TOUCH≈ Aug 13-22
A remote & present festival about isolation
WHERE: @ The Alhambra, Morecambe, North West England
WHEN: Friday August 13 to Sunday August 22 (not Saturdays 14 & 22) 2021
Curated by the Other National Theatre
* * *
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, age, social, 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 (‘Touch’ includes ‘ouch!’).
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.
Each piece will be 3mins 30secs long — the current average length of a pop song — or 8mins 20secs long – the length of time it takes for light to touch the Earth from the Sun … and also the the length of time it takes to fall in love.
It is Covid-safe.
Spread over two weeks (10 weekdays) in August, 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.
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.
Local, national and international creative people. This was intended to be an international festival about keeping in touch that started before the Covid Pandemic. Now it’s about getting back in touch and things have obviously changed — most of all the fact that we’re focusing for the first TOUCH≈ on local, Northern and national work. So a lot of what follows below is the original plan but still relevant to the original spirit and what we hope to do in the next edition of TOUCH≈.
So if we have a budget, we’d like to also aim for someone from 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 a visual or audio installation that will speak to the onlooker and engage them on the theme of keeping in touch during isolation.
They can be physically present in the Alhambra, or available on our site digitally.
Each piece might 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 to help us to do this.
We the organisers have no budget. That is the reality of the arts in the UK and the reality of Morecambe — and this was the case long before Covid. There is no one locally who can support — there are other priorities obviously.
But the isolation caused by Covid is the trigger for 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.
Hopefully we can also arrange Covid-safe live performances in the theatre itself.
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.
* * *