BAC is excited to announce Bloom, a new programming strand for performance works that have been developed with us over the past year. This May, Bloom has taken the shape of four double bills and will feature both work-in-progress sharings and finished works from Samir Kennedy, Daniel Oliver and Midgitte Bardot. The performances will run alongside Katy Baird’s Get Off, commissioned by BAC, offering the opportunity to experience two extraordinary shows in one night.
Our Programme Producer, Ella Gamble, writes on the inspiration behind Bloom and what audiences can expect:
One of the first steps in BAC’s Creative Development is to invite artists into the building to use our spaces without any pre-expectation of an outcome. It can be an opportunity for artists to sketch out the initial ideas of a new project or advance the creative development of a work. It sometimes means the BAC producers are invited into the space to experience the early stages of some of the most exciting and innovative contemporary performance of the moment. As a producing team, our shared interest lies in work which is critically rigorous in its approach to subject matter whilst being experimental with performance forms. But this often means that the sharings that leave us feeling most exhilarated are the ones that need to be presented in unconventional ways. These privileged experiences of the making process have initiated two new provocations for the BAC producing team:
How can BAC publicly platform more of the artists we support through alternative presentation models?
And how can we better facilitate encounters between artists, audiences, and industry professionals?
The result of these enquiries is Bloom.
This year Bloom is exploring a double bill format, allowing us to platform work engaging with space, time, and audience configuration in alternative ways. But what makes Bloom distinctive is that it’s a presentation opportunity which artists can shape to fit their specific needs. An artist might want to present as part of Bloom because they have an unfinished work ready to test in front of an audience, or because the work has an unconventional presentation style, such as durational or limited capacity performance, or because it’s the right context for their professional development. We hope this flexible approach to programming will create the conditions for us to present a wider range of artists at BAC.
Our aim is to encourage a reciprocal flow of trust between audiences and artists, creating a celebratory and generative atmosphere in which new discoveries and relationships can be formed. For BAC, Bloom might emerge as a steppingstone in our support of an artist. It might also introduce a whole new audience to an artist’s work, raising their profile and informing their practice. As producers we know the value of festivals and curated performance events, they are how we stay informed about our sector, but they are also shrinking in the wake of budget cuts and shifting programming priorities. We hope that Bloom will become a new meeting point for artists and the sector and be the catalyst of future collaborations between the artists, BAC and beyond.
The essence of Bloom is about cultivating an environment where the seedlings of creativity and innovation can flourish. It’s about upward growth, through visibility and audience engagement, but it also looks downwards, towards the soil, considering how BAC invites artists to embed themselves and take root. This year Bloom has taken the form of four double bills, but in the future its shape could look very different. We’re excited to be led by the artists and the work they propose to determine how Bloom develops in the future.
One of the great pleasures of Bloom is that it has allowed us to expand our own creative community and take the next step in our support of this year’s Bloom artists Samir Kennedy, Daniel Oliver, and Midgitte Bardot. Whilst thematically these works have different artistic intentions, there is a curatorial throughline which weaves them together, in their use of lived experience as a point of departure to interrogate wider subject matter. Katy Baird, who will follow each of the Bloom double bills, also uses self-referential material as a way of activating her audience to engage with themselves and their place in the world. Working from interior to exterior, each of these four artists share the capacity to create work engaging with complex, culturally significant topics from a deeply personal perspective.
2024 Bloom Artists