When the ICA moved into its new premises on The Mall in spring 1968, an elevated section called the ‘podium’ formed the backbone of the open design of the ground floor space. The Director at the time, Michael Kustow, stated how ‘the space could transform swiftly into a performance-and-seating-area, capable of numerous permutations’. Such an open vision has since driven the ICA’s commitment to the work of artists across fields of music, theatre, spoken word, performance art and dance.
‘Live’ at the ICA encompasses approaches to performance that are in some instances grounded in specific disciplinary enquiries, and in others traverse contemporary classifications. Working solo and with collaborators, musicians, performance artists, playwrights, poets and choreographers present and often develop their work throughout the entire ICA, from its theatre to the galleries and cinemas.
The ICA is committed to commissioning and producing performance works, supporting artists through substantial residency periods in which new works are developed. Regular programmes focus on more ephemeral live presentations of performance, spoken word or music, placing experimental practices within wider critical context.