We are absolutely delighted that our Artistic Director Janice Connolly has been awarded a British Empire Medal for her services to Community Arts in the West Midlands. Janice says “What a huge and fantastic honour this is, I am overwhelmed and delighted. I share this honour with all of the artists, staff, partners and participants I have had the pleasure of working with for so many years. I share it with people from across the whole community, it is their stories that inspire me and it is their voices that I strive to share.” As you would expect, she’s as down to earth as ever, and still happy to make the tea while we plan more exciting projects for 2017!
This month, Women and Theatre stopped by at the Unite Community Practitioners’ & Health Visitors’ Association (CPHVA) Conference in Telford. Jean Pickles spoke about what it really means to be a health visitor. Following on from the rallying speech monologues based on true accounts from health visitors and school nurses across the nation were read by three actors. It was a brilliant evening filled with proud and inspirational moments.
“Thanks for a great performance The monologues captured the work of HV & SN teams perfectly and the humorous delivery had us in stitches whilst reminding us all of the great work we do & the positive impact on the families & communities we serve
Just wonderful! Thank you”
“Thanks for your great performance Women and Theatre! It certainly rounded off a great first day of our annual conference. The stage diving health visitor was also a great talking point at that evenings party”
‘Painfully naked honesty from a kickass female cast. Thank you for telling our stories’
‘The writing resonated with the young people’s experiences and gave it an authenticity which is hard to deny.’
‘I haven’t seen a piece of theatre so magnificent, electrifying and current as this in a long time. ‘
With fantastic reviews from the Birmingham performances of Starting Out, we’re really looking forward to opening in London this week. Performances run from Wednesday 19 – Saturday 22 October at Hackney Showroom, with tickets available here or via the Box Office on 020 3095 9747.
We’re really pleased to announce that Arts Council England have awarded us a grant to support the development of a prototype of our new project: A Moment of Madness (previously being developed under the name ‘Agent in a Box‘).
Currently at concept stage, A Moment of Madness will be a new kind of spy-themed narrative game. Players provide live support as an agent in the field on a stake-out mission. The paper fragments enclosed in the packages together with a cheap mobile phone that accesses an automated interactive sms, voice call and message system deliver the hour-and-a-half-long narrative experience.
Artistic Director Katie Day will be collaborating with John Sear, an experienced game designer and software developer to create this new kind of narrative game.
We’re excited to be developing the project at BOM Lab, as an R&D Residency there over the summer.
Meet our lovely cast members for our new production Starting Out which opens at The REP on Wednesday 12 October. From left to right – Jalleh Alizadeh, Luanda Holness, Phoebe Brown, Katerina Demetraki and our new W&T Artistic Intern Rosalyn Norford. A series of monologues written by five of the UK’s most exciting playwrights, Starting Out portrays the experiences of young women entering the world of work in 2016. Performances at The REP from 12-15 October and then at Hackney Showoom 19-22 October.
Young male performer sought for new interactive performance in Birmingham
The Other Way Works – a new theatre game – ‘Agent in a Box’
We are looking for a performer to play ‘Hussein Kissar’ in a new theatre game we are developing, who fits the character brief below.
The part would suit a student performer, or someone with a playing age of 19-21. Ideally Birmingham/West Midlands based.
– Short Voice recordings of voicemail messages
– Live performance (observed by audience sitting in parked cars)
– – Walking around a multi-storey car park, agitated, on the phone
– – Potential meeting with ‘Michael Makerson’ in the car park, argument/hug/kiss etc
– – Potential delivery of envelope to audience members in parked car and short dialogue with them from back seat of car.
Nationality: Saudi Arabian
Hussein Kissar is a Saudi-born young man. The son of a wealthy Saudi businessman, he has been privately educated at top UK boarding school.
He is now a University student in London. He is independently wealthy and free to enjoy his life.
He has a keen interest in environmental issues and the green agenda.
He is a homosexual and is ‘out’ to his peers in the UK, but not to his family, or to friends in Saudi Arabia. He is therefore discreet about his sexuality in public contexts where this might attract unwanted coverage.
He has been having a secret affair with the politician and Environment Secretary ‘Michael Makerson’ for over a year. Makerson met him when giving a speech at his school, where Makerson’s own children also attend. Aged 17, he was invited by Makerson to shadow him as part of the school’s work experience programme.
– We’d like to make voice recordings in mid September, in Birmingham (or remotely)
– Performances as part of a public ‘playtesting’ event in central Birmingham on Monday 26th September 10am – 6pm
Potential performances in London on 12 & 13th November (under separate agreement)
To cover 1 day of rehearsals and performances on 26 September 2016 and recording of short vocal recordings before that, inclusive of travel.
Katie Day, Artistic Director, The Other Way Works
Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org telling us about your performing experience and why you would like to be involved by WEDNESDAY 14th SEPTEMBER 2016.
