10 years ago this week the first SPILL Festival of Performance opened at the Barbican, Shunt Vaults and 12 other venues across central London. At that time Robert Pacitti felt there was no large-scale or high-visibility presenting space for experimental body based performance in London. Lois Keidan and Catherine Ugwu’s seminal Live Art programme at the ICA had been a beacon of brilliance for the years that it took place, but that had ended almost a decade before. Nikki Milican’s pioneering National Review of Live Art was an annual fixture in Glasgow. There was Fierce in Birmingham, Home Live Art, Nottingham NOW, Artsadmin and Colchester Arts Centre. Other folk made good one-off things happen, including Forced Entertainment’s inspiring Indoor Fireworks programme, we had Live Art Magazine and an attempt at shared working via the New Work Network. But there was no significant, internationally conscious, self-determining context for makers wanting to show work in London, and the range of artist-led festivals and initiatives that we know today simply didn’t exist. Convincing people that a large scale, international festival could be set up and led by an artist wasn’t the easiest thing to make come to pass, but we did it! Thanks to the sheer belief, commitment and bloody-mindedness of the amazing people that have worked so hard on the festival across the past decade there have now been 8 editions of SPILL (5 in London and 3 maybe even more surprisingly in Ipswich). Thank you to everyone who has played a positive role in the festival and happy 10th birthday SPILL, our lovely, bold and unapologetic child.
In the occasion of SPILL turning 10 we have an ask to make of you. Please will you make a donation towards our SPILL New Commissions Fund, which will help us commission new work by exciting artists for the next festival. We are very fortunate to have been awarded Catalyst Evolve funding by Arts Council England, meaning any donations we receive will be doubled. If you give us £10 it becomes £20. If you donate £500 it becomes £1000. Because we are not-for-profit this means all of your donation will support artists in making new work. Lovely.