Aldgate Square Festival Theatre and Performance Workshops

Aldgate Square Festival is a fun-filled community celebration of all that Aldgate, and surrounds, has to offer. It will include a vibrant spectrum of music, dance, performance, food, games and theatre from around the East End and beyond, mirroring the cultural wealth of this fantastic area. 

Aldgate Square Festival is launching the new public square between 15th – 17th June 2018. The weekend will represent a creative collaboration between myriad groups, organisations; arts,educational and religious centres, businesses and individuals, showcasing the immensity of talent which resides in this unique corner of the capital, as well as the strength of its history.

The festival is the evolution of a Community Play project that was commissioned by the City of London in 2016, and which has been developing since. The community theatre elements of the festival will be drawing from the script which has been written by Artistic Director and Playwright, Jon Oram, in collaboration with community members and archives from across the area. The script is based on the history of, and social reform within Aldgate and the surrounding area. 

In the lead up to the festival, we are running a programme of theatre and performance workshops, a series of weekly workshops which will feed into performances at the festival. For all information, please contact Laura.Ratling@cityoflondon.gov.uk

Acting Now Social Theatre Company in Cambridge UK

By putting social, political and civic causes at the forefront of their work and by devising creative drama projects that breathe life into the important social challenges facing participants and audiences alike Acting Now contributes to transform people lives through theatre.

Acting Now uses drama techniques to engage with people who are at risk of social exclusion. They work with learning disabled people, adults with mental health challenges, the homeless and young people, using theatre to reflect, explore and analyse the issues that affect them. The workshops provide a space where the participants can develop self-confidence, learn new skills and transform their own reality using theatre. They also develop high quality plays that are performed in the local community.

Their methodology includes the theatre of the oppressed created by Augusto Boal in 1971 built around a variety of games and techniques that allowed unskilled participants to act. First, the participants become aware of their challenging situation. Then they are encouraged to analyse the factors which have caused it. Finally, the group acts on what they believe to be a solution to their challenges.

Also, Lecoq and the Physical Theatre encourages group work, since it is believed to improve emotions and feelings. The idea of Lecoq’s pedagogy “is to work in a common voice, is to be at one and at the same time grounded in the truth of a living character, and in touch with a dimension which transcends human reality”. This pedagogy created in 1956 stimulates the body, imagination and creativity.

As a platform to empower people and fight against exclusion, Acting Now works with charities and local authorities. Strong partnerships have been forged with a number of community organisations such as Rowan, Cambridge Cancer Help Centre and Wintercomfort, so as to support their service users in their future endeavours, to help them gain confidence and unlock their potential.

West Yorkshire Playhouse a vision of Vital Theatre

From the beginning it was clear that the new West Yorkshire Playhouse was going to be more than just a performing space.  In the first 6 years of operation the Playhouse produced 93 of its own productions encompassing classics and contemporary British and European drama, modern theatre from around the world and had implemented a vigorous new writing policy.

Ian Brown succeeded Jude Kelly as Artistic Director in 2002 and brought with him a commitment to continue the vital and established role that the Playhouse was playing in the community.  Under his leadership the Playhouse maintained its pioneering community engagement work and  gained a reputation for the quality and mix of its work.

Following Ian’s departure in 2012 he was succeeded by James Brining.  Although Leeds-born, James arrived via Richmond and Dundee.  With new-found vigour the Playhouse continues to develop and expand on the vision of Vital Theatre.

The Playhouse has two theatres, the Quarry with 750 seats and the smaller, more flexible Courtyard with 350 seats.  However its reach goes far beyond those two spaces; over the 2015 autumn season its work will be seen in over 60 venues from village halls (Beryl on tour) to Wales Millennium Centre (Sweeney Todd). In recent years plays have been taken out into the local community with Little Sure Shot and Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads being presented in community centres around the city.

51 years on from Doreen Newlyn’s notice to the Arts Council and 25 years on from the opening of the new building, the Playhouse remains as strong as ever, producing great theatre for, and by, its communities in the heart of the city of Leeds, West Yorkshire and the UK.


Playwright Thomas Eccleshare’s Heather at the Bush Theatre London

The Bush Theatre is a world-famous home for new plays and an internationally renowned champion of playwrights. They discover, nurture and produce the best new playwrights from the widest range of backgrounds, and present their work to the highest possible standards. They look for exciting new dramatic voices that tell contemporary stories with wit, style and passion and they champion work that is both provocative and entertaining.

