throughout the August Edinburgh Festivals in 2017, supported by Creative Scotland, the BBC will be broadcasting from venues across the city, and will also return to the picturesque grounds of George Heriot’s School on Lauriston Place. In collaboration with Edinburgh International Festival, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Edinburgh International Book Festival, the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo and Edinburgh Art Festival audiences visiting the BBC hub on the School’s East Lawn will be able to enjoy BBC shows, programmes and activities throughout the month. The BBC at Edinburgh Festivals website is a destination for audiences in Edinburgh and at home. With content co-curated by the BBC’s Edinburgh Festivals team, there will be something for everyone, from comedy to theatre to spoken word. Audiences can also follow the latest news and highlights of the BBC at the Edinburgh Festivals on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. BBC Arts Digital will feature streams of conversations with top names from the Edinburgh International Festival, including Meow Meow and Nicola Benedetti, as well as presenting highlights from across the Festivals.