Gold Run Past

Sculpture of a human head

Gold Run was created and performed by  learning disabled and disabled artists. It consisted of a 30-strong choir, action-packed films and a giant sculptural head, combined in a dynamic performance inspired by the history of the Paralympic Games and the reintroduction of learning disabled athletes into the 2012 Paralympic Games.

Learning-disabled athletes were first welcomed into the Atlanta Paralympics in 1996. But, at Sydney 2000, they were banned from competing when the Spanish basketball team were accused of fielding a team who were mostly non-learning disabled. London 2012 marks their return to the Games after the 12 year ban.

Gold Run was a creative response to this controversial history in film, music and visual art. The story was told through a solo voice represented onstage by a giant sculptural head backed up by a chorus of singing ‘athletes’. Meanwhile specially commissioned films were projected onto the stage to illustrate the action.

Gold Run was an original commission and partnership between Carousel, the award-winning disability arts organisation; Glyndebourne, the international opera house renowned for excellence; and Pallant House Gallery, the acclaimed home of modern art in the South.

It  was created and presented by The Carousel Singers, Oska Bright filmmakers Matthew Hellett and Sarah Watson, Outside In artist James Lake, and learning-disabled and marginalised artists.

The final piece was performed live to sell out audiences in three prestigious venues in the South East.

Live Performances

Glyndebourne Opera House, Lewes April 1 2012
Brighton Corn Exchange, Brighton May 21 2012
Chichester Festival Theatre, Chichester 30 October  2012

James Lake: Sculptor

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“My primary role is that of sculptor/prop designer. I have constructed a large scale 3D portrait of learning disabled opera singer David Rushbook using cardboard. This portrait is intended to move, sing and perform alongside the other performers on stage. In addition to this, I will design an installation piece based on Gold Run and the Paralympics called Gold Run:Remix which will be part of the Outside In 2013 tour. I started making large scale figurative sculpture from cardboard about 15 years ago. This move was directly related to getting cancer at the age of 16 and losing a leg aged 17 years. The medium of cardboard enabled me to create sculpture in a non-studio environment; the resource was inexpensive and readily available.

Gold Run celebrates the dreams and aspirations that we all share, drawing on the historical significance of the exclusion of learning-disabled athletes in the Paralympics. The Gold Run projects emphasises the complexity and humanity that is present, but sometimes overlooked, when considering disability.”

Andy Hood: Documentary Photographer

As part of the Gold Run Project Outside In 2007 Award Winner Andy Hood was commissioned to document the project. The result was a stunning collection of photographs that told the story from the Choirs journey to the creation of James Lakes sculptural head of David Rushbrook. These striking images were exhibited alongside each performance.

Andy Hood, Documentary Photographer:

“I have been appointed to the role of official documentary photographer for Gold Run. It is my first professional commission and I am really excited about it. I have been given quite an open book in terms of how I approach the project though I am supported by Marc and Lucy and the Outside In team in doocumenting the project. I am building up a portfolio of images , some of which will be displayed at Wellington House Gallery in Brighton in in May 2012.

The documentary work is very different from how I approach my own photography. I tend to be quite eclectic and look for something that grabs me. Some of my recent work is taken on or from trains and also of buses at night. I like to use multiple exposures and create layers of images. I also made a series of interiors of my flat which were brightly coloured and blurry using a slow shutter speed.  Gold Run is a collaboration. It is a celebration of learning disabled athletes and it will address the issues of why they were left out and why they have now returned. It is a very interesting project to be part of and it is great that Outside In is putting its money where its mouth with this commission and directly supporting artists from the margins of society.”

Exhibition Timeline

The Stables Gallery at Glyndebourne Opera House

29 March – 9 April 2012.

Outside In: Brighton Gallery at Wellington House Day Options, Brighton

24 April – 30 August

The Studio at Pallant House Gallery, Chichester

4 September – 14 October 2012.