Brilliantly imaginative and theatrically original, Heather is a short, sharp play about language, prejudice and the power of stories. The cast includes actors Ashley Gerlach and Charlotte Melia. The production runs 6-18 November 2017.

A reclusive children’s writer becomes wildly successful. Her books are treasured across the country. But when a troubling narrative starts to unfold, we find ourselves asking: what matters more, the storyteller or the story?

Thomas Eccleshare is the Verity Bargate Award-winning writer of Pastoral and the co-artistic director of Arches Brick Award winning company Dancing Brick. Heather will be directed by Valentina Ceschi and designed by Lily Arnold.

Watch the trailer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qwU9it9ZkbI
Book tickets https://www.bushtheatre.co.uk/event/heather/

Young Producers Programme at the Battersea Arts Centre London

The Battersea Arts Centre Young Producers Programme provides talented young people with producing training, including professional masterclasses, workshops and access to resources. 

The Young Producers are given a brief, budget and support to create and produce their own events within Battersea Arts Centre's youth takeover, Homegrown Festival. This is an exciting opportunity to bring out-of-the-box ideas to Battersea Arts Centre, from DJ nights to experimental performances and live debates. 

Participants will gain an introduction to producing through workshops in scheduling, budgeting, marketing, project management and artist liaison as well as learn from Battersea Arts Centre producers and arts professionals that run a range of events. Previous guest speakers have produced club nights, cabaret socials and independent festivals. 

They are interested in hearing from people with a wide range of interests. You do not need experience to apply. Past Young Producers have included beatboxers, art students, sixth-formers, actors, fashion designers, hairdressers and emerging theatre producers. Several have gone on to produce their own shows professionally, work at Battersea Arts Centre and even start their own events and production companies. 

The programme is free of charge. Age 16-29. For more information and application go to  https://www.bac.org.uk/content/39597/young_people/homegrown_1229/make_new_theatre/young_producers?utm_source=BAC&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=8768730_Universities%20email%20follow-up%20Oct%202017&utm_content=Young%20Producers%20more%20info&dm_t=0,0,0,0,0

Kneehigh Theatre Company’s The Tin Drum

Kneehigh will retell this extraordinary story of love, war and fizz powder as startling musical satire: part Baroque opera, part psychedelic white-out, part epic poem. A burlesque, a blitzkreig, a tidal wave about to break.

On Oskar’s third birthday, he rails against the adult world and decides to remain a child forever. Armed with a heart full of rage, a singing voice that shatters glass, and a seemingly indestructible tin drum, Oskar sets about to reveal the world for what it truly is. However, the world has other plans for our hero… The tide is turning. People are taking sides. And the shadow of the Black Witch draws ever closer. Hailed as one of the greatest novels ever written, Günter Grass’ surreal post-war masterpiece has never been more prescient.

From the team that brought you the internationally acclaimed Dead Dog in a Suitcase (and other love songs)The Tin Drum is a folktale for troubled times: one political, profane and profound.

Kneehigh are a Cornwall based theatre company with a local, national and international profile. For over 30 years they have created vigorous, popular and challenging theatre and perform with joyful anarchy.They tell stories based in breath-taking barns on the south coast of Cornwall. They create theatre of humanity on an epic and tiny scale. They work with an ever-changing ensemble of performers, artists, technicians, administrators, makers and musicians, and are passionate about our multi-disciplined creative process.


Initiative to tackle lack of diversity on theatre boards expands nationally

Leading theatres in the north of England are to come together with diverse theatremakers in a bid to tackle the lack of representation on boards. Led by Artistic Directors of the Future, the event took place on October 2 and marks a roll-out of the organisation's strand of work dedicated to diversifying the board members of UK theatres.

ADF, which was set up to increase the number of diverse artistic directors of mainstream theatres, said it recognised that trustees had "the ultimate responsibility to recruit and appoint artistic directors", but the chairs and trustees themselves were rarely from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds, especially in the north.

The event, called Diversifying Regional Theatre Boards, is being held at Sheffield Theatres, in association with Arts Council England, and follows an inaugural session at London’s Battersea Arts Centre in 2016. It will bring together the leaders of 30 national portfolio organisations with 30 diverse theatremakers to address the issue collectively, by discussing the barriers that prevent diversification at board level and developing strategies for implementing change at theatres.

