April Update…

A quick update on all things Unlimited for this month of April. A month in which we begin a new stage of our adventure as a company in the Arts Council’s new National Portfolio

Mostly, we’re in the middle of making a major new show for imove (Yorkshire’s Cultural programme for London 2012) which is part of the the official London 2012 Festival. A collaboration between ourselves, the brilliant circus artist Layla Rosa of Shunt and game design studio Hide&Seek, The Giant & The Bear is a Theatre+Circus “family extravaganza for players of all ages, experience and levels of daring”. There will games, stories, rollerskating bears, flying ballerinas and a circus finale in a Big Top which we’ll be pitching “For One Week Only!”. It’s going to be a LOT of fun.

illustration by Adam Mileusnic

We’ll be launching the adventure 29 June – 8 July 2012 in and around the West Yorkshire Playhouse and Quarry Hill area in Leeds City Centre. Tickets are now on sale.
Before then, you can join us for free in Leeds at 12pm on Saturday 28 April when we’ll be playtesting some of the games and stories we’re making up as part of the fantastic Transform season at the Playhouse – meet us at Box Office on the day for fun for all the family!

Check out previous blog posts on rehearsals (including a video of Chris singing a song dressed as a bear) by clicking on the “Giant & The Bear” category in the panel on your right—–>

In Other News…

The Ethics of Progress recently completed a mini UK tour (a lovely new review from Exeunt Mag here, finishing in South Africa for Scifest Africa where we also ran Space Camp with our new BFF the NASA astronaut Don Thomas.

It was a pretty extraordinary experience and Clare will be posting some stories and pictures here soon.

This month, as part of NASA’s International Space Apps Challenge, Jon is going to be broadcasting live from space throughout the weekend in his role as Director of Human Space Flight Operations for the Unlimited Space Agency. More on how that actually works as soon as we’ve worked it out ourselves!

And if you’re in London, Chris is curating and headlining six nights of new work for Forest Fringe’s season at The Gate. The line-up includes some of our best friends as well as brilliant new people that Chris has met on his travels. Come join him…

There’s LOADS more shows and projects we’re launching this year so stay tuned to know where and when we’re doing stuff. Best way to currently keep up to speed with everything is to follow Creative Director Jon (me!) over on twitter.

Finally, some not so positive news… after nearly 10 years of regular support, Leeds City Council have chosen not to fund us from their budgets over the next 3 years. As proud sons and daughters of the city and having born its flag across the world wherever and whenever we travelled (to Germany, America, the Philippines, the Ukraine, South Africa, the jungles Papua New Guinea to name but a few), this is a very sad moment for us. The decision is particularly disappointing as we only put in a very small bid to support a dedicated programme of work with schools in the city. After 15 years of running innovative and life changing programmes and residencies with teachers and learners in Leeds primary and high schools that have raised levels of attainment and won major national awards we are, frankly, gutted not to be able to guarantee continuing this work in Leeds for the foreseeable future.

We will of course look for other sources of support so we can continue this work but, as we’re all now beginning to experience as well as understand, against a backdrop of heavy cuts from central government these cuts will have a massive (negative) effect throughout the UK and, in this instance, particularly on the educational offer to young people in the city of Leeds. In the meantime, we wish our friends and colleagues in the arts who were supported (even at greatly reduced levels) masses of luck in doing the best with the little that was made available.

” I just wanted to say thanks for everything Unlimited have done for myself and Rodillian School recently.  Especially Jon, who made the whole workshop such a fun place to be! Thanks again, and all the best.” Chris, participant Rodillian School in Leeds.

“I thought I’d email and let you know how things are. The year 13 piece went really well. It was beautifully theatrical and despite being non-chronological really told the story.  Thanks for your involvement. I worked out why you’re so good at it: you love theatre and you love young people doing theatre. For many theatre companies it’s just something that has to be done but I’m convinced you love it. Have a good Christmas and keep in touch.” Jez Stockill – then Deputy Head at Boston Spa school in Leeds.

Piece said. Now, onwards. With reckless optimism! Hopefully see you at some of the shows.