Five Northern Ireland cultural organisations and artists have been chosen to showcase their work across China as part of British Council’s 2021 UK-China Contemporary Culture Festival, which kicks off today. (Wednesday, September 1).
The festival, titled #Reconnect – will see 36 leading UK organisations feature their work via online and offline platforms, offering audiences in multiple cities across China an opportunity to reconnect with art from Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England.
The festival runs until Monday, 20 September – focusing on three different themes - ReConnect with Nature, Community and Self.
The Northern Ireland acts taking part are:
- Folk NI Theatre (online performance) – The Children of Lir. (Sep 1-20) Made up of visual artist Aimée Magee, theatre maker Noel Andrew Harron and musician Xavier Mercadé Costa, the trio use experimental artistic techniques such as home-made shadow puppetry, live action dance performance and song writing, to transform stories of ancient folklore into modern day fables with contemporary issues at their root. They will perform The Children of Lir, an Irish Folktale as part of their showcase.
- Bruiser Theatre Company (online performance) - Mojo Mickybo (Sep 1-20) One of Northern Ireland’s most vibrant and successful arts organisations, Bruiser produces theatre that is exciting and innovative, down to earth and accessible to all. Mojo Mickybo – set in the summer of 1970 – shows the friendship between two boys growing up in Belfast, a friendship that at first is immune to the sectarian violence taking place around them, but which nonetheless is ultimately destroyed by it.
- Brigid O'Neill (online performance) - Songs for Heritage and Culture of Northern Ireland (Sep 6-20) - Brigid O’Neill from Co. Down is a genre-spanning songsmith whose evergreen music appeals to multiple generations. An immensely gifted story teller, her latest album ‘Touchstone’ sees her effortlessly weave elements of folk, country and jazz into relatable tales of happiness, heartbreak and the human condition. As part of her showcase, she will perform original songs that have been specifically written to interpret and convey information about our cultural and built heritage in Northern Ireland.
- Maiden Voyage Dance (online performance) - Match Make (8 short films) (Sep 1-20) - Maiden Voyage Dance is Northern Ireland’s contemporary dance commissioning company with a vision to place dance at the heart of contemporary culture and a mission to stimulate and enrich people’s lives through high quality dance experiences. They will showcase a series of short films which paired 8 dance artists and 8 artist collaborators during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. Each work was created in response the artist’s changing relationship to their internal and external environments during the first pandemic lockdown and include natural, industrial, rural, urban and coastal settings throughout Northern Ireland.
- Bbeyond (online performance) – Nurture (Sep 1-20) Bbeyond promotes the practice of performance art, aiming to raise people’s consciousness of live/performance art, inspiring reflection and enriching lived experience. In ‘Nurture’ they will explore connection and the possibilities of re-connection to other natural elements, recognising an awareness that we ourselves are part of nature and the interconnection within the natural world, all of which needs to be nurtured.
Speaking about the festival, Rehana Mughal, Director Arts for the British Council China, said: “At this time of limited travel, we are excited to once again bring some of the most dynamic and vibrant artistic and cultural performances, exhibitions and talks from the UK to audiences in China and offer people the choice to experience these in person or online. With the theme of #ReConnect, we hope to inspire our audience to re-evaluate their relationship with the natural environment, their community, and themselves. The world is going though unprecedented changes at this time, and arts and culture have the power to bring people together through presenting programmes in partnership with institutions and artists in the UK and China. The Festival acts as a platform to share knowledge, spark discussions and stimulate thinking among our audiences.”
To find out more and view the full programme – visit http://reconnect.britishcouncil.cn/en/