Live Lab 2017/18 Bursaries awarded and Associate Artists appointed

Live Lab pic Monday, July 17, 2017

Live Theatre has announced its Live Lab bursary winners and associate artists for 2017/18. As the home of new theatre in the North East, Live Lab is the creative space in which new writing and talent is supported by Live Theatre.

Actor Kema Sikazwe and theatre company The Six Twenty have been appointed Live Lab Associate Artists for 2017/18. Live Lab Associate Artists are mentored and supported by Live Theatre’s creative team and invited to take part in projects throughout the year.

Kema Sikazwe, a musician and rapper who got his first major acting role as China in Ken Loach’s film drama I, Daniel Blake hopes to work with Live Theatre to develop his skills in stage acting.  He was also selected through open auditions as a member of the Regional Young Actors Ensemble based at Live Theatre.

Kema said:

”It is amazing that I have been selected to be a Live Lab Associate Artist. I believe that it will help to develop my acting skills and give me direction for my acting career and I’m looking forward to seeing what the future holds.”

The Six Twenty have already produced plays at Live Theatre such as Parklife, Breakfast Hearts/Choirplay, as well as running the cult music-quiz comedy show Mixtape. Artistic Director and Creative producer Melanie Rashbrooke hopes to develop new work at Live Theatre including new play FANS and a piece on the real-life exploits of a Butlins Red Coat.

Melanie said: 

“I’m thrilled to be joining Live Theatre as an Associate Artist.  This will give us the opportunity to develop existing shows and develop new work and new projects with new writers and performers.  With Live Theatre’s support it’s exciting to go from creating work for the studio to now making theatre for the main stage.”

Live Lab Associate Artists 2017/18 actor Kema Sikazwe and Melanie Rashbrooke Artistic Director and Creative Producer at The Six Twenty

Graeme Thompson, Creative Producer at Live Theatre said:

“To be working with Kema and The Six Twenty is really exciting. Kema is such an energetic and ambitious performer. He has a certain raw energy that together with us here at Live Theatre I think we can channel into some powerful work. Also, to be developing our relationship with The Six Twenty is fantastic. They are one of the best companies working in the region and it’s a real opportunity to create some great plays.”

Live Lab Bursaries have also been awarded for artists and companies with innovative approaches to text based work. Four bursaries of £2000 will be given to help develop work from artists across the country at Live Theatre.

Graeme added:

“We had a tremendous response to the call out for our Live Lab Bursary this year, with over 170 applications of an incredibly high calibre. We were unable to give just one award so have been delighted to be awarding four Live Lab Bursaries for two North East based artists, and two nationally based artists to develop new with Live Theatre.”

Performance poet, actress and writer for stage and screen, Katie Bona’s one woman show All the Things I Lied About was one of the hottest shows of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2016. The show has been nominated for two Off West End awards, Most Promising New Playwright, and Best Female Performance. As a bursary recipient Katie will develop a new show called Not As I Do exploring why women often act in a less Feminist way than they think they do. Its inspired by the Greek chorus and the golden age of musical theatre.

North East based actor and theatre maker Christina Berriman Dawson will use her bursary to develop a piece called Ratboy exploring the impact of human geography on people’s physicality. The piece is inspired by 90’s culture, rave music and a young offender found living in the ventilation system in Byker Wall who escaped from care 37 times committing multiple offences.

Gameshow is a producer of new plays. Their bursary winning piece Nuclear Weapons, is written and directed by Matthew Evans. It will explore how today’s nuclear arsenals have the capacity to obliterate all life on Earth in minutes using an explosive mix of theatre, digital soundscape and video design. 

Theatre maker Rebekah Bowsher will develop a piece called Pro Forma: Spoon Theory exploring the places where disability intersects with femininity and individualism. Using physical theatre, comedy, and music, Rebekah will work with a performer and a BSL interpreter to develop a way of writing a physical score blended with text. Rebekah was also recently part of Graeae’s Write to Play programme through Live Theatre.

For more information on Live Lab opportunities see www.live.org.uk/livelab

Notes to Editors:

Film interviews with Kema Sikazwe and Melanie Rashbrooke are available to share.

Photographs of Kema Sikazwe and Melanie Rashbrooke are available.  

Interviews are available on request.

About Live Theatre

Live Theatre is recognised as one of the great new writing theatres on the international stage. Based in Newcastle upon Tyne it is deeply rooted in its community and produces work as varied and diverse as the audiences it engages with. A high proportion of its work –transfers to London, including the West End, and tours to other venues across the UK and internationally. It is critically and publicly acclaimed with one of its 2016 productions gaining a BBC Radio 4 Front Row listeners nomination for the best regional theatre production of the year and another gaining the same recognition from readers of The Guardian.  

“One of the most fertile crucibles of new writing” The Guardian 

As well as championing the art of writing for stage by producing and presenting new plays, Live Theatre finds, nurtures and trains creative talent and uses theatre to unlock the potential of young people. 

“Live Theatre is British Theatre’s best kept secret. [It] has supported generation after generation of new writers, actors and theatre artists.” Lee Hall, Playwright

The theatre is a beautifully restored and refurbished complex of five Grade II listed buildings with state-of-the-art facilities in a unique historical setting including both cabaret style theatre and studio theatres. In 2016 Live Garden, an outdoor performance space, and Live Tales, a centre for children and young people’s creative story writing, were added. 

Live Tales creative writing workshops are free to schools and designed to inspire children and young people to go on a journey into their imaginations build their self-confidence, communication skills and self-respect.  Live Theatre’s work in education and participation is award-winning and includes the largest free drama education and participation programme in the region.  

Founded in 1973, Live Theatre is a national leader in developing new strategies for increasing income and assets for the charity. To sustain and extend its artistic programme it has diversified its income streams including the RIBA and Civic Trust Award-winning Live Works, the development of commercial property for rental income; award winning gastro pub The Broad Chare; The Schoolhouse, a hub for creative businesses, and on-line interactive playwriting course www.beaplaywright.com

“Additional intelligent capital spending on projects yielding new, long-term revenues would involve construction and would guarantee additional economic activity.  Look at the new restaurants in London’s Southbank Centre or the gastro-pub in which Newcastle’s Live Theatre is a partner.  These are shrewd investments whose revenues help secure the future of the institutions they support.”  Peter Bazalgette, former Chair of ACE, in The Financial Times

Live Theatre is funded by Arts Council England as a National Portfolio Organisation, Newcastle City Council through the Newcastle Culture Investment Fund managed by the Community Foundation, and by other trusts and foundations.

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