New strategic arts initiative Something to Aim For, which supports artists with lived experience of discrimination creating socially engaged work, has announced its first season including works from international cabaret icon Le Gateau Chocolat and radical performance artist FK Alexander. From self-destruction to self-expression, from isolation to austerity, the artists tackle pressing social issues with their own distinctive performance styles including cabaret, performance art and grime and rap.
The world premiere of Le Gateau Chocolat’s PANDORA represents a significant shift in the scale and ambition of his work to date. Engaging with power in relation to both identity (race, class and gender) and society (politics, economics and disenfranchisement), it has been commissioned by The Lowry as part of WEEK 53 (2 – 3 May) where he is joined onstage by the Manchester Camerata, and by Lawrence Batley Theatre Gateau will also be performing Duckie at the Southbank Centre (15 – 18 Feb), where the show premiered. Gateau’s take on Hans Christian Anderson’s The Ugly Duckling, his first work for children, is a celebration of what makes us different told with family-friendly glamour and glitz.
FK Alexander is a Glasgow based Performance Artist whose aesthetically driven work is concerned with issues of wounds, recovery, aggressive healing, radical wellness, industrialisation and noise music. In her Total Theatre Award-winning I Could Go On Singing she sings along to the final recording of Judy Garland singing Over the Rainbow hand-in-hand with a self-selected audience member (Southbank 24 – 26 Feb).
Remastered to look at the future in 2024, Merryville from HighRise Theatre is an honest account of what it means to live as a born and bred Londoner in a time of the housing crisis, Brexit and dirty politics. With MP rap battles, tactics for revolution, and a dealer’s guide to inflation, the grime concept-concert returns to Camden People’s Theatre (14 – 18 Apr). Meanwhile, they will be working with young multi-disciplinary artists aged 16-26 to create a new public performance, NEW GENs at Shoreditch Town Hall (2 Apr). HighRise are a BAME led theatre collective who seek to spark conversations and build bridges between forgotten communities by representing the rhythm of the streets.
Something to Aim For is the new strategic arts initiative backed by the Wellcome Trust. The newly launched charity aims to improve community health and social well-being by supporting artists with lived experience of discrimination due to aspects of their identity and audiences affected by cultural bias through the creation of works with a social mission, helping build communities and address societal issues.STAF’s projects increase impact and engagement within the communities they support. This includes offering support to those with lived experience of discrimination due to aspects of their identity, artists and audiences affected by cultural bias, and anyone disenfranchised or undervalued by current models of funding, curation and institutional support.
As well as initiating their own projects, festivals and events, STAF commits to periods of sustained support for artists whose work is relevant to these conversations, building the conditions for their ideas to flourish.
Tracy Gentles, Creative Director of Something to Aim For, said, “Something To Aim For has been created as a vehicle to push forward our aims and objectives by working in partnership with artists and a range of national allies across arts, health and social change.
“We have worked with all the artists we present to develop their practices over time, and I hugely admire them for their innovation, fearlessness and resilience. Through profiling this kind of work, which looks critically at the health of society, we hope to make explicit the potential of the arts to open up conversation and the possibility for change in wider society.”