This will include a training session led by Charlotte Jones, chief executive of the Independent Theatre Council, and provocations from directors including Javaad Alipoor, Amanda Huxtable and Nazli Tabatabai-Khatambakhsh. It is being described as an “action-focused event”. Theatres will commit to submitting action plans to ADF a month after the event, detailing how they intend to implement change.

In addition to the events, ADF is also developing a BAME board bank that can be used by theatres, and will be hosting annual board away days for trustees, artistic directors and senior executives from a range of organisations. The Arts Council, which has partnered with ADF, said it was “keen that the boards of our national portfolio organisations diversify and reflect contemporary England”.

The Stage https://www.thestage.co.uk

The Triforce Creative Network for Actors, Writers and Directors

TriForce Creative Network was built on a strong ethos of inclusion and access, opening doors to the industry to people from all walks of life and providing a trusted and viable avenue for the industry to discover diverse talent. We provide opportunities for actors, writers, directors, producers and crew through the following initiatives:

MonologueSlam UK

Supported by Spotlight, Equity and Channel 4, MonologueSlam UK is a renowned nationwide showcase for actors. For more info go to: monologueslamuk.com

WriterSlam UK

Supported by Channel 4, ITV, Sky and BBC, as well as production companies Hat Trick, Tiger Aspect and TriForce Productions, WriterSlam provides a platform for writers looking to break into TV. Prizes include paid development commissions and mentoring with top TV executives. For more information go to: http://thetcn.com/writerslam/

TriForce Short Film Festival

TFSFF is a short film festival established by the TriForce Creative Network in 2012 to showcase talent in contemporary film-making, helping emerging film-makers to develop skills and access opportunities to further their careers. 16 shortlisted films get the chance to be seen on the big screen, in front of key industry representatives, with the winning film-makers earning career development opportunities with our industry partners, as well as a cash prize for their next project. The TFSFF takes place at BAFTA, presenting a packed day of seminars tackling the key issues of the industry and offering invaluable advice from industry professionals, alongside a bustling industry expo and screenings of the shortlisted films. For more information go to: tfsff.com

The TCN Incubator

The TCN Incubator in association with Creative Skillset will develop 6 writers over a 12 month period with regular workshops, script development and mentoring. Building on the success of our writers initiative WriterSlam, this is an incredible opportunity for 6 writers wanting to take their next step in writing for TV! For more information go to: http://thetcn.com/incubator/

TriForce Productions

The production company was set up to create TV, film and online content, with a focus on diverse content for mainstream audiences. We delivered our first broadcast commission, Sorry, I Didn’t Know, a comedy panel show with a twist for ITV2 in 2016, with more projects in the pipeline. For more information go to: http://thetcn.com/triforce-productions/

Playwright Jim Cartwright Drama Studio's Quiet Revolution

Cartwright, whose plays include The Rise and Fall of Little Voice and Road, holds three drama classes every Sunday. He started the classes in 2015 after reading comments from Dame who said she would not be able to afford to become an actress if she was starting out again."It made me really cross because I'm from a working class background," he says.

Reading articles about shrinking opportunities made him "like a bull with a sore head", he says. So his wife told him: "Don't get angry. Do something." He took her advice and set up the drama studio with the aim of bringing through more working class talent, advertising his services in his local fish and chip shop."I got a little card saying 'drama studio' and stuck it on a chippy wall. And I waited. And they came, and they came, and they keep coming."

Two years later, he has five classes in the two locations and has set up a talent agency to represent the budding stars. There is also a youth group. The adult class members range from people who have never set foot on stage to jobbing actors who are honing their skills. There are students, retired people, a few teachers, a former policeman, a fireplace salesman.

Cartwright's efforts come as privately educated actors like Eddie Redmayne, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hiddleston and Damian Lewis seem to have taken over the TV, film and theatre landscape. Last year, The Sutton Trust found that 42% of the winners in three main Bafta award categories had gone to people from private schools, while Sky News recently calculated that 45% of the BBC’s best-paid stars were also privately educated. Also in 2016, researchers found that 16% of actors came from working class backgrounds - half the level of the population as a whole - and that the British acting profession was "heavily skewed towards the privileged."

