The British Council UK/Italy 2020 Season was 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 explored 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



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.

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 found 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.


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

Through our Cultural Salons, topics of bilateral interest were (and will be) discussed, with the aim of exploring culture in its various forms and complexities.

Find out more


Manchester-based writer Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi was one of the keynote speakers at the Palatine Stadium as part of the Rome International Literature Festival 2020, entitled Insieme – Lettori, Autori, Editori (Together – Readers, Authors, Publishers).

Nansubuga Makumbi, a black female writer, was asked to reflect on the word ‘Power’ and her contribution to this conversation was based on her reflection of indigenous feminisms. The event took place during Black History Month and was live streamed on the Insieme Festival Facebook page.

Watch the event online


We were 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 were transformed by digital artists who transmute bodily motion into alternative forms using 3D motion graphics software.

Chaotic Body 1: Strange Attractor

Chaotic Body is 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 explored 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 was further extended 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 Uncharted Limbo Collective and composer Qasim Naqvi, this was the first in a series to be released over the course of the next few months.

Watch the film


Celebrating the twin city relationship between Glasgow and Turin, Tramway (Glasgow) and OGR (Turin) collaborated 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 collaborated for the first time for the UK/Italy 2020 Season. Together they co-curated a day-long programme featuring contemporary performance and moving image work by Glasgow-based artists Tramway for audiences attending the Continuum live events at OGR Turin, as well as simultaneously broadcasting experimental music and digital artworks from Glasgow on Tramway TV.

  • Being Present | Screening of moving image work by Glasgow-based artists Tramway at OGR
    Video by Urara Tsuchiya, LAPS, Poisonous Relationship, Claricia Parinussa & Rowdi SS, Christian Noelle Charles and FRAN.K, followed by a series of video curated by David Dale Gallery and Studio
  • A digital programme broadcast on Tramway Instagram TV featuring a selection of the moving image works showing at OGR
  • Bodies beyond straight composition... | Digital broadcast from OGR of a panel discussion featuring international artists including artist Romilly Alice Walden
  • Learning from the future by Colette Sadler | Live performance at OGR



Fondazione Modena Arti Visive made available (in streaming, as a world preview) the new film by Willie Doherty, commissioned for the WHERE / DOVE exhibition, co-produced by FMAV and National Museums Northern Ireland and produced with the support of the British Council as part of the UK / Italy Season 2020.
The exhibition, the first solo show of the Northern Irish artist in an Italian institution,tells from two different points of view the same landscape between Eire and Northern Ireland, presented as an ambiguous, melancholy and perennially unstable space, suspended between the shadow of the past and the dream of the future.


Scenes for Survival is a new season of digital artworks created in response to the outbreak of Covid-19 by the 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 55 films from the complete programme, chosen for Italian audiences.


A collaboration with the music platform Linecheck during Milan Music Week: a round table discussion on Sound Values ​​and an online events to showcase the UK's newest musical talents, with three bands performing live from London and content from Selector Radio, the global British Council radio broadcast.

30 November 2020 | CLOSING PLENARY

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

See also