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  • Posted 28 September 2021

    #ReConnect Festival: Inside LIFT – Dog Ballet and Concept Touring

    #ReConnect 2021 is the British Council’s UK-China contemporary arts festival. Partnering with over 35 cultural organisations from the UK and China, the festival offered thought provoking and stimulating experiences with British arts and culture.

    LIFT, known for presenting powerful, invigorating experiences that challenge artistic, political and social conventions, was invited to present a panel conversation.

    Watch to discover one of LIFT’s 2021 projects, Dog Ballet, co-presented with Artsadmin, and learn how LIFT’s commission Concept Touring will support this work, and others, to continue to tour internationally in a covid-safe and environmentally sustainable way.

    Dog Ballet is a joyful celebration of the dogs and dog owners of London, a playful audio and visual work from Nigel and Louise that premiered on 12th September in London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The audio work, Dog Ballet Solo, is available to listen to in your own local park until 28th October.

    Concept Touring brought together artists and mentors to develop a new methodology to allow artists to collaborate, and art to travel, in a world where physically moving between countries is increasingly challenging.

    Join LIFT artistic director and CEO Kris Nelson, Artsadmin artistic director Róise Goan, and Concept Touring mentor Kee Hong Low (West Kowloon Cultural District, Hong Kong), to get under the skin of LIFT through these two daring projects.

    Click here to watch the panel discussion.


    Speaker Biographies

    Nigel Barrett and Louise Mari – Dog Ballet

    Nigel Barrett and Louise Mari make wild, bold, visual performance for people who don’t really like theatre and unusual theatrical experiences for those who do. They create work both for, and with, children and adults – in traditional theatres and studios, outdoors and in found spaces. They have been commissioned by Manchester International Festival, Tate Britain, the ICA, Museum of London, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, National Theatre Studio, The Science Museum, Cambridge Junction, New Wolsey Ipswich, Torquay Wavelength Festival, Shoreditch Town Hall, Unicorn Theatre and National Theatre Wales. They met as members of pioneering cult performance collective shunt, and together ran the radical arts club and bar ‘the shunt lounge’ under London Bridge station. They received the FringeReview Outstanding Theatre Award for ‘The One Man Show’ and won the Samuel Beckett Award with ‘The Body’ at the Barbican.

    Kris Nelson – Artistic Director/CEO, LIFT

    Kris Nelson became Artistic Director/CEO of LIFT in 2018. He was Festival Director of Dublin Fringe Festival, Ireland’s largest multi-disciplinary arts festival, from 2013-2017, guiding hundreds of artists towards world premieres. He founded the Canadian performing arts touring agency, Antonym. From 2008-2013, Antonym secured tours and co-productions in over 45 cities on 4 continents for artists such as Theatre Replacement, Public Recordings and 2boys.tv. Kris initiated innovative curatorial platforms like PushOFF (Vancouver) and Spark (Montreal) connecting artists to international touring opportunities. Kris was Encounters Curator for Magnetic North Festival and has been a dramaturg for theatres across Canada.

    Kee Hong Low – Head of Theatre, Performing Arts, West Kowloon Cultural District Hong Kong.

    Low Kee Hong is responsible for formulating the district’s artistic direction for Contemporary Performance and Theatre. In this role, he created Hong Kong’s first International Workshop Festival of Theatre, an ongoing series on Scenography, a program on dramaturgy, international residencies with Scotland, New Zealand and Australia, new commissions with the Manchester International Festival and GREC Festival Barcelona. Since 2018, he is the co-curator of the Hong Kong International Black Box Festival with Hong Kong Rep. He was Artistic Director of the Singapore Arts Festival (2010-2012) and General Manager for the Singapore Biennale (2005-2010).

    From the Summer of 2022 at Freespace West Kowloon, Silvia Bottiroli (currently Artistic Director of DAS Theatre and former Artistic Director of Santarcangelo Festival) and Low Kee Hong will co-curate a new platform built around Queering – a practice inspired by theories that re-examines and dismantles accepted frameworks of identity, power and privilege – as a political field and as a methodology: what does it mean to queer our practices? How can we operate within the artistic and cultural field as if it were possible not to be reactionary towards existing positions and protocols? How can curation participate in the creation of our common futures, responding to the needs of the many and supporting the multitudes that are active within civic society? How can we appropriate artistic institutions and transform them into the tools that are needed for a democratic participation in designing the cultural and social dimensions of the arts of the present time? The platform proposes many speculative futures and an understanding of curation as one of the attempts we can make to rehearse and trial the world that we would like to live in.

    Róise Goan 

    Róise Goan is Artistic Director of Artsadmin. Prior to this, she worked as Guest Dramaturg at Vooruit in Belgium, and as a freelance arts programmer in Ireland. She is Artistic Director of The Local Group, which creates performance projects with communities of place and interest in off-the-grid locations, including Foyle Punt in 2018 and founded on the experience of making She Knit The Roof for Earagail Arts Festival in 2015. 

    Róise Goan studied Drama and Theatre Studies at Trinity College Dublin graduating in 2004. In 2008, she was appointed as Director of Dublin Fringe Festival, which she led for 5 years of strong artistic growth, and where she established Fringe Lab, a year-round studio and artist-support programme. Since 2014, she has built a portfolio of freelance work. Highlights include working with Prime Cut in Belfast on artist development, and two ECOC bids. Alongside her work in the performing arts, she has written for television, most notably the TG4 series Aifric. She serves on the boards of Macnas and The Lir.