Arts of the UK 2020: Theatre Centre looks ahead with a season with a difference, offering new educational initiatives
LONDON – Rob Watt’s striking inaugural season as interim Artistic Director of Theatre Centre launches with a digital writing course led by exceptional professional writers to champion the next generation of voices. Alongside this are two fantastic new collaborations: 19 new commissions as part of ImagiNation, a digital anthology with Theatre503 to be presented by the nation; and a tour of a powerful new writing piece from award-winning Charlotte Josephine, in association with Soho Theatre.
Responding to the recent uncertainty with creativity and togetherness, Theatre Centre’s new online writing course aims to empower and educate during lockdown, inspiring young people to keep creating. The programme will be led by extraordinary writers including – Frazer Flintham, Keith Jarett (UK Poetry Slam champion), Charlotte Josephine, Nessah Muthy (Writer’s Guild nominated), Chinonyerem Odimba, and Leo J. Skilbeck (Fringe First winner) – alongside Rob Watt, an Associate at Headlong Theatre, who previously led the young people’s team at the National Theatre.
Spearheaded by these acclaimed professional writers, the live masterclasses will unpack a different aspect of writing each week. They will be recorded and made available online for free to enable easy access. Each session will be accompanied by downloadable content on the Theatre Centre website to ensure the classes will be a fresh and effective educational tool for teachers, parents, and guardians.
Watt comments: “These are exceptional times. Theatre Centre remains wide open, making work and listening in as many ways we can. It is essential that we support teachers, and students, whether in school or studying at home, and communities. That is why we have created an online writing course led by brilliant writers. Now, more than ever, we want to give people the opportunity to develop the skills to creatively reflect on this extraordinary time, preparing them to be back in a physical rather than virtual world and to archive this remarkable time.”
Striving to keep creating exceptional work, Theatre Centre is collaborating on ImagiNation, a digital anthology, with Theatre503, the country’s leading venue for debut and emerging writers. The project will see 19 outstanding writers, including Theatre Centre Patron Roy Williams, create short stories for the nation to tell. These plays will be released for individuals, families, flatmates, school children, care homes and youth theatres to read, record and submit. Theatre Centre and Theatre503 will then use their pick of these recordings to create a snapshot of the nation. Further details are to be announced.
Working to ensure venues still have incredible work to stage following this difficult time, later this autumn the Theatre Centre, in association with Soho Theatre, will tour Charlotte Josephine’s new play Birds and Bees. Directed by Rob Watt, it will fuse Josephine’s fiery contemporary spoken word with the vibrant stylings of acclaimed sound designer Xana. Birds and Bees will interrogate the complicated nature of teenage relationships in the digital age, opening discussions about modern relationships and sex education for young audiences.