Lost in Blue, written and performed by Debs Newbold, is touring the UK in 2016. The show, which earned Debs the 2016 Edinburgh Acting Award from Summerhall, is directed by John Wright and produced by Nimble Fish with support from Arts Council England.
In 2016-17, Nimble Fish is leading the Cultural Learning Community programme for A New Direction. The programme works with 26 invited London teachers interested in becoming advocates for the importance of the arts and culture in education. Also for AND, NF is curating and hosting a series of Creative INSET programmes in film, music, dance, theatre and heritage for London teachers wanting to build skills in those art forms.
Indigenous is an original literary performance work, currently in funded development, that will seek to explore the chasm between globalism and localism in the context of Brexit. The work is supported by Arts Council England, Counterpoint Arts, and Tri-Borough Libraries and Arts Service. One or more initial showings will happen in early 2017.
Selected Recent Work
In 2015, Nimble Fish produced a 17-date UK tour of My Father and Other Superheroes, written and performed by award-winning performance poet Nick Makoha. Nimble Fish and Nick ran a concurrent pilot programme called Re:Play, which selected and mentored six performers to develop new one-person shows focused on critical social issues. The programme culminated in a sold-out showcase performance at the Southbank Centre in July 2015. Work created through Re:Play has since been staged at Contact Theatre, Roundhouse, and international festivals.
In February 2015 the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and Cultural Learning Alliance commissioned Nimble Fish to deliver one of 10 national launch event’s for Get Creative, a year-long series of events, debates and programmes focused on the importance of arts education.
Creativity Culture & Education (CCE) commissioned Nimble Fish to devise and deliver a three-year arts-led training and mentoring scheme for artists and entrepreneurs in Lithuania, as part of a nation-wide Creative Partnerships programme. The work ran from 2011-2014. Additional Nimble Fish-led work along these lines also ran in Wales, Germany, Norway, Taiwan and South Korea.
From 2010-14, The ReAuthoring Project worked with writers and audiences to reinvigorate the live presentation of non-performative writing (ie, novels, short stories, works of non-fiction). The Project worked with more than 60 writers and presented work at festivals and in bespoke settings, supported by public and private funding. See the Project web site for more details.
Games Unplugged, an intensive school workshop and teacher INSET series focused on the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games, was delivered to schools across London in the spring of 2012. The work was led by Nimble Fish through A New Direction, in collaboration with Graeae Theatre Company and Fundamental Architectural Inclusion.
A New Direction selected Nimble Fish as one of 14 leading arts companies to deliver The Biggest Learning Opportunity on Earth, a unique programme of Olympic-themed work to 140 schools across London in 2010 and 2011. Our project, Culture Detectives, took place in nine schools as a unique exploration of identity and community. The company also contributed original work to an arts-led festival based on the project, in conjunction with Emergency Exit Arts and Punchdrunk. Culture Detectives has also been picked up as a teacher training process to help newly-qualified teachers explore issues of culture, diversity, difference and how to create valuable conversations around these issues.
The East London Business Alliance (ELBA) and A New Direction commissioned Nimble Fish to devise and lead Creativity Quest, an exploration of the five London Olympic boroughs conducted by teams of young people, teachers, creative practitioners, and volunteers from the business sector. The Creativity Quest day in early July 2011 saw nearly 250 young people exploring London via live blogging, digital film, photography, and performance.
Royal Opera House and the Southend Education Trust commissioned Nimble Fish to conduct an original programme of work called Space To Learn, an arts-led exploration of non-traditional learning environments exploring the use of open spaces, historic sites and ‘slack’ spaces as unique places to teach and learn. The programme began in 2010 and continued in 2011, and discussions are ongoing with funding partners to continue Space To Learn with an intention produce best practice for such work nationally.
2010 and earlier
The re:bourne festival was a site-responsive, interactive performance and art event that took place in Sittingbourne in August 2010. Featuring 20 artists and performers, re:bourne took audiences on a journey through the past, present and future of the city via unusual happenings in the high street, under carriageways and inside historic buildings and unused commercial spaces. Re:bourne was co-produced with Workers of Art and drew more than 3,000 people over two days (and the first day it was raining cats and dogs!)
Nimble Fish and writer Katherine May developed an audience-immersive performance inspired by Katherine’s novel, Burning Out (Snowbooks 2009). With support from Shepway Find Your Talent and Arts Council England, the performance debuted at the Folkestone Literary Festival in 2009 and is now preparing for wider touring. Burning Out was most recently at Pulse Festival 2010 in June 2010. “Brilliant! I’ve never seen anything like it.” – Peggy Riley, Director, East Kent Live Lit Network
The Southend Education Trust, Royal Opera House and Creative Partnerships commissioned Nimble Fish to produce The Learning Town Project, an ambitious collaboration between artists and the staff and students of 13 Southend schools to explore and present innovations in teaching and learning. The project, which is ongoing, culminated in a major site-specific event in Southend.
The FLABBAGASTIC, FABULUGIC, SPARKLE, GLITTER, SHINE, DISCOLASTIC BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION connected Year 1 students at a Watford primary school with artistic and management staff at Watford Palace Theatre, on the occasion of the Theatre’s centenary in December 2008. The result was an exchange of ideas and dreams about birthdays and the creation of a Heath Robinson-esque ‘Wish Machine’, designed by Nimble Fish and eco-sculptor/designer Michelle Reader, that was installed in the Theatre foyer for the duration of centenary celebrations.
For the Fourth Plinth programme, sponsored by the Office of the Mayor of London, Nimble Fish workshopped a group of London young people to interview artists Antony Gormley, Yinka Shinobare, Jeremy Deller and Bob & Roberta Smith about their commissions to place a new public artwork in Trafalgar Square. The interviews were held a public forum held in February 2008 at the National Gallery. “The quality of the discussion was high – excellent questions” – Justine Simons, Head of Cultural Strategy, Mayor of London’s Office. See www.fourthplinth.co.uk.
From April to August 2007, Nimble Fish produced The Container, a site-specific play about human trafficking by Clare Bayley (The Enchantment, National Theatre, 2007). Staged in the back of an articulated lorry, The Container sold out its run at the 2007 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, where it won a Fringe First and the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award. “It doesn’t get much more real than this… brilliantly performed” – The Times; “Critics Choice” – The Stage, The Observer, Guardian.
Generation London brought 200 London secondary school students to the Tate Modern in the summer of 2007 for a series of performances and debates about the ‘built future’ of London. Generation London was part of Debate London, attended by more than 5,000 people, and sponsored by the Tate and the Architecture Foundation. “It was very inspiring to hear a group of people come together properly to debate.”- Keith Khan, former Head of Culture, London 2012 (and Generation London panellist).
As producers of the Billboard Project (below), Nimble Fish workshopped more than 500 Essex young people before selecting a final group of about 100 to devise and perform, with a professional production team, a site-specific, promenade performance about regeneration. Billboard was commissioned by Creative Partnerships Thames Gateway and the East of England Development Agency.
Nimble Fish produced Einstein’s Dreams, an original, site-specific performance work at Woodlands School in Basildon that fused film, dance, drama, music, and the visual arts to explore Einstein’s theories of time and space. Final performances of Einstein’s Dreams were seen by nearly 1,600 people. “In terms of the kids, opening their minds to new possibilities, it was phenomenal” – Alan Morgan, Head of Performing Arts, Woodlands School.