Jonny Cotsen in Mr and Mrs Clark's Louder Is Not Always Clearer. Photo: Jorge Lizalde
The British Council's Edinburgh Showcase is the single biggest opportunity for UK artists to introduce their work to international promoters. Selected through an open call, the productions represent the very best in contemporary UK theatre and dance.
Our programme this year explores current societal, political and personal themes – including motherhood, mental health, marginalisation and sexuality.
Following our announcement of all 30 productions, see below for more about each show. All these productions are part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe or Edinburgh International Festival, and are available for public booking through the festival box offices.
Edinburgh Showcase 2019 in pictures
Edinburgh Showcase 2019 programme:
Fusing handcrafted animation, live music and storytelling, roots unearths a catalogue of thousands of little-known folk tales.
Amy Bell: The Forecast
The Forecast is a full-length solo dance theatre show which puts an LGTBQ+ woman's perspective front and centre. It celebrates with irony, warmth and candour the experience of having often been the only 'dyke' in the dance class.
Battersea Arts Centre and BAC Beatbox Academy: Frankenstein: How to Make a Monster
Fuses hip hop, beatboxing, song and theatre to take apart Mary Shelley's classic novel and reimagine a world of modern monsters. Created by a dynamic collective of young artists from Battersea Arts Centre's project, BAC Beatbox Academy.
Becky Namgauds: Like Honey
Stereotypical ideas of female beauty and ugliness collide in Like Honey, which explores the "divine feminine" and the gendered shame of menstruation. Using krump, a dance style often recognised for its masculine energy, two women perform a live symbiosis of sound and movement to break the rhetoric of female "prettiness".
Birds of Paradise Theatre Company: Purposeless Movements
Four men stand on stage. They have cerebral palsy. When they were born, doctors called their condition "purposeless movements." For them, it's just how they move.
Breach Theatre: It's True, It's True, It's True
An all-female verbatim courtroom drama that restages the 1612 trial of baroque painter Agostino Tassi for the rape of his student Artemesia Gentileschi. It's True, It's True, It's True recovers the voice of a woman who lived 400 years ago, speaking directly to today's gender politics and male abuses of power in the creative industries.
Bryony Kimmings: I'm a Phoenix, Bitch
Combining personal stories with film, soundscapes and music, Kimmings creates a powerful, joyful and dark world about motherhood, heartbreak and finding inner strength. I'm a Phoenix, Bitch explores trauma, recovery, postnatal depression, myth and story.
Cade & MacAskill in association with Take Me Somewhere: Moot Moot
Moot Moot is a response to the power of opinion and the nature of debate in the current climate. It's a neverending radio phone-in with doppelgänger talk-show hosts Barry & Barry. Navigating echo chambers, endless social media streams, horrific news reports, and mundane social interactions.
China Plate and Staatstheater Mainz present: Status written and performed by Chris Thorpe and directed by Rachel Chavkin
We all have a nationality. Or almost all of us. Status is a show about someone who doesn't want his any more. Incorporating songs as well as stories, the piece is about the impulse to escape national identity.
Chisato Minamimura: Scored in Silence
A digital sign language performance that blends digital artistry, signed performance and 3D projection. It unpacks the hidden perspectives of elderly deaf people with experience of the A-bomb atrocities in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Colette Sadler: Learning from the Future
Set in a fictional future, a futuristic female cyborg inhabits a science-fiction like setting. The idea of a futuristic 'post-life' in this dance performance is taken as a poetic means to speculate on an inconceivable reality beyond the body.
Hackney Showroom presents: BURGERZ by Travis Alabanza
After someone threw a burger at them and shouted a transphobic slur, Travis Alabanza became obsessed with burgers. BURGERZ is told through Alabanza's own testimony, charting the harassment they received as a non-binary person of colour throughout a year.
Javaad Alipoor: The Believers Are But Brothers
A product of hours spent diving into an online world of extremists, police spies and fantasists. This piece scours the darkest corners of the web and the generation of young men who are immersed in an online world. Using smartphones and WhatsApp, The Believers Are But Brothers engages audiences in a way that breaks the rules of straight theatre.
Karl Jay-Lewin and Matteo Fargion: Extremely Pedestrian Chorales
Extremely Pedestrian Chorales takes its form and structure from the sublime harmonies of Bach’s famous Chorales, adding a dash of punkish irreverence and 18th century powder wigs. A beguiling mix of high and low art, exploring the languages of every day movement.
Keisha Thompson co-commissioned by Contact and STUN: Man on the Moon
This piece depicts a journey through Manchester from Thompson's home to her father's. She explores their relationship, his mental health and his identity as a black British man.
Lost Dog Dance: Juliet and Romeo
It turns out Romeo and Juliet didn't die in a tragic misunderstanding. Now they are 40ish, at least one of them is in the grips of a mid-life crisis, and they feel constantly mocked by their teenage selves. Lost Dog blends dance, theatre and comedy to take on our cultural obsession with youth and our inevitable issues with longevity.
Louise Orwin: Oh Yes Oh No
A research-driven performance using audio from extensive interviews with trans and female-identifying subjects and survivors of sexual abuse, Oh Yes Oh No asks difficult questions about consent, desire and a widening culture of sex positivity.
Mr and Mrs Clark: Louder is Not Always Clearer
Jonny is a teacher, a father, a campaigner and an artist. Jonny was born deaf to hearing parents who were afraid that disability would stigmatise their son. From an early age, he felt disconnected from his disability and from the world around him. Louder is Not Always Clearer is a one man show telling his funny and moving story.
