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Trish Wheatley gives her first reactions to the Unlimited selections / 1 April 2014

six guises of artist Katherine Araniello created for The Dinner Party

The Dinner Party. Image © Katherine Araniello

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Unlimited represents a big investment in disabled artists and the selection for this round of full commissions and research and development projects contains some really exciting work.

After the huge success of the Unlimited programme in 2012, which culminated in the Unlimited Festival at the Southbank Centre it is easy to try to make comparisons. Without the backdrop of the Olympic and Paralympic Games there is less funding – and that which is available has to stretch across three years, but investments from Arts Council England and Creative Scotland, combined with a collaborative delivery team from Shape and Arts Admin means there is still much to look forward to from this programme. This will include another partnership with the Southbank Centre plus a welcome emphasis on touring in the regions.

The main 2014 programme comprises of nine commissions with an interesting selection that leans towards theatre, dance and performance/live art. Recent productions including Let Me Stay (Vital Exposure/Julie McNamara), Edmund the Learned Pig (Fittings) and Wendy Hoose (Bird of Paradise Theatre) will tour, exposing the work to new audiences. 

I’m delighted that Dao blogger Katherine Araniello has received a commission and I’m really looking forward to her work in The Dinner Party Revisited, which “sees the artists play host to six television monitor ‘guests’, all played by Araniello” with the work forming “a satirical and darkly comic take on some of the clichés around disability.”

A first for Unlimited is a poetry collection called Otherwise Unchanged by Owen Lowery, which I’m very curious to find out more about. There are 17 R&D grants being given and the rumour is we may see the work in progress at Southbank Centre and other venues over the coming months. Dao will be following these closely so look out for interviews with the artists.

Ultimately, it’s an exciting time for many and there is another round still to come for those who weren’t successful this time. 

Dao is the official media partner for Unlimited and we are pleased to be working to bring you all the latest news and insights on this exciting programme.  Watch this space!

Keywords: unlimited