Celebrating three extraordinary years of international showcasing.
Back in 2020, a consortium of 6 of England’s leading arts organisations working in live performance (BAC, FABRIC, Fierce, GIFT, MAYK and Transform) were commissioned by Arts Council England to create, and deliver, a new international showcase of live performance for Edinburgh’s festivals over three years.
Horizon – Performance Created in England was born and unfolded over the following three years. Horizon began life in the midst of the pandemic, launching as a digital showcase in 2021, before successfully delivering two impactful showcases as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2022 and 2023.
Between 2021 and 2023, Horizon showcased 28 new works by innovative, ground-breaking artists and companies, whose practice spans dance, theatre, live art, installation and contemporary performance. Read all about their work here.
During its lifespan, the Horizon consortium worked alongside Associate Organisations Unlimited, Kakilang, The Cocoa Butter Club, Bush Theatre, ATC, Akademi, Circus City and Tara Theatre to support showcase curation, and with Artist Advisors Natasha Davis, Lucy Suggate, Seeta Patel, Sonia Hughes, Renny O’Shea, Kirsty Housley, Alexandrina Hemsley, Jamila Johnson-Small and Javaad Alipoor to provide mentorship for showcased artists and to contribute to the showcase design.
Horizon was developed out of a collaboration between like-minded programmers with a shared desire to create meaningful international opportunities for artists based in England. Equally, Horizon set out to give international colleagues the chance to encounter some of the most diverse and exciting artists creating performance and embracing experimentation in England today, overtly challenging the status quo of what performance created in England might look like.
Horizon explored new approaches to showcasing. International colleagues were invited to step outside of traditional auditoria, to experience a showcase that took place in locations as varied as the beach, a car park, a swimming pool, and a warehouse, alongside working with multiple venue partners in Edinburgh including Dance Base, Summerhall, the Traverse and Zoo Southside – to name a few.
Horizon’s showcase model brought artists together with international delegates in a way that centred care, access and friendliness, and provided a bespoke opportunity for the showcased artists to start new relationships with international programmers through equitable conversations and genuine opportunities for exchange.
This approach paid off, with the showcased artists from 2021 to 2023 now touring their work to festivals and venues around the world! These include:
- Australia: Sydney Festival, RISING, Canberra Theatre Centre, Perth International Arts Festival
- Belgium: CAMPO, Bâtard Festival
- Brazil: Cultura Inglesa
- Canada: Luminato Festival, PuSh Festival, FTA, Springboard Festival
- Finland: Tampere Theatre Festival
- Germany: Theaterhaus G7, Staatstheater Mainz, Kampnagel, Theaterformen
- Hong Kong: Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Arts
- Iceland: Reykjavik Arts Festival
- Ireland: Dublin Fringe Festival, Dublin Theatre Festival, Project Arts Space
- Peru: BRITANICO Cultural
- Portugal: Teatro do Bairro Alto
- South Africa: National Arts Festival
- Switzerland: Gessnerallee
- Turkey: Istanbul Fringe Festival
Horizon also sought to acknowledge the many ways in which artists and presenters start new relationships, so built a number of artist development opportunities into the showcase model. Horizon Residencies supported 13 artists and companies to develop new performance ideas and engage in dialogue about their works in development with international programmers. Horizon’s Nova and Artist Bursary programmes gave artists with aspirations to tour internationally the opportunity to attend Horizon in Edinburgh, take part in workshops, to soak up the context and begin to make new connections.
International colleagues found Horizon enjoyable and productive, telling us:
“The selection was excellent and the range of aesthetics and perspectives really fresh and reflective of what is developing in the UK.” Horizon International Delegate
“The work presented was relevant, experimental, boundary-pushing and clearly programmed with international presenters in mind.” Horizon International Delegate
Horizon’s showcased artists recognised they were part of something special:
“What was great that Horizon focused on platforming artists who are marginalised – there was a really diverse range of lived experiences, narratives, aesthetics” Horizon 2022 Showcase Artist
Horizon was a three-year project that came to an end in late 2023, see here for the full evaluation.
We are delighted to announce that Arts Council England have confirmed showcase funding for an additional 2 years, but due to reduced investment, the Horizon consortium model will change going forwards.
Fierce, MAYK and Transform will be stepping back from the consortium, and BAC, FABRIC and GIFT will carry forward Horizon’s legacy with a new showcase in 2024 and 2025.