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Sydney Opera House and the British Council launch a free season of new UK digital performance works available to watch on Stream

The Sydney Opera House and the British Council today launch a new cutting-edge digital performance program for the UK/Australia Season, the largest cultural exchange between Australia and the United Kingdom celebrating the diverse and innovative artist communities of each nation. Available for a limited time on Stream, the Opera House’s dedicated streaming platform, the first 10 releases will showcase the diverse voices and cultures of contemporary United Kingdom as the works explore the question ‘Who Are We Now?’.

The December – January UK/AU Digital Season features the following titles:

  • National Theatre of Scotland: Adam – written by acclaimed Scottish playwright Frances Poet and co-directed by Cora Bissett and Louise LockwoodAdam was inspired by the life of Adam Kashmiry and features Kashmiry in the titular role. Adam tells the remarkable true story of a young Egyptian trans man and his struggle across genders and borders to be himself. Originally a multi-award winning National Theatre of Scotland stage play, Adam has been reinvented as a riveting, theatrical on-screen drama, produced by Hopscotch Films.
  • Impermanence Dance and Bristol Old Vic: Lady Blackshirt – critically-acclaimed UK dance company Impermanence commissioned 100 artists to respond to century-old articles from early modernist magazines. The result is a powerful dance-based film that takes its name from one of the featured stories, that of Suffragette and early feminist Mary Richardson, who in 1914 vandalised a painting of Venus in the National Gallery in protest of her comrade’s imprisonment, but who would later go on to lead the women’s section of the British Union of Fascists.
  • Fevered Sleep: 8 Tender Solitudes  a dance film created during lockdown in collaboration with seven extraordinary dancers, each performing alone, 8 Tender Solitudes explores how the pandemic has changed the ways we connect with our friends and our loved ones. Featuring a soaring score by composer Kate Whitley, this new work is made from yearning and sensuality, anger and frustration and grief, memory and love. It explores the question: ‘When we’ve lived like this for so long, can touch ever be the same?’
  • On Par Productions: Louder Is Not Always Clearer – for most, a dinner party is a chance to unwind and relax, but for Jonny, who is Deaf, it’s a constant struggle to keep up with his friends and their ever-changing conversations. Adapted from the critically-acclaimed, one-man theatre production, Louder Is Not Always Clearer tells contemporary performer Jonny Cotsen’s story through an audio-visual, time-travelling adventure, offering up moments from his life where his deafness has landed him in sticky situations. For hearing viewers, it is an illuminating and emotional experience. For Deaf viewers, the film is a familiar tale of misunderstanding and isolation.
  • Stopgap Dance: Artificial Things – filmed on location in a derelict suburban shopping mall and featuring an ensemble of disabled and non-disabled dancers, Artificial Things is a re-imagining of the critically-acclaimed stage work of the same name and features dancers Amy Butler, Laura Jones, Chris Pavia, David Willdridge and Dave Toole, who devised the original piece. Originally choreographed by Lucy Bennett and adapted for the screen by filmmaker Sophie FiennesArtificial Things uses inclusive choreography to explore emotions of anxiety, vulnerability, interdependence and ultimately joy.

The following title will be available on-demand from January 2022:

  • Corey Baker: Swan Lake Ballet – created remotely during the pandemic, award-winning choreographer Corey Baker reimagines Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake Ballet in this dazzling short film featuring 27 elite ballet dancers filmed in bathtubs from across the world. A visually mesmerising and playful film, Swan Lake Ballet was commissioned by the BBC as part of their Filmed in Lockdown series in 2020, aimed at bringing joy to audiences through art via the screen.
  • mandla rae, as british as a watermelon – Queer Zimbabwean writer, performer and curator, mandla rae, asks questions about belonging, trauma and forgiveness in this unflinching auto-fiction digital performance. Weaving in poetry and storytelling, the work is told through the exploration of mandla’s fragmented asylum and migration memories within a chaotically colourful, sensory performance space.
  • Mind The Gap: A Little Space – two leading UK theatre companies have produced the film version of Mind the Gap’s physical theatre A Little Space, with returning cast Paul Bates, Lorraine Brown, Alison Colborne, JoAnne Haines and Charlotte Jones. A co-production with Gecko, A Little Space observes the lives of five people living in an apartment block and explores interweaving themes of isolation, agency, community and personal space drawn from the performers’ own experiences.
  • Boy Blue: R.E.B.E.L – created by UK hip-hop dance company Boy Blue and commissioned by Sky Arts, Art 50 and co-funded by the Barbican, R.E.B.E.L is a rallying call for solidarity in action. It was created by, and features, young dancers from London who weren’t able to vote in the EU referendum. The work responds to challenging questions around cultural identity, what it means to belong to a community, how young people deal with feelings of powerlessness and how they move forward within a fractured and polarized country.
  • Rachel Bagshaw & China Plate: Where I Go (When I Can’t Be Where I Am) – with a gripping performance by Hannah McPake, the Australian premiere of Rachel Bagshaw and China Plate’s new work was adapted from and created by the team behind the multi-award winning theatre show, The Shape of the Pain. Filmed in isolation with sound design and editing that evokes the synesthetic experience, this is an insightful exploration of love, solitude and living with a rare, chronic pain condition. 

Supported by the UK/Australia Season Patrons Board, the British Council and the Australian Government as part of the UK/Australia Season.

Also available on Stream this summer: Australian documentary Firestarter, which tells the story of Bangarra Dance Theatre’s birth and spectacular growth; a selection of free digital performances by the Sydney Symphony; and the full season of Liminal: A Music Film Series available to view on demand. In January as part of Sydney Festival, the visually arresting 10-hour performance work, Thaw by Legs On The Wall will be available to watch as a free livestream on Saturday 15 January 2022 from 10am to 8.30pm.