LONGER WETTER FASTER BETTER was the fourth annual festival of Live Art and performance from Steakhouse Live. The three-day festival in October featured 30 artists performing across three East London locations. Full documentation of the festival is now available to view online.

Steakhouse Live is one of the few DIY platforms for radical performance practices in the UK. LONGER WETTER FASTER BETTER was the first time they had received public funding and this extra support gave them the opportunity to be even more ambitious, particularly around developing new approaches to Access – in all its forms including Steakhouse Live: Writing, Steakhoue Live: Creative Enabler Initiative, Steakhouse Live: Live On The Drive, and Steakhouse Live: Community - which is at the core of everything we do.

Major initiatives around Access included:

Steakhouse Live: Writing

Led by critic, curator and academic Diana Damian Martin and performance writer and artist Bojana Jankovic the Steakhouse Live: Writing pilot project comprised of embedded critical writers creating live responses during the festival.

Participating writers were selected through an open call, focused specifically on emerging writers and those new to the field of Live Art. As a result, the group included established artists and students, bringing experience and perspectives of visual arts, theatre, choreography and literature to discussions of Live Art.

The responses were projected live at the festival each day at a dedicated writers hub and available to view on the Critical Interruption website. A reflective article by Diana and Bojana on the project and ideas around writing about Live Art is available to read in Exeunt Magazine

Steakhouse Live are now planning a follow-on publication edited by Diana and Bojana related to the project, which will collate writing, commissions and reflections on both the works presented, and the writing project itself.

Steakhouse Live: Creative Enabler Initiative

Working in consultation with Access All Areas, Steakhouse Live ran a pilot scheme, looking at ways in which a Live Art Festival can develop successful access conditions for artists with learning disabilities.

A major part of this initiative was to provide (in consultation with the artist) a Creative Enabler who then became a mentor and assisted the artist with their specific access needs. The Creative Enabler received guidance and support from Steakhouse Live and Access All Areas.

This pilot project is part of a larger research project that Access All Areas is currently undertaking as part of their recent successful Arts Council Elevate grant, looking at ways in which festivals and venues think about access and support issues for learning disabled artists. Further information on this will be announced soon see their website for more information.

Steakhouse Live: on the Drive

Working in collaboration with The Drawing Shed Live on the Drive is a project aimed at encouraging new and diverse audiences to Live Art. Led by Steakhouse Live producer Katy Baird a series of free workshops exploring Live Art focusing in particular on female artists was held for young women aged 16-19 living on and around The Drive Estate, Walthamstow in North London.

The group subsequently attended the Festival together and afterwards held a post-festival debrief looking at the connection between the theory and the practice.

Live on the Drive is continuing to meet regularly and the next outing will be at the Sacred Festival of Performance Art at the end of November. Some of the young women are now also working towards a presentation at the next Steakhouse Live Event – Tender Loin at Artsadmin on Wednesday 18 January. 

This is the first in a new series of participatory projects from the Drawing Shed focused around the The Drive and Attlee Terrace estates, Walthamstow. For more information, see their website.

Steakhouse Live: Community

Everyone involved in any way with the festival, including artists, documenters, consultants, hosts and volunteers received a full festival pass and were encouraged to attend the whole weekend. This is super important to Steakhouse Live because it is a way to create a community and see and experience work together.

Categories: Report

Date Posted: 16 November 2016