Marlborough Productions has selected four LGBTQ+ artists – Rowdy SS, Tammy Reynolds, Whiskey Chow and Estabrak – for its flagship artist development programme, New Queers on the Block (NQOTB), which is a catalyst for queer culture and community, connecting a network of arts partners in Bradford, Blackpool, Hastings, Folkestone and Brighton.
Over the last four years, Marlborough Productions has supported the artistic development of a number of exciting LGBTQ+ performers through its NQOTB initiative. Now the programme has commissioned these new artists to embark on a six-month development period across NQOTB’s national network.
Three of the artists were selected via an open call which received over 220 applications. The three awards went to multidisciplinary artist Rowdy SS, acerbically political performer Tammy Reynolds and UK-based Chinese drag king, Whiskey Chow. A fourth commission was awarded in partnership with the arts commissioning programme for disabled artists Unlimited and the Asian arts and culture non-profit Bagri Foundation, who chose award-winning cross-disciplinary artist and filmmaker Estabrak.
Rowdy SS works at the intersections of sound, music, dance, movement and live art performance alongside making video. International performances and works have explored love, energy, emotions, feelings, identity and the societal constructs surrounding them. Rowdy will use his residencies to explore each of his practices and continue to develop his ongoing dance/sound/visual performance work BALANCE.
Tammy Reynolds performs as themselves as well as their drag alter-ego Midgitte Bardot. Their work invokes a revolutionary zeal in the most inhibited of people, bringing new horizons of power, disgust, and the brute force of confronting our shared humanity on a dying planet. Whilst in residency, Tammy will explore circus and ‘freak show’ heritage whilst developing their own artistic practice.
Whiskey Chow’s interdisciplinary work combines embodied performance with moving image and experimental sound. Her practice engages with broadly defined political issues, from queer masculinity, problematising the nation-state across geographic boundaries, to Chinese/Asian identity. Whiskey’s residencies will explore queer fight, using the philosophy of martial arts legend Bruce Lee: “Using no way as way; having no limitation as limitation” as a starting point.
Estabrak’s work is multi-sensory in approach. She uses live techniques, film, projection, sound, performance, paint, installation, (underwater) photography, sculpture, words and public participation to help highlight and dismantle ignored socio-political realities. Estabrak’s residency time will be spent creating backgammon sets to instigate conversation with West Asian and North African diaspora in the UK.
The four artists will embed themselves in each location over the next six months. They will use the time to focus on developing their artistic practices with opportunities to share their work and engage with local LGBTQ+ audiences and communities. Their residencies and any sharings will be documented on the new NQOTB website.
The artists will also benefit from residency space, mentoring, access support and professional guidance in producing, marketing and community engagement from Marlborough Productions and national partners: Art B&B and LeftCoast in Blackpool, Bradford Producing Hub and Theatre in the Mill in Bradford, Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts in Brighton, Creative Folkestone, Home Live Art in Hastings, Cambridge Junction and Unlimited.
NQOTB is funded by Arts Council England, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and Paul Hamlyn Foundation.
David Sheppeard and Tarik Elmoutawakil, Executive & Artistic Director, Marlborough Productions, said: “Our NQOTB artist cohort represent some of the boldest and brightest creative talent in the UK right now. We can’t wait to see how they respond to our partner locations, queer communities across the UK and develop their ideas over the next six months.
“We were inundated with fantastic applications for the NQOTB programme, far more than we could support, so we wanted to emphasise that amazing intersectional queer talent is everywhere in this country, the sector just needs to be open to it”
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