Meet our Queer Arts Commission Artists

We are delighted to announce the four queer artists and queer led companies that we’ve commissioned to create new work which will be performed in Spring 2024 at Stanley Arts and Kings Head Theatre.

Our incredible line up of neuroqueer and multidisciplinary artists, award-winning producers and writers explore the theme of identity through a variety of art forms, and touch on subjects such as gender, faith, queer arts, and mental wellbeing.

We’ve offered seed commissions of £5,000, alongside development and fundraising support, and feedback from Raze Collective.

Read on to find out more about each artist and what we can expect from their commission.

Danny Bailey
Danny Bailey, Multidisciplinary Artist and Cultural Curator. Originally from Hackney; Danny uses his Afro-Caribbean background as a creative vocabulary to challenge issues regarding race, sexuality, gender, faith and politics, through Playwriting, Performance, Filmmaking, Digital Art and Community Building.  He is also the founder of @ThePalaceOfTheDogs where he aims to put B(L)ACK Art into the centre of society.

What excites you most about this commission?
I am so honoured to have been selected as a recipient of the Queer Arts Commission at Stanley Arts. My project, Finding Olokun, handles some challenging ideas around faith and identity, and I am excited to explore the creative vocabulary for these themes within the safety of this inclusive environment. In this part of the process I will be delving into the process of sound design, film and live theatre, to bring this story to life in collaboration with some amazing artists.

Debris Stevenson
Debris Stevenson radicalises product through process. A dyslexic writer, Grime poet, working-class actor, ADHD educator and pro-raver. Debris’ work explores the intersectional, unexpected, and unjust – often whilst making her audiences dance, question, and laugh.

This year Debris adapted and movement directed MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING for the National Youth Theatre on the West End, putting a reality TV spin on the Shakespearean classic. Her debut show, POET IN DA CORNER, premiered at The Royal Court in 2018, receiving 4-5 stars and seeing Debris nominated for an Evening Standard Emerging Talent of The Year Award. POET IN DA CORNER toured the UK in 2020 alongside the release of the album (Accidental Records), school education pack and book (Oberon Books).

Debris is currently working in TV development, writing for TREASON THE MUSICAL’s UK tour (London Palladium), can be seen acting in MEDUSA DELUXE (MUBI), and is one of Oxford Contemporary Music’s BOOM artists 2023-2024.

What excites you most about this commission?

I am thrilled to receive a commission with queerness at its very core – to not just make a queer show but for the making itself to be queer. I already feel I have been given permission to question the process, diverge from binary form, and wander into the most weird, wonderful and neuroqueer corners of my practice.

Sweet Beef
Sweet Beef is a queer theatre collective led by Jess Haygarth. We make weird, political work. Our shows explore socio-political issues that affect us, ranging from zero hours contracts to loneliness, with a healthy dose of comedy, dance and drag. We’re Pleasance Associate Artists & our debut show I Hate it Here was nominated for the Charlie Harthill & LET awards. We’ve performed I Hate it Here in London & toured the UK to 5 star reviews. Alongside making theatre we facilitate creative workshops & believe everyone is creative.

Sweet Beef’s shows are a tough night in and a big night out.

What excites you most about this commission?

We’re really excited about the prospect of making a new promenade show and being able to lean into the queerness and weirdness of what we are making & to explore the experimental nature of the work. We can’t wait to connect with our local South London community & meet other lonely queers like us.

Jules Cunningham
Jules (they/them) is based in South London, originally from Liverpool and has worked as a dancer for 20+ years (Critics Circle National Dance Award in 2014) working with Merce Cunningham Dance Company and Michael Clark Company and in projects with Boris Chartmatz, Thick & Tight, Pauline Boudry / Renate Lorenz across Europe.

Jules founded Julie Cunningham & Company in 2017, to create and present work that combines clarity of form with an interest in gender identity and the body. Jules uses a movement language that draws on their technical dance training, expanding and queering it collaboratively, working between sound, text, visual art. Jules recently premiered how did we get here? a work for Jules, dancer Harry Alexander and Spice Girl Melanie C.

Teaching and performance work is informed by solo and collaborative movement exploration, queerness, lived experience of mental illness, disability and exclusion based on Jules’ working class background and non-binary identity.

What excites you most about this commission?

I feel really thankful to be offered this opportunity to make work as part of a queer context!  I believe this commission and its approach will help our team work more sustainably which is much needed.  As an artist based in South London I’m really looking forward to being in the supportive environment of Stanley Arts, being alongside great artists and connecting with local communities.

This programme is funded through the London Borough of Culture programme, This Is Croydon, a year-long programme supported by The Mayor of London and Croydon Council. Additional funding has been provided by Arts Council England.

RAZE Collective will provide feedback on creative work during the development stage.

Headshot of Danny Bailey Headshot of Debris Stevenson Sweet Beef company performing Jules Cunningham Headshot. Credit - Christa Holka
© 2024 Stanley Arts Charity No: 1155680