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Arts: Theatre Talent Is Coming HOME

Posted by Mark Cantrell on November 25, 2016 at 4:30 PM

 All of Manchester is but a stage


A Manchester theatre is opening its doors to talent with a new development programme it says will allow theatrical types at all stages of their career the opportunity to practice and expand their skills.


HOME is offering a variety of ways for theatre-makers to develop their skills, with a package that features one-off skills workshops, long-term development residencies, and regular opportunities to showcase work, whether it is new or in progress.


The aim is to support the professional development of artists from across the region, as well as nationally, throughout the coming year.


Organisations backing the development programme include the Foyle Foundation, the Harold Hyam Wingate Foundation, and the Garrick Charitable Trust.


“We want HOME to be a creative hub where local and world-class talent of all backgrounds and disciplines are discovered, nurtured and showcased, coming together to create new work and experiences,” said Walter Meierjohann, HOME's artistic director, theatre.


Highlights of the forthcoming programme include 'T1Commission 2019', and 'Made at HOME'.


The former is a pilot for two-year residency for one theatre maker to take part in a tailored development programme. It will lead to the commission of a piece of work for HOME’s Theatre 1 stage.


The latter, meanwhile, is a research and development programme for mid-career theatre makers to experiment and explore cross-artform ideas and collaborations. It will run alongside a series of specialist skills workshops, and directors’ residencies in partnership with the JMK Trust.


The new programme will also present training courses and theatre festivals including 'Orbit', which will feature “some of the most exciting and critically acclaimed productions from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and beyond”, and 'PUSH', a two-week festival of new and “extraordinary experiences shining a light on regional talent”.


HOME said its new programme will also include a variety of industry-focused skills workshops, which will “connect our regional artists with practitioners making work for our stages, screens and galleries”.


In further developments, HOME said it is welcoming two new associate companies to its ensemble. The first of these is 1927 (Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, The Magic Flute, Golem), and the second is Mighty Heart Theatre (When I Feel Like Crap I Google Kim Kardashian Fat, What’s The Matter With You?).

Both are said to challenge the conventions of theatre making with “burning social and political issues” at their core.


The two join existing associates Quarantine, which is said to be Manchester’s leading experimental theatre company.


Meanwhile, actor Katie West is joining HOME as associate artist. She first took to HOME’s stage in the UK premiere of Chamaco, by Cuban playwright Abel González Melo, as part of ¡Viva! Spanish and Latin American Festival 2016. Her recent credits include the Royal Exchange Theatre, the Almeida Theatre and Manchester International Festival.


Another creative endeavour that is coming HOME is Mothers Who Make. This is described as a peer support group and creative exchange session for mothers who are artists, writers, painters, actors, dancers, filmmakers and photographers. It will aim to give creative mothers the chance to explore their practice in a room with their children.


With the help of the funding from the Foyle Foundation, HOME said external guest speakers will be invited to talk about their journey of being an artist and a mother, providing insight on national initiatives they have been a part of or set up, and is expected to be a catalyst for conversation within that session and beyond.


Meierjohann added: “The T1 Commission is a one-of-a-kind pilot project which will provide a unique opportunity to create work for our stage in Theatre 1. Made at HOME will allow theatre makers to experiment free from the pressure of public performance, and Artist Connect will feature a range of beneficial, one-off skills workshops.


“We’re very excited that the Foyle Foundation is supporting our mission to truly be a HOME for all, and very much look forward to exploring our new partnerships with 1927, Mighty Heart Theatre and Katie West.”



Photo: Chamaco (Kiddo), production still. Photo credit Graeme Cooper


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