New Artist Commissions for Troublemakers' Festival

Posted on: Wednesday, April 19, 2017


Seven artists have been given small commissions to make work for a new festival in Swansea.

The TROUBLEMAKERS' FESTIVAL happens on Swansea’s High Street this summer. It’s a flagship event in a four-year programme which has been exploring new ways of using our High Streets. That programme, called From The Station To The Sea, is an Ideas People Places Project, and has been supported by the Arts Council of Wales and The Foyle Foundation.

The four-day Troublemakers’ Festival in July brings together people from across the UK, who blur the lines between artist, activist and community organiser. Together, they’ll explore some of the different ways that Swansea’s fairly typical High Street could become a more interesting place.

Seven artists have been offered small commissions to make work for the festival, and will appear alongside artists like Mark Thomas, Stella Duffy and Bernadette Russell.

Two local groups - staff in an office building on the High Street and the Swansea Central Women's Institute - devised their own briefs for artists and then selected from the submissions received.

Staff working at COASTAL HOUSING, who have offices on the street and all manage residential property in the area, wanted an artist who would encourage people to visit the High Street during their lunch hour. They commissioned ISMAEL VELASCO’s Secret Cuppa, in which people will be offered a free tea or coffee in return for a secret. The collected secrets will be performed at the end of the day.

SWANSEA CENTRAL WI chose a work by SAMANTHA O'ROURKE. She will tell the story of one night in the life of Swansea women’s rights campaigner Emily Phipps, offering a chance to meet this vibrant, bold and real woman from the history books.

Four other micro-commissions were awarded by the festival in partnership with ELYSIUM STUDIOS, themselves based in former offices on the High Street:

STEPHEN DONNELLY will revive Driftmob, previously seen at the Hazard Festival, Manchester and at Somerset House in London. Join in here!
ABER TAIKO will bring the noise, invite the public to join in with some rather loud drumming.
LEE CAMPBELL will give his entire fee away, paying members of the public £1 a minute to perform on his small stage.
And in a spectacular attempt, the FRIENDS OF THE PALACE THEATRE will invoke the spirit of 1960s artist and activist Abbie Hoffman who tried to levitate the Pentagon - gathering seventy volunteers to try and levitate the derelict Palace Theatre.

A final commission will be given to street photographer MATH ROBERTS, who’ll be asked to capture the spirit of the Troublemakers’ Festival in a series of photographs.

The commissions are just part of a wide-reaching programme, which includes theatre, comedy, film, visual arts and community action which mean it will be impossible to miss what’s happening.

“We’ve commissioned work large and small for this festival,” says programmer Dan Thompson, “to make a festival that matches big gestures with little actions. It’s an exciting few days, that will delight, amuse, mystify and inspire in equal measures.”

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