The British Council UK/Italy 2020 Season is a digital-led programme of events, co-created with partners in the UK and Italy to support international cultural exchange for more resilient communities. Taking the theme Being Present, this crisis-responsive programme explores emerging opportunities for the culture sectors in Italy and the UK at a time when we are reassessing what Being Present means both in the physical and virtual spaces.

Programme of events

17 September–15 November 2020 | Complete Works: Table Top Shakespeare: At Home

Innovative British theatre company Forced Entertainment reimagines Shakespeare’s 36 plays and live streams them from the actors’ own kitchens to an online UK/Italy Season audience thanks to our partnership with Romaeuropa Festival.

A salt and pepper pot for the king and queen. A vase for the prince. A matchbox for the servant. A kitchen table for a stage.

In this ‘At Home’ edition of Complete Works, the dramatis personae of household objects return to a domestic setting in a unique staging directly from the performers’ homes to yours.

Originally conceived in 2015, in Complete Works six performers create condensed versions of all of the Shakespeare plays, comically and intimately retelling them, using a collection of everyday objects as stand-ins for the characters on the one metre stage of a table top.

Complete Works has been performed in theatre spaces across the world as well as being webcast to thousands of international viewers, however, while a global pandemic has shut down stages everywhere, the piece finds an intimate new life by ‘coming home’. Rather than a table set against the red drapes of a theatre, the objects find their starting positions on Terry’s kitchen table or Jerry’s desk as if they’d just been taken down from the surrounding shelves and cupboards of each performers’ home.

September–November 2020 | Culture Salons

The launch of the Culture Salons series as part of the Season marks an important step in securing the sustainability of the bilateral cultural relationship and will have a legacy beyond 2020.

Dates and times of the Salons:

Friday 25 September: 14.30–15.45 (CET)

Monday 19 October: 15.00–16.15 (CET) 

Wednesday 4 November: 15.00–16.15 (CET)

Culture Salon 1 | Creative Independents: Securing Our Future, 25 settembre 2020

Book here

30 September 2020 | Next Generation Italy research launch: The World Remote

The Next Generation Italy report is part of the British Council’s Next Generation global research series that supports young people in becoming creative, fulfilled and active citizens.

This virtual roundtable event uses the research as a springboard to explore the attitudes of young Italians (18-30) towards their present circumstances and their aspirations for the future. The session will draw upon new insights, from a youth focus group conducted in early September, that explores the impact of 'remote living' on young people in the realms of work, study, socialising and well-being.

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1–3 October 2020 | Pontignano Conference 2020: XXVIII edition

The Pontignano Conference is one of the most important annual events in the UK-Italy relationship. From 1 to 3 October, delegates will take part in workshops to lay the foundations for a prosperous, secure and sustainable future.

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1–4 October 2020 | Letterature, Festival internazionale di Roma: Insieme – Lettori, Autori, Editori

Manchester-based writer Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi is one of the keynote speakers at the Palatine Stadium on 4 October and will give a talk entitled Politics as a Vision.

Find out more

2–4 October 2020 | Alexander Whitley: Chaotic Body

We are pleased to present the premiere of a new digital dance film from Alexander Whitley Dance Company, with the British Council supporting Romaeuropa in this commission of a new piece of work.

Created using motion-captured data, digitised sequences of choreography are transformed by digital artists who transmute bodily motion into alternative forms using 3D motion graphics software.

Chaotic Body 1: Strange Attractor

Part of the Digital Body project by Alexander Whitley Dance Company. In this Digital Body project, launched in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Choreographer Alexander Whitley has been exploring how dance can exist in a purely digital form, delving into the seemingly limitless ways in which human movement can be visualised through the use of using motion capture and games engine technology. 

This inquiry is being extended further in Chaotic Body, a triptych of films taking inspiration from chaos theory, the dynamic processes it describes and the associated geometric patterns found in nature. Created in collaboration with digital artists UL Collective and composer Qasim Naqvi, this is the first in a series that will be released over the course of the next few months.

24 October: Romaeuropa Festival Digitalive online 

2 October: (6–7pm CET), Q&A event with Alexander Whitley followed by screening

3 and 4 October: to be screened LIVE at Pontignano Conference 2020

Watch the film

10 October 2020 | OGR, Turin with Tramway, Glasgow – twin-city partnership

Celebrating the twin city relationship between Glasgow and Turin, Tramway (Glasgow) and OGR (Turin) will collaborate on an ambitious digital partnership and exchange across both Tramway and OGR’s physical and virtual presentation platforms presented on 10 October as part of ‘Continuum’ – an immersive day long series of events programmed to celebrate OGR’s 3rd anniversary. These two iconic venues will collaborate for the first time for the UK/Italy 2020 Season. Together they will co curate a day long programme featuring contemporary performance and moving image work by Glasgow based artists to audiences attending the live events for ‘Continuum’ at OGR Turin as well as simultaneously broadcasting experimental music and digital artworks from Glasgow on Tramway TV.

OGR Turin

7 November 2020–31 January 2021 | Willie Doherty Exhibition: Where / Dove

Where / Dove is a major exhibition of the work of Willie Doherty organised in partnership between Modena Visual Arts Foundation and the Ulster Museum in Belfast, part of National Museums Northern Ireland. Focusing on the theme of borders, the exhibition gives an overview of Doherty’s career in photography and time-based media.

7 November31 January 2021: Live and a virtual component 

11 November: Talk with the artist in the gallery  

12–16 November: exclusive online access to new work

16 November: recording from Artist’s talk in Modena will be available on UK/IT Season 2020 website.

Visit the exhibition

10–20 November 2020 | Scenes for Survival: National Theatre of Scotland with Triennale Milano Teatro

10 November: Pre-screening talk, followed by a selection of films and Q&A session 

11–20 November: New films released daily via Triennale Milano Teatro Social channels
‘Scenes for Survival’ is a new season of digital artworks created in response to the outbreak of COVID-19, by National Theatre of Scotland in association with BBC Scotland, Screen Scotland and BBC Arts Culture in Quarantine project. This is a co-curated selection of the 55 films in the complete programme for Italian audiences. 

Find out more

19 November 2020 | British Music Takeover at Linecheck Festival during Milan Music Week

In partnership with industry music platform Linecheck, we’re organising a Closing Party for the Season featuring music from Italy and the UK, which will air on Selector Radio in a global broadcast from the Linecheck Festival during Milan Music Week.

Join the party!

30 November 2020 | Closing Plenary at Villa Wolkonsky, Rome

The final event of the Season offers an opportunity to reflect on conversations held across the course of the season and to identify future opportunities for bilateral collaboration.

See also