21Common create dance that challenges the accepted and expected, led by artists Lucy Gaizely and Gary Gardiner, Scotland's leading learning-disabled dancer Ian Johnston and Executive Producer Louise Irwin. 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 over two years 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.
In 2019 they created IN THE INTEREST OF HEALTH AND SAFETY CAN PATRONS PLEASE 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 societ's reluctance to let children take risks. It received widespread attention at its premiere, receiving both a five star and a two-star review, with the latter absolutely disgusted by the work. This piece was developed via two residencies, one with Imaginate's PuSH Lab in Hasslet, Belgium, and the second with The Work Room in Glasgow. The artists examined how 'Wildness' is fundamentally a way in which children and young people learn, freed of the shackles of a classroom and all its inertia. They explored how artists have an opportunity to assist children in their very real assertions that society is fractured, where more parameters and safety measures now exist than ever before.
IN THE INTEREST OF... 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.