Furnace 2018: Creating New Theatre In The Community
As the second round of our pioneering community engagement programme, Furnace, gets underway, we're pleased to announce the artists who will be working with communities in the city to create new pieces of theatre; theatre that tells the stories, reflects the experiences and celebrates these Birmingham communities.
This year we are partnering with Focus, Birmingham, a Harborne based charity that supports people with visual impairment; Welsh House Farm Big Local in Quinton; Ashiana Community Project in Sparkbrook; Unity Hubb in Alum Rock; the Big Local in Birchfield; The Dolphin Centre in Washwood Heath; Thimblemill Library, Smethwick and Bleakhouse Library, Oldbury. The artists in residence are Jay Crutchley (Welsh House Farm), Sarah Hamilton Baker (Focus), Manjeet Mann (Ashiana Community Project), Graeme Rose (Thimblemill and Bleakhouse Library) and Caroline Wilkes and Rachael Mainwaring (Unity Hubb, Birchfield Big Local and The Dolphin Centre).
Furnace brings artists and communities together to make theatre, tell new stories and give a platform to the city's unheard voices. It encourages communities and artists to work together in new ways to create theatre that could not be made through any other collaboration. As Tessa Walker, The REP's Associate Director explains:
“Furnace is about shared creativity. It inspires theatre artists to work in new and ambitious ways, by embracing and engaging communities to tell their stories. It gives communities a sense of ownership over the work and the opportunity to make work that is with, by and for them. We're really pleased to be working with five new communities across Birmingham and look forward to creating and sharing theatre with them.”
Furnace is a three-year programme funded in part by Arts Council England's Ambition for Excellence Fund. These artist led residencies will run alongside The REP's large scale new production Woyzeck, which will feature 100 non-professional community performers. Additional funding is being sourced from trusts and foundations, and business : If you would like further information on ways to support this project, please click here
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