Please make the Email Subject: Hussein Kissar Role.
Please attach a CV and links to any photos/showreels/profiles online.
We are delighted to be able to offer another Artistic Internship position this September through funding from the Creative Employment Programme. This paid Internship offers a creative individual the chance to gain professional experience, working with an award-winning theatre company on all aspects of project delivery including performance, stage management, workshop delivery and project-related administration.
The vacancy is for 30 hours a week for a 6 month period starting on Monday 19 September. Applicants should be aged 18-24 and must be registered unemployed with JobCentre Plus at the time of applying. Application forms should be submitted by 12 noon on Wednesday 10th August 2016 and interviews will be held on Wednesday 7th September 2016. Application packs are available from email@example.com.
Yesterday, 30 June 2016, marked the closure of The Drum Arts Centre. The Special Resolution to wind-up Newtown Cultural Project Ltd, better known as The Drum, was taken by its Chair, Sharon Palmer and the Board of Trustees in March of this year. Their decision was made following a review of the organisation commissioned by the Arts Council. The building will now revert back to the landlords, Birmingham City Council.
Newtown Cultural Project was incorporated as a company. limited by guarantee, with charitable status in Autumn 1994. It spent four years developing its vision, securing funding and engaging with audiences before moving into the building based in Potters Lane, Newtown, Birmingham which was the site of the former Aston Hippodrome. After being closed for decades, Aston Hippodrome was reincarnated in 1998 as The Drum Arts Centre, reigniting its legacy as a venue where arts, diversity and cultural activity could be enjoyed by all.
The Drum came about following a strongly articulated desire in the 1980s by the region’s Black artists who presented a strong case for the need for a major building based resource. This desire contributed to West Midlands Arts and Birmingham City Council’s 1992 Black Arts Strategy. The Drum opened its doors in Spring 1998 and occupied these premises for nearly 19 years.
Throughout its 22-year history, The Drum provided a much-needed resource for Britain’s African, Asian and Caribbean artists and communities. The multi-purpose arts centre welcomed artists, audiences and participants – African, Asian, Caribbean and European from across Birmingham, the UK and the rest of the world. It presented a diverse mix of music, theatre, dance, comedy, spoken word, literature and film supported by workshops, masterclasses and a programme dedicated to developing the confidence, artistic and cultural talent of young people from the surrounding area. The Drum was also synonymous with some of Birmingham’s major celebrations and festivals including Black History Month, Aston Heritage Day and Simmer Down.
The Drum is proud of its history. It’s proud of its achievements – the dedication of all its audiences, participants, artists, promoters, advocates and staff who contributed their time, energies and talent to support the organisation’s vision to be the UK’s leading Black Arts Centre. Thank you to each and every one of you.
In order that we might find some way to try and explain and understand the background and decisions leading up to the winding up of Newtown Cultural Project and the subsequent closure of The Drum Arts Centre; in order that 22 years is not consigned purely to archives and history books; in order that The Drum doesn’t become yet another unfulfilled promise and the latest demise of a Black-led, dedicated Black arts venue, Birmingham City Council facilitated the coordination of a Steering Group. This group have been meeting for several weeks and is now taking discussions forward under the banner of Birmingham Black Arts Development Agency (BBDA). Please visit the website https://bbada.wordpress.com for more details and to join the debate.
The Council is also welcoming proposals to run The Drum building. All interested parties are being invited to submit an Expression of Interest. For more information, go online and visit property.birmingham.gov.uk. Alternatively, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0121 303 3935. The deadline for applications is 1 August 2016 at 2.30pm.
Closure of The Drum is a loss to everyone – not only to those who enjoyed its support and facilities. It is the loss of the symbol of Britain’s promise to promote cultural diversity in the arts and particularly to Britain’s national Black Arts Strategy. A light has gone out, but the spirit and heart remains!
The Word Lounge – a new cabaret performance created and performed by young people – will premiere on Saturday 2 July 2016. Looked After Young People, Young Carers and YP with additional learning needs, aged 11-18, have come together to create this performance which includes spoken word, original songs, dance and drama, and explores the power of words. Performances are at 2pm and 7pm, and everyone is welcome. A sensory room is available for those who struggle to be in a crowded situation.
Performances: Saturday 2 July at 2pm & 7pm at The Patrick Centre, Birmingham Hippodrome.
Tickets: £5/£3 (conc) are available online here, or via the Box office on 0844 338 5000
We are very pleased to have been selected by the Caravan Curatorial Team to be part of the 2016 Caravan Showcase.
The showcase presents a programme of the best new English performance to a selection of international promoters, festival organisers and presenters as part of the Brighton Festival.
We will be presenting a pitch about our new project Agent in a Box, on Monday 16th May 2016 at 10am in Brighton.