PRESS RELEASE : Without Walls announces a rich, diverse, socially relevant programme for 2019

13 February 2019

For 2019, Without Walls will support new work by eighteen companies, commissioned by our partners and touring to nine leading outdoor arts festivals across the country.

The new touring programme celebrates artistic innovation and diversity and many shows address the issues of our time; modern slavery, female empowerment, and immigration, in a world where belonging and community is ever-more crucial. Raising the visibility of socially relevant issues in entertaining ways, accessible outdoor arts in public spaces is widely recognised for its power and value in place making and promoting the community spirit.

Josephine Burns, Chair of Without Walls, says

“Without Walls explodes the boundaries of the imagination. Celebrating its 13th season year in 2019, the programme is the biggest ever, taking glorious and socially relevant outdoor shows to festivals across the country. We are thrilled by this programme, made by artists who are unafraid to address some of the most painful and difficult issues that face our society now. And still have a great deal of awesome fun! We know you – our audience – will too.”

Socially relevant, provocative, and entertaining new Without Walls outdoor shows

Justice in Motion and the Inspire Parkour Community, working with Pawel Szkotak (Teatr Biuro Podrozy) presents ON EDGE, an athletic and parkour piece a top a scaffolding site structure about issues of modern slavery and forced labour within the construction industry; Motionhouse presents Wild, a daring dance / circus performance exploring our disconnection with the natural environment, based in and on a forest of poles inspired by a bus stop designed by Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto; Congregation is a new outdoor, immersive, sound art procession from multi-award winning composer and artist Ray Lee. The audience gather in various places in the city; each person is given a mysterious silver sphere which guides them collectively to a secret location by emitting sounds. The mass of ‘singing’ spheres hum louder and louder as the strangers begin to meet each other and the finale gathering creates an overwhelming sense of community and belonging, brought together by sound. Talawa Theatre Company, the UK’s primary Black-led touring theatre company has created The Tide – the company’s first ever show created for outdoor performance. Following the 70th Anniversary of Windrush and ongoing media stories about immigration, this piece has been stimulated by the image of a dinghy arriving on a shore.

Profiling female – led companies touring Without Walls outdoor shows

Without Walls outdoor shows touring the UK include four female-led companies, magnifying positive voice and profile for women in today’s Me Too environment. Initiative.dkf presents Scalped, a dance theatre exhibition piece which features a giant sculpture of Grace Jones and is about the perceptions of Black women’s hair in professional spaces and western society; Kapow Dance Circus Theatre’s Adrift is the story of two women lost at sea on a moving wooden raft. In this journey across oceans, we witness the danger, courage and struggles of the women as they battle the odds and learn to live together in this small and unpredictable landscape.

Mimbre’s Lifted is a collection of choreographies celebrating physical and acrobalance movement and explores the expressions and impressions that appear when three strong women move, lift and balance each other. This brand new outdoor show is a collaborative choreographic indulgence between Mimbre and three guest choreographers Yi-Chun Liu (Taiwan/Belgium) from Peeping Tom; Candelaria (Argentina/Spain) from HURyCAN Dance Company and Gary Clarke (UK).

Mimbre’s joint Artistic Directors are Lina Johansson and Silvia Fratelli (who will perform in Lifted). Mimbre were recently commissioned to choreograph and perform a piece integral to Christian Dior’s Spring Summer 2019 fashion show catwalk in Paris and received outstanding reviews worldwide including:

‘…remarkable female performers…a mix of ages, body types and nationalities, but what they all had in common was astonishing physical strength.’ iD

‘Women stood on other women’s shoulders. They strode along the walkways, held high and visible from every angle, breaking gender barriers and breaking hearts with the symbolism of so much female support: She ain’t heavy—she’s my sister.’ Vogue

Spitz & Co present Les Gloriables, a highly visual and physical performance in French and English, based on Les Miserables. It is about socialism, women and the power of the people, but at its heart is the comic relationship between a selfish diva and her long suffering assistant; Yara El-Sherbini and Davina Drummond, with Artsadmin, present Arrivals + Departures, a flagship, ambitious public space artwork, which announces new births (arrivals) and commemorates lost lives (departures) of individuals. The recognisable format, located in public contexts, poetically teases out the contemplation of life and death, inviting people to question where they are in relation to their own journey in the face of mortality.

Without Walls shows which explore gender identity and disability politics

Stopgap Dance Company presents Frock, a ‘punkish’ explosion of colour and diversity where individuality is joyously celebrated and the question of what is considered acceptable appearance is explored. Tickertape Parade’s Fantabulosa! is a glitter-filled world of drag and queer performance and activities, where anyone can present as they wish, created for 3-8-year olds but fabulous for all ages! Upswing’s Catch Me explores age and gender stereotypes and blends pop up performance, circus and technical tricks to playfully poke at expectations of the relationship between generations, genders, who is of value to whom and who is capable of what.  Wild N Beets’ Buck A Brenda, is a playful ‘end-of-the-pier’ disability politics twist on the classic family favourite game Buck A Roo. The show features an adapted wheelchair machine which tilts and tips objects representing things that are perceived as weighing disabled people down.

More new outdoor shows in the Without Walls 2019 collection

Further shows in the list of eighteen Without Walls new works are: Apocalyptic Circus with My House, a playful experience for children and their families which takes place in a free-standing outdoor magical and quirky structure and explores what habits and routines we create to feel at home and how we must compromise to live alongside others. Joss Arnott Dance presents PULSE! an innovative, new family friendly work, combining intricate choreography and a pounding percussion score set entirely around a five-meter moveable wheel, which doubles up as the percussion kit. Newtons Ladder’s Sirin (Hope is the Thing with Feathers) is the company’s first aerial / dance production for outdoor touring festivals. Drawn from the ancient myths of man falling in love with beautiful half-human creatures, this love story is an up to date expression of the innate human ambition to capture, possess and tame the extraordinary. Plunge Boom with Boing, created by Ben Faulks (CBeebies Mr Bloom’s Nursery), that is about a character that makes noises but never speaks. A unique non-verbal show for all ages combining physical comedy and an inventive soundscape with humour with pathos.  Thingumajig Theatre’s Ghost Caribou is a night-time street procession of giant illuminated `creatures, part caribou, part spirit, which roam a mystical world after dark, accompanied by a wild herdsperson, they tell stories of lost homes, impossible migrations, and seeds of hope.


Without Walls festival partners are: Brighton Festival (4- 26 May); Norfolk & Norwich Festival (10 – 26 May); Wiltshire Creative, Salisbury International Arts Festival (24 May – 9 June);  Greenwich+Docklands Festival (21 June – 7 July); Hat Fair, Winchester (5 – 7 July); Stockton International Riverside Festival (1 – 4 Aug); Just So Festival, Cheshire (16 – 18 Aug); Freedom Festival, Hull ( 30 Aug- 1 Sept); Out There International Festival of Circus & Street Arts, Great Yarmouth (14 & 15 Sept).


For press and media enquires please contact Lesa Dryburgh, Freelance Communications Associate