Festival of New


Our annual whirlwind showcase of fresh and exciting new work is going digital.

This year’s Festival of New features a hugely exciting line-up of artists and groups who will join us virtually for an afternoon of films, talks and Q&As. With projects ranging from sound installations and immersive multimedia experiences, to podcasts, dance and music theatre, this diverse range of creative activity will inspire the audience.

Seven of the artists and groups were able to complete their Residencies last year, and we invite you to explore these projects through video snapshots, experiences and documentaries. The other five artists and groups will also be part of this digital event, discussing their projects and ambitions ahead of their Residencies later this year.



Read on for a short introduction to each of our artists and groups. We’ll be adding more information about each of the projects over the next week, so stay tuned!


Zakia Sewell is a radio host, audio producer and DJ from London with a passion for music, arts, mental health and history. She regularly produces and presents radio documentaries and podcasts for platforms including BBC Radio 4, BBC World Service, Resident Advisor, Tate, and Boiler Room and has covered varied topics, from Caribbean ancestral drumming, to schizophrenia and intergenerational trauma, to improvisation in the arts.



Dancing the line between left-field, experimental music and music rooted in pop-culture, Max and Vahakn create a blend of powerful explorational sound journey and tangible concert experience for the listener with viola, percussion and electronics.

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“Change!” combines original jazz and contemporary dance and is inspired by the exploration of the human condition through its adaptation to change, in which musicians and dancers communicate through interplay and improvisation.

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Folk singer Maz O’Connor treads new boards as she creates her first piece of music theatre, which tells the true story of Bridget Cleary, a woman who was murdered by her husband in 19th-Century Tipperary because he believed her to be a faery changeling.

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Award-winning practitioners of the traditional art forms of their ancestors – Shruthi in South Indian Carnatic voice, and Reylon in Chinese traditional yangqin (hammered dulcimer) performance – they plan to use their Residency to create a 15-minute piece that integrates vocals, yangqin, and piano, to tell a shared story about the diasporic self-in-process.

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Based on a concept of ‘fractured punk’, Vengeful Ghost is an immersive new work for electric guitars. Intersecting performance, installation and sound sculpture, the work uses prepared instruments and extended playing techniques in a large-scale surround sound format. The effect is visceral and unstable, focusing on texture, dynamics and energy, honouring the electric guitar’s unique outlaw status and mythology, while seeking new shapes.

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BEAM is an autobiographical, multi-disciplinary piece that explores how storytelling through different artforms can demonstrate the influences music and opera have had on Nadine’s life journey and the world that she creates in.

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Scotland-based folk duo Charlie and Joseph invite guest artists from across worlds and genres of music to feature in their new podcast series. In each episode, guests will bring a basis: melody, song, idea, chord progression, that over the course of a one-hour episode will be developed into a finished piece of music. This is completely new territory for the folk duo – an opportunity to rethink the nature of their work, how they make and present it, and to expand their practice as collaborators.

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What if feeling disconnected is the one thing we all really share? This immersive multimedia project, featuring voices and stories from around the world, blurs boundaries between concert, film and theatre, as well as blending classical, folk, and experimental sounds.

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Working in the historic acoustic laboratory at BT Martlesham Heath, Nick and his collaborators conducted a series of bizarre, wondrous, and technically sophisticated experiments, aiming to measure qualitative perceptual phenomena of listening typically considered to be unquantifiable. The results will be used to build an interactive sound installation.

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Thick & Tight are a dance duo whose work incorporates mime, drag and cultural reference. After being commissioned by Kings Place for the Noh Reimagined Festival, and with an invitation to train with artists in Noh and Kyogen Theatre in Japan, their Residency explored how these art forms can be incorporated into their own work, and where their practices overlap and diverge.

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‘Sister’ is the latest project from ulita – a show about siblings who live on opposite sides of the world. To the brother, a painter struggling with anxiety, his sister is infallible. She’s a natural storyteller, and has always used her tales to protect him from pain and sadness. But storytelling walks a fine line with lying, and now the elaborate world she’s built around the two of them is beginning to crack.

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Taking ancient forms of horn from Etruscan, Greek and Roman civilisations, this project explores the visual and sonic possibilities of these striking instruments and asks the question of what their role in a modern world might be. Drawing upon their fascinating history, an entirely new sound world emerges through a collaboration between brass, percussion, violin and voice.

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Explore past Festival of New Residencies

Our Residency programme is generously supported by the John Ellerman Foundation, Help Musicians UK and PRS Foundation.
Britten Pears Arts is a PRS Foundation Talent Development Partner in association with Youth Music.