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Development and Diversity through Theatre – University of Reading

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  • Discovering the diversity of theatre

Development and Diversity through Theatre

"Development and Diversity through Theatre" is an Arts Council-funded project created with the goal of developing the work of six companies/practitioners in the Department of  Film, Theatre & Television.

These works are then produced over a period of three years in collaboration with South Street Arts Centre in Reading.

Students, graduates and local theatre

The idea for this development scheme emerged after a successful pilot was undertaken in January to March 2016. Toot, a graduate ensemble company of our BA Theatre degree course, worked with the Department and South Street Arts Centre to co-develop and produce their piece "Focus Group"

The development of Focus Group involved students attending research and development sessions of the piece, followed by open-access rehearsals of the work in later development.

"They collectively contributed to the dramaturgy of the work, and, ultimately, took on a small choric role in performance. This process was so successful and beneficial to South Street, Toot and the University students that the potential for undertaking a shared programme – especially with the theme of diversity – felt both urgent and exciting in scope and potential."

Lucy Tyler, Lecturer in Performance Practices and Industries

As a result, we have worked since then to curate a potential programme that can build on our previous positive experiences and add in further conceptual dimensions relating to diversity, community engagement in Reading and innovations in development process.

What's involved

"Development and Diversity through Theatre" is an Arts Council-funded project.  It is a partnership between the Department of Film, Theatre & Television (specifically Theatre Studies) and South Street Arts Centre in Reading to develop the work of six companies/practitioners within the Department. South Street Arts Centre then produces these works over a period of three years.

This is an associate artist scheme that enables the Department to work more closely with theatre companies, foster the development of their work and provide opportunities and creative exposure to current students.

The University will be working in collaboration with these companies and practitioners:

Greg Wohead

  • Website: https://gregwohead.com
  • Role: Lead artist
  • About: Greg is an acclaimed artist whose work is interdisciplinary, drawing from live art, contemporary writing, dance and visual theatre. Greg often uses technology in his work. Greg would develop his new show researching the dialogue between the secular and religious worlds by engaging with groups on and off campus, including the University of Reading Chaplaincy and Reading's Sunday Assembly.

Action Hero

  • Website: http://www.actionhero.org.uk
  • Role: Theatre company in residence
  • About: Action Hero is one of the UK's leading contemporary performance practitioners, having taken their work internationally, often with the British Council. They wish to experiment with their experiences whilst living in Taiwan of the clash between ancient & cutting edge culture. Looking to work with "app" and game developers in the University's tech departments, alongside dance and movement practitioners to develop a new performance.

RedCape Theatre

  • Website: http://www.redcapetheatre.co.uk
  • Role: Theatre company in residence
  • About: RedCape is an award winning small-scale touring company who are resident at South Street. They create visually beautiful work driven by stories drawn from real life. They will look to utilise the university's science research work alongside the theatre dept. to discover stories about unheralded achievements by female scientists, to develop their fourth touring show.

Andy Smith (with Fuel Theatre Company)

  • Website: https://www.fueltheatre.com/home
  • Role: Lead Artist
  • About: Andy Smith is one of the UK's leading theatre practitioners having worked extensively with Tim Crouch, as well as writing and performing his own material. He is also a leading theatre academic having studied a PhD at Lancaster University where he now lectures. Andy will develop his new show 'Summit' in Reading using UoR students in script development workshops and engaging the deaf community as BSL is an integral part of the performance with a deaf character/ performer in the cast.

Dante or Die

  • Website: http://danteordie.com
  • Role: Theatre Company in residence
  • About: Dante or Die is a leading site-responsive theatre company, who South Street has worked with on two previous productions. They will develop a new production, in collaboration with new media / tech firms and students, where the audience experience the performance through "tablet" computers in a cafe or other informal social setting.

We are also collaborating with South Street Arts Centre to co-produce a production on the life of West Indies cricketer Gordon Greenidge. This piece examines Greenidge's early life as a minority ethnic migrant growing up in Reading and focuses on the issue of race and racial identity within the area and the impact this had on Greenidge's upbringing and opportunities.

More information

See the Department of Film, Theatre & Television's blog for more information about this exciting opportunity.

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