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Sky Arts seeks Brexit-themed theatre works for £1m Art 50 project

London’s Barbican is among organisations involved in the Art 50 project
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TV channel Sky Arts is to commission 50 artworks exploring “what it means to be British in a post-Brexit Britain”.

London’s Barbican and music venue Sage Gateshead are among organisations involved in Art 50, which is inviting ideas from all disciplines to respond to the triggering of Article 50.

The project will take place over two years, culminating in a series of television programmes when Britain formally leaves the European Union. It will be funded by £1 million from the Sky Arts Amplify fund, which was set up to encourage arts organisations and production companies to collaborate on new ideas.

Entries will be judged by a panel of representatives from Sky Arts, the Barbican, Sage Gateshead, the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art and leading figures from the art world.

Art 50 is seeking entries from across theatre, visual arts, music, dance and spoken word.

The project will aim to encompass the “diversity of opinion” surrounding Brexit, reflecting views of both those who voted to remain and those who voted to leave the EU. It will also aim to feature voices from rural and urban communities.

In February 2019, a festival exhibiting some of the finished pieces will take place in the partner venues.

Louise Jeffreys, director of arts at the Barbican, said: “At this moment of huge national change, the arts are uniquely placed to help explore and articulate the hopes, fears and aspirations of the people of our nation.”

Production company Storyvault Films, which was responsible for the TV series Portrait Artist of the Year and Landscape Artist of the Year, will produce the television programmes.

Phil Edgar-Jones, director of Sky Arts, said: “Brexit inspires passions on both sides of the debate, not least around the idea of cultural identity. We wanted to take that question of what it means to be British as a starting point for a diverse range of voices to respond to over the next two years as we prepare to leave the EU.”

Last year the National Theatre embarked upon a verbatim theatre project responding to Brexit. The resulting piece, My Country; A Work in Progress, is currently touring the UK.

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