Playlist: The new generation of UK creators

| by Harriet Guest

The asylum process, the #MeToo movement, the changing face of technology. Artists in this year's Edinburgh Showcase give a fascinating insight into what's happening in contemporary society. Watch our collection of short videos for a snapshot of what's on the mind of UK theatremakers

Louise Orwin's Oh Yes Oh No. Photo: Field and McGlyn

Check out our video playlist below to meet the new generation of UK artists as they critique, question and explore the world today. This is the second in a series of three video blogs, in which we invite you to get ready for this year's Edinburgh Festivals and get to know the productions in our Edinburgh Showcase 2019. 


Battersea Arts Centre and BAC Beatbox Academy: Frankenstein: How To Make A Monster

"The audiences have been going crazy, going nuts, dancing and raving"

The BAC Beatbox Academy, a collective of young beatboxers, musicians and singers local to south London, has been running at the Battersea Arts Centre for ten years. In Frankenstein: How to Make a Monster they reimagine Mary Shelley's classic novel through an electric fusion of hip hop, beatbox, song and spoken word. The production asks the same essential question Shelley did in 1818; what does it mean to be human in the face of changing technology?

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Breach: It's True, It's True, It's True

"A statement of solidarity with anyone who has experienced sexual assault"

A verbatim piece of theatre that recreates the 16th century trial of painter Agostino Tassi, accused of the rape of his student – the female artist Artemisia Gentileschi. The title is taken from Gentileschi's words that she repeats in court, as she was physically tortured during her testimony: "It is true, it is true, it is true." The production recovers the voice of a woman living 400 years ago, rising up against the abuse of a male power structure, a voice that is still poignant today.

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Hackney Showroom – originally developed in association with Ovalhouse & Marlborough Theatre: BURGERZ by Travis Alabanza

"I wanted a way to convey what it was like to be black and trans"

A burger was thrown at Travis Alabanza along with a transphobic slur as they walked through London in broad daylight. Passersby didn't act. "How have we ended up in a place where you're walking past and doing nothing?" asks Alabanza. As one of the most influential trans voices in the UK arts scene, Alabanza wrote BURGERZ to change minds – to encourage audiences to act when they witness harassment and marginalisation.

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Javaad Alipoor: The Believers Are But Brothers

"It's about big questions: masculinity, identity, and how technology is changing who we are"

The Believers are But Brothers tells the story of extremist young men in the UK and Alipoor's attempts to make contact with them online. Audiences are driven through the narrative via a live WhatsApp group. This creates a pressing and immediate way to explore masculinity, identity and the way technology is changing us.

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Keisha Thompson (co-commission by Contact and STUN): Man on the Moon 

"I wanted to explore mental health in a family environment"

Told through a physical journey through Manchester, Thompson tells the story of the journey she had to take to understand her relationship with her Dad. Thompson's work explores taboos, and the taboo she is breaking in Man on the Moon comes from a very personal place – mental health in the family.

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Louise Orwin: Oh Yes Oh No

"Ideas about female desire for centuries have been written by men"

Oh Yes Oh No is a show about female desire that explores sexual assault, rape culture, and breaking out of cycles of shame. Orwin is a live performance artist who creates space for people who identity as female, and gives voice to what it means to be female in a world that prizes masculinity. 

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New Perspectives: The Fishermen

"The reactions from audiences to the play have been really overwhelming"

The Fishermen is an adaptation of Chigozie Obioma's novel that depicts a series of misfortunes that befalls a family in a Nigerian village. This production strips back the saga to a tale of two brothers, who re-live tragic events from their past. The duo provide a powerful performance that embodies and explores familial relationships.

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ThisEgg in collaboration with Made My Wardrobe: dressed.

"The show is about female friendship and the way that women support each other"

After Lydia was assaulted, she created her wardrobe from scratch to reclaim ownership over her body. She asked her three best friends to make a show about what happened to her, and dressed is the result. It explores recovery after trauma whilst presenting different ways women can present themselves on stage; whether through costume design, music, words or choreography. Ultimately it is a celebration of female friendship.

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Tim Cowbury and Mark Maughan in association with James Quaife Productions:The Claim

"If I go back, I will die."

What do refugees go through when they seek refuge in the UK? The Claim looks at the UK asylum process and the notions of 'Britishness' behind the bureaucracy. It illustrates the miscommunication, power imbalance and prejudices inherent in the system through two interviews between a refugee and an official. The production is a result of a research process with development partners, refugees, asylum seekers and migrant organisations

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The British Council’s Edinburgh Showcase is the single biggest opportunity for UK theatre and dance companies to introduce their work to international promoters. The programme comprises new work that represents the very best of contemporary theatre and dance, reflecting the breadth and diversity of British performing arts.

This year's Showcase takes place from Monday 19 to Saturday 24 August 2019. You can view more trailers on the British Council Arts YouTube channel.

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