New Year, New Artists, New Beginnings
This week we welcomed our new cohort of REP Foundry artists for 2018. Over the next year we're providing six artists with a home to help develop their ideas into new pieces of theatre. Hello and welcome to Rinkoo Barpaga, Will Jackson, Bethany Kalipa, Zeddie Lawal, Lorna Nickson-Brown and Michael Southan.
REP Foundry is our artist development programme. Launched in 2013 it not only offers creative development opportunities to writers, directors and theatre makers it also gives them a home, a network and support, be it space to write or friendly advice over a cup of tea. Throughout the year, the artists will also get the chance to try their work out in front of an audience.
Some of last year's artists have already reaped the benefits of being part of REP Foundry. Paddy Russell won the Tony Craze Award (part of the Verity Bargate Award) for his play, Antlers, which he wrote while on REP Foundry. Manjeet Mann and Elinor Coleman (plus 2016 REP Foundry alumni Susie Sillett) had their new plays produced as part of The REP's New & Nurtured strand last autumn. Finley Townsend was appointed assistant director for The REP's Christmas show, The Hundred and One Dalmatians, and both Jacob Crutchley and Manjeet Mann have been commissioned to create work in 2018 as part of our REP Furnace programme.
Being a REP Foundry artist doesn't guarantee a career or a solid commission, nor does it prescribe how to make theatre- but it does help open doors to other opportunities. It works with each artist as an individual whose ideas might explore new forms and ways of making theatre. The REP's ongoing commitment to nurturing these local independent, emerging artists facilitates this – we're investing in the potential of creative artists of the future, and in turn, so does the Andrew Lloyd Weber Foundation, Leverhulme Trust, Esmee Fairbairn Foundation and Ramps on the Moon who have given valuable financial support to The REP to help run this year's REP Foundry programme.
The REP is a place where many artists have their first professional experience. The hours of creativity and hard work might not be visible to audiences but what is happening could impact what is seen on stage both here and in theatres around the country in the future. So, as we give space and support to these artists we hope you too will make space in your diaries this year and support their work - look out for the New & Nurtured strand throughout our Spring 2018 season.