MIF showcase English artists in New York

Lucy McCormick, Jess Thom and Selina Thompson are on the line-up for Under the Radar Festival at The Public Theater this month as part of a new scheme launched by MIF and Arts Council England to showcase English artists in New York.

Over the next three years ourselves and Arts Council England will be working with The Public Theater in New York to showcase the work of acclaimed English artists at Under the Radar, a festival which takes place every January and attracts audiences and performing arts professionals from around the world. Artists will be given help with travel, accommodation and other practicalities to enable them to present work at Under the Radar and will be mentored by MIF to help them maximise the opportunities of showcasing their work at a major international festival.

This is one of a number of international showcasing events that Arts Council England is investing in to promote English artists and companies to a global audience and to provide opportunities for artists to export their work to international markets.

The first artists being supported through the partnership are Lucy McCormick, Jess Thom and Selina Thompson, who are featured at this year’s Under the Radar, which kicks off on Wednesday 8 January and runs until 19 January.

Lucy McCormick with her Girl Squad is presenting her hit show Triple Threat, a trash-step/dub-punk morality play for the modern world, directed by cabaret legend Ursula Martinez. Created and performed by Lucy McCormick, the show runs from 8-10 January at Joe’s Pub.

A scene from Triple Threat, running January 8-10 at Joe’s Pub as part of The Public’s 16th Annual Under the Radar Festival. Photo Credit: The Other Richard

Jess Thom stars in a radically neurodiverse production of Samuel Beckett’s landmark Not I, which runs from 10-19 January at BRICS in Brooklyn. This is the first production featuring someone with Tourette’s performing the playwright’s texts, and all performances are Relaxed and accompanied by an ASL interpreter/performer.

A scene from Not I by Samuel Beckett, running January 10-13, 16-19 at BRIC House as part of The Public’s 16th Annual Under the Radar Festival. Photo Credit: James Lyndsay

Selina Thompson has written salt., which draws on the experience of two artists who retraced the Transatlantic slave trade between the UK, Ghana and Jamaica. Performed by actor and singer Rochelle Rose, salt. runs from 10-19 January at Martinson Hall (The Public).

A scene from salt., running January 10-13, 16-19 at The Public Theater as part of The Public’s 16th Annual Under the Radar Festival. Photo Credit: Johan Persson

Lucy McCormick said: “We couldn’t think of a better place for the US premiere of Triple Threat than at the iconic Joe’s Pub during Under the Radar. Touring to the US for the first time can be a real financial and logistical challenge, so having the support of MIF and Arts Council England to make it possible has been invaluable, and we are pumped for the potential connections and partnerships that will come out of this opportunity.”

Jess Thom said: “I’m really excited to see what conversations the show will generate in terms of access, inclusion and what work is and isn’t made accessible to disabled people. Touretteshero is part of a thriving disability arts scene in the UK and we’re keen to find out how this work will be received in New York. It’s great that we’re getting to BRIC in Brooklyn to show Not I there as part of The Public Theater’s Under the Radar Festival. This represents a longstanding goal for our company, and cold as it’s going to be, I can’t wait!

Selina Thompson said: “I’m so incredibly excited to get to show my work as a part of Under the Radar this year – I think seeing how the work will be responded to in this context will be an enriching experience for myself and my team.

Speaking about the new initiative, Simon Mellor, Deputy Chief Executive, Arts & Culture, Arts Council England, said: “By bringing the best of England’s art and culture to a global audience we help to strengthen our cultural sector, facilitating international partnerships, developing opportunities for artists to export their work and promoting England as an international centre of culture and creativity. We’re proud to continue this work by partnering with Manchester International Festival and The Public Theater to bring these productions by Lucy McCormick, Jess Thom and Selina Thomson to Under the Radar.

Mark Ball, Creative Director at Manchester International Festival said: “It’s fantastic to be working with Arts Council England and our good friends at The Public to showcase some of England’s most exciting artists at Under the Radar. At a time of significant change for our country, it’s vitally important to continue to offer international platforms and opportunities for cultural exchange to artists. Lucy, Jess and Selina are three wonderful talents and we’re thrilled to see them presenting work to New York audiences. This is an important strand in our approach to nurturing the careers of artists as we head towards the opening of The Factory, the landmark venue which will be MIF’s permanent home.”

Mark Russell, Associate Director, Under the Radar Festival, added: “The Public Theater and Under the Radar Festival are very excited to partner with Manchester International Festival and Arts Council England on this new initiative. UTR has had a long ongoing relationship with artists from England and is proud to expand that with this new collaboration. International exchange is a core mission of the Under the Radar Festival and this initiative will bring to light many of the diverse and vibrant theater-makers working in England today.”

We are also supporting a further three English artists to attend the Under the Radar Symposium to meet with potential promoters and presenters. These are Manchester-based theatre maker Javaad Alipoor, best known for his works incorporating real-time mobile technology, including The Believers Are But Brothers (‘an extraordinary teched up show’ New York Times) and Rich Kids: A History of Shopping Malls in Tehran; Rachel Mars whose ‘triumphant’ (Guardian, 4 stars) Your Sexts Are Shit: Older Better Letters was one of the hits of the 2019 Edinburgh Fringe; and Inua Ellams, writer of international hit Barber Shop Chronicles.

The MIF-Arts Council England partnership with Under Radar will run until 2022. Artists selected for 2021 and 2022 will be announced in due course.

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