NEWS: Without Walls announces its biggest Outdoor Arts programme to date

Leading the way for cultural recovery, Without Walls has announced 21 new projects to receive support in 2021. This ambitious and exciting outdoor art programme brings together up-and-coming companies, established street artists and those making their first foray into creating work for the public space.  

From the epic and spectacular, to the intimate and emotional, the Without Walls 2021 commissions offer a timely moment to explore social justice, family relationships, environmentalism, identity, and much more. Programme highlights include Do What yah Mama told yah!, an immersive and vibrant comedy show that brings the family kitchen and recipes from across the globe to life; The Rascally Diner, which explores food, sustainability, and healthy eating in a silly, song-filled performance that is perfect for children aged 5+; and What Happened to You? which uses raggedy puppets and real-life stories to explore misconceptions about disability in a family-fun way.

Do what yah Mama told yah!, Just More Productions, Without Walls 2021 Programme

With the outdoor sector most likely to be leading the way in cultural recovery, this programme  shows the power and resilience of Outdoor Arts to invigorate communities back together in  towns, cities and rural areas. The works in the 2021 programme will appear at festivals  including Brighton Festival, Norfolk & Norwich Festival, City Encounters by Wiltshire Creative,  Timber Festival, Just So Festival, Greenwich+Docklands International Festival (GDIF), Ensemble Festival, Hat Fair and more.  

Good Youtes Walk, Far From the Norm, Without Walls 2021 Programme. Credit: Camilla Greenwell

Physical theatre and dance have a strong presence in the programme this year as artists explore  ideas of connection and support. Bonded is Alleyne Dance’s ambitious new dance production  exploring the construct of human dependency. Performed by twin sisters, Kristina and Sade, the  work uses abstract narrative, West African dance aesthetics and language, as well as circus skills  and impressive athleticism. Also exploring relationships is IRMÃ-sisters from DamaeDance  which portrays an intricate journey of conflict and vulnerability, tenderness and anger, misunderstanding and support. This powerful yet attentive duet aspires to be a celebration of  women’s strength and complexity. Good Youtes Walk from Far from the Norm is a chaotic and  frenzied Hip Hop dance theatre work that explores how divided we are as a nation. It unravels  how young adults are trying to address this divide by creating a unity and empathy which transcends race, class, gender and geography.  

Bonded, Alleyne Dance, Without Walls 2021 PRogramme, (c) Albert Vidal.jpg

Also using dance, MayFly explores how our survival is inextricably linked to our environment;  Kapow Dance Circus Theatre harnesses the power of water on a bespoke set which fires  choreographed jets into the air where two women dodge, play, dance. The climate crisis is also  addressed by a trio of clowns in astounding costumes in MEarth Mothers. Through dance,  physical comedy, music, and shamanic ritual, Beady Eye asks why we are wrecking the world  and what we’re going to do about it? Black Victorians is a dynamic dance piece inspired by the  discovery of hundreds of portraits of Black people in England during the Victorian era. Through movement, text and music, it gives voice and body to the characters in the portraits. Continuing  the theme of ‘invisible people’, Altered States’ The Invisible Man takes inspiration from H. G.  Wells’ famous novel to raise awareness of issues including d/Deafness, homelessness and aging.  

Black Victorians, Jeanefer Jean-Charles,GDIF, Without Walls 2021 . Production images courtesty of Wright

Advances in digital tech are continuing to reveal new ways for audiences to engage with art and  culture. Future Cargois an alternative dance show from Requardt & Rosenberg which bridges grand  visual spectacle and an intimate fly-on-the-wall experience. Audiences experience a sci-fi world  carried on a shipping container fitted with a travelator while listening in through binaural  headphones. Using sound to create immersive audio experiences in outdoor environments, The Hidden Music of Trees forms compositions harvested entirely from plant, tree and fungi  biodata, Augmented Reality (AR) and binaural (3D) sound. In this exciting work, Jason Singh  seeks to celebrate a deeper awareness of the natural world around us.

