Bridging the Gap expands in fourth year

For the past three years, ARC Stockton, Newcastle Theatre Royal and The Maltings, Berwick-upon-Tweed have worked together to offer a joint package of in-kind support to enable North East based theatre companies to develop and present a new piece of work across the three venues. It has already offered support to regional artists Rabbit Damage, INK Productions, and Daniel Bye.

As Alnwick Playhouse, the Customs House and Northern Stage join the fold this year, the project is set to double its impact, running two schemes. Scheme A will support a piece of new writing or devised work and Scheme B makes provision for a piece of new work based on a known text.

The venues are now seeking emerging professional companies, with experience of producing at least one show, to benefit from these packages in 2012-13. Each scheme will offer an all-encompassing package to aid the development of the successful applicants work, including six weeks rehearsal space, six performances, regular meetings with the venue, marketing support and much more, giving the company or artist a platform to showcase their work fully.

Rabbit Damage’s Jaye Kearney, who along with her collaborator Jill Chambers were the first of Bridging The Gap’s successful applicants in 2010, was recently shortlisted for Northern Stage’s Title Pending award, and has just received ACE funding to develop her first solo show, One.

She was followed Becci Sharrock from Ink Productions in 2011, who is now working as a producer for Theatre Sans Frontiere. Becci said,

Being a part of Bridging the Gap was a fantastic experience for INK and all the artists who were involved in the project. It gave us a huge boost in confidence, exposed our brand and work to a wider audience and created new and exciting relationships and opportunities.

2012’s initiative welcomed Middlesbrough artist Daniel Bye, described as “the future of British Theatre” by The Times. Having enjoyed a successful run of his innovative verbatim-style story, Ash or How to Occupy an Oil Rig as part of Bridging the Gap, ARC will be continuing to work with Daniel to tour the show nationally in 2013. Daniel said,

Bridging the Gap was an incredible opportunity to take some time properly developing a piece of work. The support from all three venues was invaluable in making a new show that I’m incredibly excited about and has already generated a lot of interest.

ARC’s Chief Executive Annabel Turpin says that she is pleased to welcome the expansion of Bridging the Gap:

I am delighted that three new venues have come on board with this initiative, which has proved so valuable to the selected artists and companies who have benefited from the scheme so far. It is a great way of venues working together to support artists, and demonstrates how committed we all are to making great theatre happen in the North East.

• Closing date for applications is 10am Mon 19 Nov. For more information, please email [email protected]