British Council in Taiwan has always strived to bring fresh perspectives for our audiences in Taiwan about contemporary UK arts. Recent years we’ve discovered that arts has become a catalyst for social change through showcase, exchange, and co-creation in both UK and Taiwan. Artists in their works have expanded their attentions from self-expression, dialogue with art-goers to investigating our world that is predominantly seen by the mainstream abled people, and often missed the views from people with disabilities. We believe that there is need to promote more public awareness and participation in celebrating creativity and artistic excellence from diverse and under-represented communities. Hence, starting from 2017 we would like to introduce outstanding UK artists to Taiwan to encourage the discovery of differences through disability arts and to celebrate the creativity and power from their art works to transform the society.
Claire Cunningham’s solo dance work 'Give Me a Reason to Live', as a study in the notion and provocation of empathy, invites the audience to bring with her the curiosity in the potential for movement with crutches and to witness the creativity and aesthetics grown from such experiment. Originally a classically trained singer, after working with UK choreographer, she discovered a new way of performance incorporating her voice and dance movement, which became her unique artistic language, and gained wide praise at important international stage including Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Unlimited Festival at Southbank Centre, Perth International Arts Festival, and etc. Claire Cunningham is a versatile artist, a critical thinker. Physical disability does not undermine her in any way.
Together with 'Dance Autumn Festival' at National Theatre in Taipei, British Council proudly stages Claire Cunningham’s debut performance, a first timer for international disability-led contemporary dance showcase in Taiwan. Along with the public forum and two dance workshops offered to both abled and disabled dancers, we hope this program will generate more dynamic artistic exchange and contribute to a transformational impact that arts can make in social change in Taiwan and the UK.
About the programme
Claire Cunningham is one of the UK's most acclaimed and internationally renowned disabled artists. Her solo show, Give Me a Reason to Live, inspired by the works of the 15th century Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch, aims to explore religion's judgment of souls and its extended meaning of life. With the music and lighting similar to the ambience in a church, Claire Cunningham tries to question and criticize faith with the limits of her body. The 40-minute performance, starting from soundless cries to eventually revealing her disabled body without embellishment, shows strong images and inspiration. Sydney Morning Herald acclaims that this work presents “strange beauty and incredible strength”!
Choreographer and Performer: Claire Cunningham
Lighting Design: Karsten Tinapp
Sound Design: Zoë Irvine
Cello: Matthias Herrmann
Additional Music: Nesciens Mater, Jean Mouton, Den Tod, JS Bach
Costume: Shanti Freed
Production Manager and Re-Lighting: Gregor Knüppel