Wrestling the Walrus has been named The Hodgkiss Award winner 2018

We are thrilled to announce that 154 Collective have been selected as the 2018 Hodgkiss Award-winners with Wrestling the Walrus. The award supports the realisation of a brand-new piece of ambitious theatre made by an artist or company from the North of England. We are very excited to be working with The Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester and The Yard Theatre, London on this year’s award, which saw ten incredibly ambitious and inventive artists and companies reach the shortlist.

Patrons of the award Sue and Sally Hodgkiss said of the winning ensemble:

‘We are delighted that the 154 Collective will be receiving the 2018 Hodgkiss Award. They are passionate and dynamic theatre makers and storytellers, who have a distinct identity that shines through in their work, but also a clear desire to evolve and expand their practice with every project they undertake. We are excited to see how their proposal will develop with the support of the award and have no doubt the 154 Collective will make a wonderfully creative and innovative piece.’

This year the judging panel included Tanuja Amarasuriya (Co-Artistic Director of Sleepdogs), Omar Elerian (Associate Director, the Bush), Sarah Frankcom (Royal Exchange Artistic Director), Jay Miller (The Yard Artistic Director), Bryony Shanahan (Royal Exchange Associate Artistic Director), Annabel Turpin (Artistic Director & Chief Executive, ARC) and Sally Hodgkiss. The panel were looking for an exceptional artist or company with a bold, original idea for a piece of live performance-based work. During their presentation 154 Collective showed real originality, a clear vision and a passion to challenge their own creative boundaries.

Royal Exchange Associate Artistic Director and Judge Bryony Shanahan said…

‘What struck me most about 154 Collective is their unique process of collaboration with a number of artists across many disciplines, culminating in an entirely distinctive work. Their work is imaginative, playful and the meeting of this award and this company feels the perfect time for them to push their practice and fulfil their ambitions, and for us to engage with very exciting artists. I can’t wait to see the work.’

This new piece of work will be a multi-artform theatre production combining performance, film, animation, visual art and music. It is a poignant, warm and sometimes absurd tale of loneliness, companionship and our instinct to elaborate our own stories. Following its premiere at the Royal Exchange, Wrestling the Walrus will transfer to both ARC Stockton and The Yard, allowing the work further development, audience and critical reach.

Annabel Turpin, Chief Executive & Artistic Director, ARC Stockton added…

‘I was struck by how 154 Collective want to use the experience of dementia to explore how important our stories are, to us and to the people around us, and for that reason Wrestling the Walrus feels very different to other shows that have explored this territory. The mix of artform expertise within the collective, their unique model of remote collaboration and their use of technology within the work promises to make something that transports audiences to a world they’ve not seen before.’

Jay Miller, Artistic Director The Yard, said…

‘I am delighted that 154 Collective have won The Hodgkiss Award. The competition was tough but ‘154’ have such a uniquely ambitious way of working, and an idea for a show that we think will be gloriously delicate and moving. I can’t wait to start working with them.’

The company will receive:

£4,000 and an artistic mentor, plus a year of supported development of the work with paid R&D opportunities at the Royal Exchange and ARC Stockton. They will also receive a budget and support to realise the production in Spring/Summer 2019 along with producing support throughout from the Royal Exchange and the support and guidance of their marketing, development, dramaturgical making and technical departments.

Dan Mallaghan, Lead Theatre Artist, 154 Collective said of winning:

‘154 Collective are completely delighted to have been selected for this prestigious award. We are really excited to be making Wrestling the Walrus with Royal Exchange Theatre and partners ARC Stockton and The Yard. Wrestling the Walrus will be our most ambitious show to date, having the opportunity to work with such experienced and knowledgeable partners will mean that we can realise the full potential of the work and create something very special for audiences.’