City prepares to welcome international arts community

The artistic programme features local, regional and UK talent including Middle Child, Candoco Dance Company (pictured), Scottee and Ad Infinitum and is open to the general public as well as IETM delegates.

Next month, Hull will welcome the international performing arts community to the city, as Absolutely Cultured, IETM and partners Arts Council England and the British Council host IETM Hull 2019. 

The exciting programme of talks, discussions, workshops and performances will explore the subject of inclusion, showcasing the diverse practice of local, regional and national artists and celebrating international collaboration and cooperation.  

Open to everyone and anyone, the timely programme will give the national and international arts community an insight into what is special about the contemporary performing arts sector across Hull, the north of England and wider UK.

Absolutely Cultured has produced an exciting artistic programme that showcases award-winning local artists including the latest play by Middle Child, Us Against Whatever, while Silent Uproar will perform its 2017 hit play, A Super Happy Story About Feeling Super Sad.   

Over four days, 10 diverse performances, including dance, comedy, immersive theatre and spoken word will take place in venues across the city, giving local people the opportunity to see many shows and artists who have never before performed in Hull. 

Internationally renowned Candoco Dance Company, a company of disabled and non-disabled dancers, will perform in the city offering audiences a profound and boundary-pushing experience in its latest double bill, Face In by Yasmeen Godder, and Let’s Talk About Dis by Hetain Patel.  

No Kids is the latest energetic, hilarious, moving and thought-provoking play from the multi-award-winning Bristol-based company, Ad Infinitum, while in Fat Blokes, Scottee uncovers why fat men are never sexy but are always funny in a hilarious dance show of sorts. 

Delegates will explore art in the city, across venues including Hull Truck Theatre, Middleton Hall, The Guildhall, Hull College, Ferens Studio, Royal Hotel, New Theatre, City Hall and the Maritime Museum.  

Keynote speakers include Sade Brown, an award-winning social entrepreneur and founder of Sour Lemons, which addresses the lack of diversity in leadership within the creative, cultural and social sectors, and British theatre-maker and comedian Jess Thom, founder of Touretteshero. 

IETM is a membership organisation for contemporary performing arts, with more than 500 members from over 50 countries. With a mission to advocate for the value of the arts and culture in a changing world, IETM holds two plenary meetings each year in different European cities. Hull will be the first UK city to host a plenary since 2010.

Creative Director and CEO of Absolutely Cultured, Katy Fuller, said: “We’re delighted to unveil the programme for IETM Hull 2019 as we prepare to welcome the international performing arts community to our city. 

“Hosting the IETM meeting is fantastic news for Hull; these events are recognised as occasions where new international partnerships are fostered, working practices are shared and the host region and country has the opportunity to showcase what is exciting and unique about its performing arts sector.

“I’m also thrilled that it gives us the opportunity to present a performance programme which is for the general public as well as delegates of IETM. I’m sure our local audiences will make the most of the chance to see amazing visiting artists like Candoco, Scottee and Ad Infinitum as well as continuing to show their loyal support for Hull’s own Middle Child and Silent Uproar.  

“The subject of inclusion in arts and culture is fascinating and rich and gives us a huge amount to discuss, debate, challenge and celebrate over the four days.  We will also enjoy showing our international colleagues what a brilliant city Hull is, with local artists hosting dinners and city walks alongside the main programme. Furthermore, we will be promoting the importance of international collaboration and cooperation in these uncertain times.  

“We want people to explore the programme, explore the city, share experiences and build relationships. This is an incredible opportunity for us all and I urge people to register for an early bird ticket for the plenary meeting which are available until Friday 22 February, and also to book tickets for the exciting performance programme.” 

Nan van Houte, IETM’s Secretary General, said: “Inclusion is on top of IETM’s mission and agenda. We strongly believe art can challenge dominant narratives, empower individuals and bring communities together. IETM aims to create a more inclusive contemporary arts field by stimulating our members to diversify their organisations and work, and supporting underrepresented performing arts practices to access our activities and network.  

“We appreciate this wonderful opportunity to gather our members and art professionals from outside the network in Hull for a four-day reflection on how we can tackle inclusion in an international setting, with a mix of different realities and various stances on the topic. Organising this meeting on the supposed eve of Brexit is symbolic expression of solidarity with our UK-based colleagues.” 

Nick McDowell, Director of International, Arts Council England said: “At the Arts Council we’re very proud to be a partner in bringing IETM to the UK and to have supported the event through National Lottery funding. Hosting such a significant event in Hull, the first IETM Plenary in the UK since 2010, is a further vote of confidence in Hull’s status as an international cultural city. The event brings with it some fantastic opportunities for artists from the North and across the country to showcase their work. And, vitally, the chance to strengthen networks, partnerships and collaborations with theatre-makers across Europe.”

Theatre and Dance Senior Programme Manager at the British Council, Andrew Jones, added: “This is a great opportunity to build on the legacy of Hull UK City of Culture 2017. The British Council was the international partner of Hull 2017 and see this as a great opportunity to sustain the legacy of its year of culture, building on the city’s celebration of international arts and local artists and communities. We’re delighted to be working alongside artists and cultural partners in Hull as well as Arts Council England, to collectively champion this event and continue to cement Hull’s reputation as a thriving cultural centre.”

IETM Hull 2019 will be attended by member and non-member organisations and individuals working in contemporary performing arts. It is anticipated that it will be the largest ever attendance from the UK membership at a plenary meeting.        

Members of the public are invited to attend the artistic programme and can purchase tickets from Hull Truck Theatre Box Office from Friday 22 February 2019.                        

Early bird tickets for the plenary meeting are priced €100 (approx £88) and are available until 22 February 2019.  For more information or to register your place visit: https://www.ietm.org/. 

Produced by Absolutely Cultured in partnership with Arts Council England and British Council. With support from Creative Europe, Flanders State of the Art, Hull City Council and Visit Britain.

[Rebecca Aspin – Absolutely Cultured]

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