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About Us

21Common is a collective that actively embraces the notion of art as a deep dialogical process of exploration between artists and audiences. Since its inception in 2013 its key collaborators have been artists Lucy Gaizely and Gary Gardiner, leading learning-disabled dancer Ian Johnston, Executive Producer Louise Irwin and acclaimed artist the late Adrian Howells.

Their hit show Dancer, an Unlimited Commission 2014, was part of Made in Scotland at the Edinburgh Fringe 2016, toured to South America, Scandinavia and was part of the Made in Scotland Festival in Brussels in 2019. In 2016 their work The Ballad of the Apathetic Son and His Narcissistic Mother was developed with a 14-year-old boy and his real-life Mum. This was also part of Made in Scotland Showcase at the Edinburgh Fringe 2018 and went on to undertake a significant international tour to Germany, Poland, Sweden, London, Australia, and New Zealand.  During lockdown 2020 they created a dance film with a group of children called Anyone, an immersive experience about loneliness, love, boredom and Tiktok, designed to be watched on a mobile phone.  Then followed a commission from National Theatre of Scotland in 2021 to research the concept of ‘care’. The result was Non Optimum: When It’s Safe To Do So– a film, dance collage and artistic enquiry revealing the lives of four learning disabled protagonists when the vital services they are dependent on suddenly stop.

Who we are

We work with many people but our key team are:

Lucy Gaizely, Artistic Director

Gary Gardiner, Artistic Director

Ian Johnston, Associate Artist

Louise Irwin, Executive Producer

Minnie Crook, Project Manager

In 2019 they created IN THE INTEREST OF HEALTH AND SAFETY CAN PATRONS KINDLY SUPERVISE THEIR CHILDREN AT ALL TIMES…. a relentless dance experience featuring 10 ten-year-old children, high scaffolding, French torch songs and some very scabby mattresses. A deranged disco of a show, it examines society’s reluctance to let children take risks. It received widespread attention at its premiere at Tramway and was selected to be part of the Made in Scotland Showcase at Edinburgh Fringe in 2022. It was presented at the Assembly Ballroom to much acclaim. As a work it is anarchic, challenging, genuinely terrifying and thrilling in the same moment.

21Common also use art as a stimulus for teaching and learning through the delivery of its school’s programme Disruptive Pedagogy, their approach to Social Practice as education. They work with individual schools to design bespoke immersive projects that support young people at their own pace, responding to their requirements and areas of interest, through alternative and curriculum based learning structures.

21Common excels at making ambitious and adventurous performance that gives a voice to the marginalised and excluded in our cultural landscape. They are interested in making work that challenges perceptions of who a performance artist can be, whether they are toddlers, teenagers, people with learning disabilities or others out with the expected. Across their practice they explore ways to subvert the expected dynamic of leader and what that means in the context of performance art.

21Common is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO) and Charity Number SC047513. It is governed by a voluntary Board of Trustees. They are members of The Federation of Scottish Theatre. 21Common was awarded A Regular Funding Organisation status by Creative Scotland for the period 2018-2025.