National Theatre of Scotland in Association with the Royal Court Theatre, Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts and Teatro do Bairro: Total Immediate Collective Imminent Terrestrial Salvation
A new play by Tim Crouch presented through stage action and illustrated text. It tells the story of a man who manipulates a group of people to sit in a place together and believe in something that isn’t true. Audience and actors turn a book’s pages together, study the images, and sometimes share the words.
National Theatre Wales: Cotton Fingers
Cotton Fingers is a coming of age story about a young woman growing up in a West Belfast estate. She travels to Wales to obtain an abortion that she cannot access at home. Against the background of global debate and socio-political upheaval, this piece explores family relationships, secrecy, guilt and the power young women hold over their futures.
New Perspectives Theatre Company: The Fishermen
An adaptation of Chigozie Obiama's novel, The Fishermen follows a family in a small Nigerian town. A Macbeth-like prophecy changes the lives of the elder two brothers forever in this allegory of brotherhood, vengeance and fate.
Nikki & JD presented by Jacksons Lane: Knot
This two-performer piece uses circus, dance and text to examine the struggles of a gay man and his heterosexual acrobatic partner. It explores human relationships and LGBTQ+ identity through moments of conflict, trust, dependency and confession.
Oona Doherty and Prime Cut Productions: Hard To Be Soft – A Belfast Prayer
A dance piece for and about the people of Belfast. Created by Belfast-based choreographer and dancer Oona Doherty, Hard To Be Soft looks behind the masks of violence and machismo to the inner lives of Belfast hard men and strong women.
Ridiculusmus: Die! Die! Die! Old People Die!
In a world where death and grieving have been medicalised out of existence, David Woods and Jon Haynes become 120-year-old versions of themselves. Amid daily rounds of coffee, call centres, cat food and fumbling Die! Die! Die! Old People Die! shines a light on ageing.
Scottish Dance Theatre: RITUALIA
RITUALIA is a reimagining of Igor Stravinsky's and Bronislava Nijinska's 1920s modernist ballet Les Noces. Abandoning the gender hierarchies of the original ballet, this piece interrogates gender hierarchy, androgyny and the performance of sex appeal.
Seeta Patel & Lina Limosani: Not Today's Yesterday
An international collaboration between UK artist Seeta Patel and Australian choreographer Lina Limosani, this one-woman show blends techniques from bharatanatyam, contemporary dance and theatre. This piece opens up difficult conversations about Britain and Australia's relationships with indigenous and migrant communities, giving a voice to lost histories.
Seke Chimutengwende & Alexandrina Hemsley: Black Holes
Black Holes retells the history of the universe from the big bang to the universe's death through dance and poetic text. Chimuntengwende and Hemsley draw on their autobiographies to situate experiences of racism and marginalisation within this tale of birth and death.
Sue MacLaine Copmany: vessel
vessel looks at anchoristism – a life of strict spiritual withdrawal. In a world of protests, political incompetence and lack of understanding, vessel presents the contrasting voices, and silences, of four women. Can shutting oneself off from the world could be considered the most radical protest of all?
ThisEgg in collaboration with Made My Wardrobe: dressed.
Following a traumatic attack In 2016, Lydia set out to create her entire wardrobe from scratch, to redress herself in a new healing set of armour. She asked her three best friends to make a show with her – to perform the past and remake the future.
Tim Cowbury and Mark Maughan in association with James Quaife Productions: The Claim
An imaginative response to the stories of those seeking refuge in the UK, The Claim is the product of a research process with development partners, refugees, asylum seekers and migrant organisations. The piece asks what happens when your life is at stake and all you have to save it are your words.
Although Edinburgh Showcase networking events are by invitation only, anyone can buy tickets for the performances through the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Edinburgh International Festival box offices.
Apply to be an Edinburgh Showcase delegate:
If you're a performing arts programmer based outside the UK and you're interested in being an international delegate, speak to your local British Council arts contact or complete the online application form. Please email email@example.com if you any questions.
The British Council seeks out new work in Edinburgh once the festivals begin for our Recommended Shows. These are productions that we announce on the week of the Edinburgh Showcase and recommend as new hot tips to our delegates. There will be members of our Theatre and Dance team in Edinburgh throughout August seeing performances to recommend from amongst the thousands of shows at the festivals. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a show in Edinburgh that you'd like us to consider. We'll add it to our list and will do our very best to attend.
Many thanks to the Edinburgh Showcase 2019 curatorial panel:
Paul Burns, Head of Dance, Creative Scotland (UK)
Maggie Dunning, Development Officer, Arts Council of Wales (UK)
Tarek Iskander, Director, Theatre, Arts Council England (UK)
Andrew Jones, Senior Theatre and Dance Programme Manager, British Council (UK)
Laura Mackenzie-Stuart, Head of Theatre, Creative Scotland (UK)
Kath M Mainland CBE, Executive Director, Melbourne International Arts Festival (Australia)
Carole McFadden, Theatre and Dance Programme Manager, British Council (UK)
Freddie Opoku-Addaie, choreographer (UK)
Kathrin Vesser, Dramaturg and Artistic Director, Gessnerallee Zürich (Switzerland)
Meiyin Wang, curator and independent producer (USA)
Chair: Neil Webb, Director Theatre and Dance, British Council (UK)
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