Hibrow (Hibrow Productions Limited) is a free, curatorial website for the performing and visual arts and a producer of film and live events across the international cultural arena founded by British filmmaker Don Boyd. Since launching in 2012, Hibrow has created hundreds of hours of high-quality arts programming and has delivered fresh, award-winning cultural events and films to a wide international audience through various media formats and via multiple platforms.
Founded in part as “a response to the TV industry’s marginalisation of the arts”, Hibrow’s editorial policy is driven by “curators” rather than commercial executives. Hibrow’s curators are themselves respected practitioners of the arts, such as Gary Kemp, Steven Berkoff, Floella Benjamin, Amit Chaudhuri, Vasily Petrenko and Mark Cousins. Hibrow curators also encompass artistic institutions such as Tate St Ives, Edinburgh’s Traverse Theatre, the New English Ballet Theatre and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra as well as events such as World Book Night, the Folio Prize, FESPACO and the Marrakech Biennale.
Such direct creative influence on editorial policy allows for experimental projects to accompany more populist productions and gives artists the opportunity to explore activities outside of their usual repertoire. The result is more freedom for artists and, consequentially, a more vibrant and challenging experience for audiences.
Chair of Arts Council England, Sir Peter Bazalgette observed that “the digital revolution offers a once in a lifetime opportunity to bring more art to more people in more ways that we have ever imagined”, and it is a founding principle of Hibrow to present high-quality, independent arts programming to audiences on whichever platform they choose to consume media anywhere in the world. Central to this is publishing video content to this website, where hundreds of HD videos are available free and on demand internationally. This body of work is regularly added to and encapsulates performances, rehearsals, interviews, exhibitions, concerts, and festivals and includes documentaries and feature length films as well as shorter videos. Having the potential to become “a YouTube for the Arts”, as this archive of content grows it will become a vital cultural and educational resource as well as continuing to entertain and stimulate with fresh material.
Hibrow has partnered with the BBC, Time Out Magazine and Curzon Cinemas to create digital content for their online channels. In 2013 Hibrow partnered with Propeller TV, who repackaged Hibrow films for their regular arts programme broadcast on SKY Channel 189, on the CIBN platform in China and across a UK higher education television network covering 230,000 students.
Hibrow is a pioneer in transmitting live art events to cinemas. In 2010, Hibrow simulcast the Traverse Theatre’s “Impossible Things Before Breakfast” series, a collection of new plays by Enda Walsh, David Eldridge, Linda McLean and Simon Stephens from the Edinburgh Festival to Picturehouse cinemas across the UK. After the live simulcast the plays were post produced and remain available on the Hibrow site alongside contextual material such as interviews with the writers, directors and actors and insights to the rehearsal process.
In 2014, Hibrow spearheaded a coproduction with the BBC at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe called Hibrow Hour, a programme of thirteen new shows, including fresh work from Steven Berkoff, Peter Howson and Richard Demarco as well as Alison Jackson’s satirical opera, La Trashiata. The programme of daily events was presented in front of live audiences at Summerhall throughout the festival, with each show being filmed, live streamed to BBC channels and transmitted to Odeon cinemas around the UK. The post produced films are available in the Hibrow archive alongside contextual material.
Hibrow has also produced a number of feature films that have screened at major international festivals, including Telluride, Sundance, London and Karlovy Vary. Hibrow produced the essay films Here Be Dragons (2013), Life May Be (2014) and 6 Desires: DH Lawrence & Sardinia (2014) by Norther Irish filmmaker and writer Mark Cousins.
A privately owned and funded company, Hibrow earns revenues through sponsorship, media sales and ticket returns from screenings and events and currently remains free of advertising. It aims to help create an environment where art is accessible to all through supporting a climate in which artists can prosper independently. British theatre, film and opera director Richard Eyre is on Hibrow’s board of directors alongside educationalists and advertising executives.
Hibrow Productions is based in Liverpool and has small offices in London. Its technological partner is Ooyala, a leading online video technology company based in Silicon Valley.
Hibrow - the arts online
Grierson Award Nomination, London Film Festival 2014 for Here Be Dragons (2013)
Best Karma Award, One World Romania Human Rights Film Festival 2014 for Here Be Dragons (2013)
In 2013 Hibrow made a successful application to Arts Council England regarding a proposal of 52 independent projects over a 20 month period in 2014 - 15