Cartwright has turned drama teacher after more than 30 years as one of the most vital voices in British theatre. His debut play Road is currently back at the Royal Court in London, where it launched his career in 1986. He has also acted in TV shows like The Village, From Darkness and Coronation Street. With the Cartwright Drama Studio, he hopes to replicate the "explosion of energy and talent" that came with the Kitchen Sink movement of the 1950s. That was fading by the 1980s, he says, when he noticed "the floppy fringe coming back".

His students come from all sections of society. Some would identify as working class, some wouldn't. But he believes the mindset is what sets his studio apart. Cartwright brings casting directors and agents to see his students perform at regular showcases. Some have won small film and TV roles and are working on their own theatre shows and short films. There are no stars yet - but he is sure some have the talent to go all the way.

At the age of 19, Emma Heyes has studied acting at college and is attending the classes in preparation for auditioning for drama school. In the meantime, she's working on the checkouts at Tesco. She has already had enough acting experience to know her accent puts her at a disadvantage.

As part of the training, Cartwright tasks the group members with writing and performing monologues. He recommends one by 38-year-old Scott Brerton. Brerton reads it and it is a bittersweet tale of trying to remember what happened on a big night out. It is exactly the sharp, funny, full-of-life voice that Cartwright is trying to encourage. Brerton had not acted before he started coming to the classes six months ago. He has now been for his first audition and won his first role, performing in a three-night play in Liverpool last month.

It is early days for all concerned, and the "quiet revolution" may end with a whimper or a roar. But at any rate, Cartwright is on a mission to make it happen.


The Market Theatre Johannesburg is back in the UK!

The Suitcase brings together a unique partnership of venues in the North of England and the Market Theatre Johannesburg, marking the internationally renowned theatre company’s return to the UK after a five year absence. This partnership, the first of its kind, enables international work to be performed across five northern cities, sharing programming and strengthening audience development. The tour has been made possible through National Lottery Funding from Arts Council England’s Strategic Touring programme.

It’s a story never more relevant to our time, exploring issues of identity, migration, exile and celebration of the human spirit. The show will have its UK premiere at Hull Truck Theatre (31 August–9 September) as part of Hull UK City of Culture 2017’s Freedom season before touring to Newcastle (14-16 September), Derby (20-23 September), Lancaster (27-29 September) and Liverpool (4-7 October).

The Market Theatre, founded in Johannesburg in 1976 by Mannie Manim and the late Barney Simon, was constructed out of Johannesburg’s Indian Fruit Market – built in 1913. The theatre went on to become internationally renowned as South Africa’s “Theatre of the Struggle”. The Market Theatre challenged the apartheid regime, armed with little more than the conviction that culture can change society. The strength and truth of that conviction was acknowledged in 1995 when the theatre received the American Jujamcyn Award. In providing a voice to the voiceless, The Market Theatre did not forego artistic excellence, but, rather, made a point of it. Its twenty-one international and over three hundred South African theatre awards bears eloquent testimony to the courage and artistic quality of its work.

During the past four decades, The Market Theatre has evolved into a cultural complex for theatre, music, dance and the allied arts. Today, The Market Theatre remains at the forefront of South African theatre, actively encouraging new works that continue to reach international stages. The Market Theatre is renowned world-wide for brilliant anti-apartheid plays that have included Woza Albert, Asinamali, Bopha, Sophiatown, You Strike the Woman You Strike a Rock, Born in the RSA, Black Dog – Inj’emnyama, as well as the premieres of many of Athol Fugard’s award-winning dramas. The Market Theatre’s history is intertwined with the cultural, social and political struggle for freedom in South Africa.

The Market Theatre is celebrating the past, but it is also confidently looking forward to playing a major cultural role in the 21st century for South Africa, and the African continent. To achieve this, The Market’s artistic policy for a post-apartheid South Africa centres on encouraging new dramatic writing. These new works will offer ways to help South Africans understand, interpret and thrive in the second decade of the country’s new democratic life. The Market must continue to be a theatre that is engaged, challenging and entertaining. The staff remains committed to maintaining the highest possible artistic standards as it searches out exemplary new writing, and the best new, young directors, designers and lighting designers to achieve this mission. The Market Theatre is determined to build on its reputation, even as it faces the new challenges of the 21st Century.




  • Page 1 of 2
  • Page 1 of 2