Jason Singh, The Hidden Music of Trees, Without Walls 2021. Credit: Underhill Creatives B.j

Using digital technology,  Up My Street is an immersive promenade performance/installation from The Cultural Assembly.  This augmented and virtual reality performance arts trail brings neglected high streets to  life. Blurring the boundaries of reality, audiences are guided on a journey across their city  through a combination of spoken word and both real-life and digital performers, all viewed with  mobile devices. The Lost Opera allows audiences to use their phones to play along with the  performance, even as Ashley Peevor and Nikki Watson present an unusual spectacle as three  huge bewildering beasts twist themselves through the cityscape, ready to perform a unique  musical composition.  

Arrivals+ Departures, YARA + DAVINA, Without Walls 2021 Programme. Courtesy of Somerset House Trust

Taking the recognisable form of an arrivals and departures board, Arrivals + Departures from  Yara El-Sherbini and Davina Drummond is a public artwork about birth, death and the journey  in-between. They invite audiences to share names of people who have arrived and departed as a way to acknowledge, celebrate and commemorate in this time of COVID-19, climate crisis and  social upheaval. Emergency Exit Arts with leading artist and poet Robert Montgomery will present Recovery Poems – a light-based installation looking at the impact of Covid on our  society. Also part of the programme is Robot Selfie; at a time when we are distanced from each  other, Kaleider’s wall-drawing robots create a massive mural of strangers to bring us together in  unity.  

Render of Robot Selfie

Food is an important way to bring communities together and many of us have an increased  focus on healthy eating after so much time at home. TOAST is Pif-Paf’s ambitious beautiful,  growing, communal celebration of food, song, story, dance and fire performed on, and around, their ever-moving mobile kitchen cart. It includes a mixture of songs, stories and recipes from  musicians and cooks all around the world. Join LAStheatre for The Rascally Diner, which gently explores food provenance, sustainability, and healthy eating in a silly, song-filled, riotous  performance that is perfect for children aged 5+. A feast of food fusion and storytelling across  geography and generations, Do What yah Mama told yah! is an immersive and vibrant comedy  circus show. International contemporary circus artist Blaze and touring circus chef and  performer Fatina’s plate-spinning, food-juggling, fire-blazing show brings the family kitchen and  recipes from across the globe to life. 

What Happened to You, Nikki Charlesworth, Without Walls 2021. Credit: Alison Denholm

Strong Enough from Strong Lady Productions also uses circus to create a powerfully optimistic  show. Using circus physicality, comedy and feats-of strength, it celebrates stories of finding  strength in unexpected places; in these difficult times, it is a powerful declaration that we are  ‘strong enough’. Simple Cypher is an exciting young company featuring graduates from the  National Centre for Circus Arts. Their new show Roll Play sees three performers blur the  boundaries between Hip Hop and circus by using intricate moves and agility to give a  captivating, cheeky and effortlessly cool performance. Exploring themes of life, loss, surrender  and acceptance comes Why?, an aerial duet performed using climbing harnesses and abseil  lines. The performers flip the stage floor through 90 degrees for a ‘vertical dance’ so they’re  actually dancing on the wall! Breaking the boundaries of physicality, What Happened to You? uses three raggedy puppets and real-life stories to promote the importance of access and  inclusion. Nikki Charlesworth explores our preconceptions about disability in a playful way that  is fun for the whole family.  

Strong Enough, Strong Lady Productions, Without Walls 2021 Programme. Credit: Sean Longmore

Outdoor work has never been more important as the entire arts industry seeks to rebuild  confidence in audiences wanting to attend events. Having recently welcomed several new  partners to its network, Without Walls is more committed than ever to collaborate with the very  best artists and companies and bring fantastic outdoor arts to people across the UK. 

Find out more at and follow Without Walls on Twitter (@WWConsortium) Instagram (@withoutwallsconsortium) or Facebook (@WithoutWallsUK).