The Eclipse Award recipient announcement...

Eclipse announces Rachael Young as first recipient of pioneering new Eclipse Award which tackles the barriers faced by independent Black artists at the Edinburgh Fringe. 

The UK’s leading Black theatre company, has today announced Rachael Young as the recipient of its first Eclipse Award, which aims to help UK Black-led artists and theatre companies achieve the notoriously difficult but life-changing step of undertaking a run at Summerhall this Edinburgh Fringe. Presented by Eclipse Theatre and Summerhall, one of the festival’s leading venues, the ground-breaking Award is open to Black artists based in the UK who make boundary-pushing performance work and has been backed by leading contemporary actors Danny Sapani, Rakie Ayola and Noma Dumezweni.

Nottingham-based Rachael Young is a maker of theatre, live art, interactive installations and socially engaged projects. Her current work explores notions of freedom and bravery and is inspired by autobiographical experience in relation to socio-political landscapes. Rachael has presented work at The Lowry, Tate Modern, and National Theatre of Wales amongst others, and her practice includes lecturing, mentoring, public speaking and advocacy. Supported by the Eclipse Award, she will take two shows to Edinburgh: NIGHTCLUBBING and OUT.

Rachael Young and her badass band of super-humans embrace Afrofuturism and the cult of Grace Jones in NIGHTCLUBBING; an explosive new performance bringing visceral live music and intergalactic visions to start a revolution. 1981: Grace Jones releases her landmark album ‘Nightclubbing’; her body is brown and soft. 2015: Three women are refused entry into a London nightclub; their bodies are brown and soft. The women zoom through galaxies and solar systems, travelling through time, preparing for their moment to land...

Defiantly challenging homophobia and transphobia, OUT is a duet - a conversation between two bodies, carving out a new kind of space, reclaiming Dancehall and celebrating Vogue culture amongst the bittersweet scent of oranges. Embracing personal, political and cultural dissonance; this act of interdisciplinary self-expression smashes through normativity, summoning voices and re-enacting movements in an exhilarating mash-up of remembrance and re-invention.

Dawn Walton, artistic director at Eclipse Theatre comments, "The panel was unanimous in its choice of Rachael Young as the inaugural recipient of the Eclipse Award. Her work is brave and bold, specific and personal, yet universal and above all - original.  I am delighted that through our incredible partnership with Summerhall The Eclipse Award is able to support Rachael’s shows in Edinburgh with a £10k cash bursary and amongst other things a vital care package of support from The Sick of The Fringe. Thank you also to the Patrons for their generous support.  Thinking about a world where Rachael Young’s amazing shows were not presented at the international platform of the Edinburgh Fringe is unbearable, yet this is the reality for many other talented Black Artists/Companies - even those who are specifically invited to showcases. I hope that the Eclipse Award will highlight this problem and start the conversation around this issue.”

Sheffield-based Eclipse has established The Eclipse Award in order to break down the barriers that Black artists face at the world-famous Edinburgh Fringe. The Eclipse Award, which is the first award of its kind, aims to tackle these barriers by removing the upfront venue rental cost and offering a contribution to technical hires, access, marketing and networking costs, accommodation and travel, allowing the artist to perform their work at the highest possible standard.

Alongside a significant £10k cash bursary, Rachael will receive a bespoke package of marketing support as well as technical support and production guidance. Rachael will also benefit from The Sick of the Fringe, a strategy which aims to make the world safer for challenging art and challenging realities. As part of their 2019 Care and Destruction programme, The Sick of The Fringe are supporting Rachael’s Eclipse Award presentations through the development of a bespoke care plan, enabling the rare opportunity to centralise care and wellbeing during her time at the Edinburgh Fringe.

Rachael Young said, “I’m thrilled to be a recipient of this new award. As a Black artist from a working-class background, the Eclipse Award unlocks a unique opportunity for me to access the Festival. It is great to be part of a platform that celebrates marginalised voices and I hope that my work will help to stimulate powerful, positive discussion. It's invigorating to be part of the change, working alongside organisations that are actively lobbying for fairer representation at the Fringe. I look forward to immersing myself in the experience, connecting with audiences and artists, and tapping into that famous Fringe energy!”

Rachael will perform a full run of NIGHTCLUBBING and OUT at Old Lab, Summerhall on the following dates:

Fri 2 – Sun 11 Aug (previews: Wed 31 July & Thur 1 Aug). Book tickets here.

Tues 13 – Sun 25 Aug (no show on 19 Aug). Book tickets here.

To visit Rachael Young's website, click here.

The Eclipse Award Steering Committee:
Dawn Walton: Eclipse Theatre Artistic Director
Verity Leigh: Summerhall Programme Manager
Emma Beverley: Independent Producer
Tracy Gentles: Co-Director of The Sick of the Fringe
Sara Shaarawi: Writer, artist and producer of Arab Arts Focus

If you would like to support the work of Eclipse, please click here. Thanks to Eclipse’s Catalyst Award, until April 2020 any donation will be matched £1 for £1 by Arts Council England therefore doubling your contribution.