TOUCH

A remote & present festival about isolation

@ The Alhambra, Morecambe, North West England
April 2021
Curated by the Other National Theatre

In the planning stages – get in touch with ideas!: festival director Nick Awde – nick@deserthearts.com
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Isolation…

What does it mean to be
in TOUCH with each other
in TOUCH with our work
in TOUCH with the news
in TOUCH with reality
… and what is reality now?

Touch gives a voice to those who were already isolated before the isolation of Covid — and, in the UK’s case, Brexit.
Touch is a platform for the marginalised communities that are common to all our societies — pandemic, political, gender, race, sexuality, age, class, language, health, economic, geography, education, ecology…
Touch celebrates talent that is held back, visions that are left behind, dreams that are closed away.
Touch will be a leftfield inspiration for our world’s uncertain future.

THE SHOW
Touch is a festival of live remote interactive theatre pieces set in installations.
It celebrates the local, national and international response of ordinary people to the pandemic.
It is Covid-safe.
Spread over two weeks in April, it is open to audiences in person and streamed, possibly free.

It will not passively receive audiences, it will also have an outreach focus on schools, care homes and those locked at home.
The pieces can be in any language, including Sign Language, with translations in English.
Any genre welcome, politics less so.
Themes and presentation need to for a ‘general’ audience and especially for those who would never go to anything theatrical.
Underlying it all is the idea of tackling the fact that artists and audiences can be both isolated, and also the idea of giving voices the platform they deserve and not ‘discovering’ them.

WHERE?
It is a takeover of the Alhambra Theatre in Morecambe.
The installations will take over every inch of the building and its halls, rooms and corridor, the streets around it, the Promenade and the amazing expanse of beach stretching out beyond the shore.

WHO?
Every member country of the European Union and countries from Wider Europe.
In the case of large nations, practitioners, companies and venues will come from communities that are already remote from the metropolis centres and do not benefit from proximity to the big cultural hubs.
Material should relate to the reality of a community, while participants can be equally professionals or non-professionals.

HOW WILL IT WORK?
Each piece will be an installation that will speak to the onlooker and engage them on the theme of keeping in touch during isolation.
Each piece will also have a ‘human’ show — recorded, live remote, or live present in the theatre —  that builds on the installation, played back/performed at certain times over the two weeks.
There’ll be a cycle inbuilt into the programme that will rotate the live show elements of each piece across each day to different time slots creating access to all pieces across the fortnight.
If we fund people from outside the region, we will ask them to hold workshops/skillshare in Morecambe — and will welcome any offers in general to do this.

HOW?
We the organisers have no budget. That is the reality of the arts in the UK and the reality of Morecambe even before Covid. There is no one locally who can support – we have other priorities obviously.
But Covid is the subject of the show and so Covid gives us the solution to the tricky finances of an international festival. Audiences are now more accepting of remote performances (THERE) within installations (HERE) that are built specially by you and installed by us. Of course we can also arrange Covid-safe live performances in the theatre itself.

INCOME?
We will continue look for funding and sponsorship but morally and practically it should go to support local talent in Morecambe since there is very little support for artists here. If you have access to funding in your country that allows you to do work overseas, this will help us raise money here for the festival’s structure, plus of course the work that you create for TOUCH can be shown in your own home country and in others too.

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