Nine North East based artists and theatre companies have been selected to benefit from a developmental residency programme that will enable ideas for new theatre work to be developed in the region.
The artists and companies will receive a comprehensive package of support from the North East Artist Development Network, which is led by a steering group made up of influencers from regional theatres, arts centres and festivals, and is supported by a number of North East venues.
The following artists and companies submitted successful applications: Bonnie and the Bonnettes, Maria Crocker and Ross Millard, Debbie Harbin, Matt Miller, Kitchen Zoo, Kristin Kelly-Abbott, Mike Edwards, Ruth Johnson, Sian Armstrong & Helen Ferguson.
Annabel Turpin, who is Chief Executive and Artistic Director of ARC and also part of the NEADN steering group, commented:
“The Residency Programme offers an invaluable opportunity for artists in this region to develop early stage ideas to a level where they can go on and secure other support to realise them. The selected companies and artists for this year’s residency have presented some really interesting proposals, with many different exciting and relevant themes for a wide range of audiences. It is fantastic to be able to invest in them at this stage.”
Middlesbrough-born Maria Crocker will be developing some initial ideas for new work alongside Ross Millard, former member of Sunderland based indie band The Futureheads. The pair will be working on an idea about the decline of local industries and the effect it is having on civic pride and the welfare of families.
Maria commented on their idea being selected: “We're delighted to have been selected for an NEADN residency. It is such a luxury to be given time and space to develop a new idea, and for us, a new writing partnership as well. We felt very strongly that we wanted to make this show in our local area, surrounded by the North East's distinctive landscape.”
Theatre maker Ruth Johnson has worked with various theatre companies in the North East for the past nine years, and is looking forward to developing ideas for her own piece of work.
She primarily makes shows for families and will be focussing on developing ideas for a musical show inspired by a classic children’s tale.
She said: "I am really delighted to be taking part in the NEAD Residency Scheme. It is invaluable to be able to have time, space and resources to take a spark of an idea and build and cultivate it in such a supported way."
The residencies are designed to support artists and companies at the earliest stages of developing their work, providing an opportunity to work up an idea, with the support of a venue, to the point where is it commission ready so that they are in a position to seek funding or other support to realise the work.
Each beneficiary will now undertake a residency where they will be paired with a regional host venue and will work with a mentor from the steering group to develop ideas. They will also benefit from up to £2,000 financial support, space for research and development, the opportunity to showcase their work at a regional scratch event as well as a chance to present their ideas at Meet the Programmers.
Applications will be welcomed next spring for the 2018 residency programme.