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A warm welcome to Carmen, Fatima, Gabrielle, Lilac, Nicole, Paula, Robbie and Victoria, the eight writers and playwrights joining Wellspring this autumn. We are delighted to be working with a brilliant cohort of disabled, d/Deaf and Neurodivergent artists with passion and determination to bring change in the stories written and told on stage and beyond.

You can find out more about this year’s programme participants here.

The Wellspring training programme, supported with funding from City Bridge Trust, commences in October and will be led by four established theatre writers with striking political work in the UK and abroad: Alex Bulmer, Cheryl Martin, Sophie Woolley and Vici Wreford-Sinnott.

We are also excited to welcome Hampstead Theatre as a mentoring partner, alongside Bush TheatrePaines Plough and Theatre503.

Read more about Wellspring.

Photo of the diverse creative team at The Albany Featuring, clockwise from left: Theresa Veith and Simon Startin (Vital Xposure staff), Stephen Rudder (filmmaker), JulieMc McNamara and Hassan Mahamdallie (writers), Deni Frances, Charlie Folorunsho and Fiona Whitelaw (actors). Photo credit: Isobel Hawson.

Team photo at The Albany Featuring, clockwise from left: Theresa Veith and Simon Startin (Vital Xposure staff), Stephen Rudder (filmmaker), JulieMc McNamara and Hassan Mahamdallie (writers), Deni Frances, Charlie Folorunsho and Fiona Whitelaw (actors). Photo credit: Isobel Hawson.

It is our turn to share the joy of being back in a room after all these months and make theatre!

Earlier this autumn the R&D team met at The Albany for a rehearsed reading of the script.

In the meantime, Stephen Rudder has added his magic touch to the play’s journey by creating a visual and aural sense of dystopian future and the underground world where the action takes place in. A new trailer, edited by Mohammed Ali, offers a glimpse into the stories that will come to life on stage next year.

Read more about White Pariahs: Quiet Rebels

The word 'Wellspring' appears in white letters on a bright red background

We are seeking London-based disabled, Neurodivergent and D/deaf playwrights and script writers to join Wellspring, a new professional development programme.

We are very excited to have teamed up with some of the most important disabled writers working in theatre today; Cheryl Martin, Sophie Woolley, Alex Bulmer and Vici Wreford-Sinnott, giving not only their skills, but also their experience of how their careers were built.

The programme aims to bring disabled artists centre stage. You don’t have to have written a play before, though you are welcome if you have.

All you need is a passion for the world you live in and a curiosity for what words and stories might be within you.

Applications open on Thursday 24 June and close on Thursday 22 July. 

 

The programme will be delivered in partnership with Paines Plough, the Bush Theatre and Theatre503, and is funded by City Bridge Trust.

 

Further information on the Wellspring:

www.vitalxposure.co.uk/wellspring

The performing arts are battling for survival at a time when theatre matters more than ever. It’s not only the West End, the annual panto, world-class musicals, dance, opera and Shakespeare – it’s the creative and outreach work happening around the country in our diverse communities, outdoors, in pop-up spaces, at festivals and online.

Theatre tackles contemporary issues head-on. With Black Lives Matter stirring our national consciousness, theatre can play a critical role, inside and outside the sector, in challenging, educating and informing.

Theatre is a national success story, vital to Britain’s economic prosperity. Theatre attracted 34 million visitors last year, employs 300,000, promotes tourism; and generates huge tax revenues, including VAT of £130m in London alone.

Our industry depends on the £1.3 billion of annual ticket sales which has now disappeared, with disastrous effects on companies, employees and freelancers. Even with a 1 metre social distancing rule we could only fill around 25% of our seats – not a financially viable option.

Without immediate and substantial support, theatres and performing arts companies will inevitably close and tens of thousands of artistic careers will be cut short.

We urge readers to lobby Government and parliamentarians and join our fight for the survival of UK theatre.

Dame Margaret Hodge, Chair, Theatre Royal Stratford East
Glenn Earle, Chair, Young Vic
Robert Delamere, Chair, ETT
Ben Monks, Chair, Deafinitely Theatre
Geraldine Brodie, Chair, Actors Touring Company
Dame Joan Ruddock, Chair, The Albany Deptford
Luke Johnson, Chair, Almeida Theatre
Amanda Parker, Chair, artsdepot
Chris Lawrence, Chair, Blue Elephant Theatre
Charles Glanville, Chair, Boundless Theatre
Simon Millson, Chair, British Youth Music Theatre
Simon Johnson, Chair, Bush Theatre
Kate McGrath and Isobel Colchester, Co-Chairs, Camden People’s Theatre
Prue Skene, Chair, Cardboard Citizens
Richard Philipps, Chair, Cheek By Jowl
David Micklem, Chair, Chris Goode and Company
Kim Evans, Chair, Clean Break
Lucy Davies, Chair, Clod Ensemble
Vicki Busfield, Chair, CoDa Dance Company
Benjamin Yeoh, Chair, Coney
Catherine Rowan, Chair, Culture & Libraries Committee, Vision Redbridge Culture & Leisure
Lord Browne of Madingley, Chair, Donmar
Áine Duffy, Chair, Duckie
Dana Kohava Segal, Chair, Emergency Exit Arts
Dr Harry Brunjes, Chair, English National Opera & London Coliseum
Mark Beddy, Chair, English Touring Opera
Mark Hawes, Chair, Frantic Assembly
Sean Egan, Chair, Fuel
Sarah Howard, Chair, Graeae Theatre Company
Kevin Walton, Chair, Green Shoes Arts
Delphine Brand, Chair, Hackney Empire
Dawn Harrison-Wallace, Chair, Half Moon Theatre
David Tyler, Chair, Hampstead Theatre
Donna Munday, Chair, Headlong
Melissa Butcher, Chair, Immediate Theatre
Natasha Freedman, Chair, Improbable Theatre
Dawn Austwick, Chair, Kiln
Bernard Donoghue, Chair, LIFT
Joseph Seelig OBE, Chair, London International Mime Festival
Lisa Burger, Chair, Lyric Hammersmith
Jodi Myers, Chair, Musical Theatre Network
Sir Damon Buffini, Chair, National Theatre
Charlotte Mooney, Ockham’s Razor
Lisa Mead, Chair, Oily Cart
Nick Clarry, Chair, The Old Vic
Charlie Thompson, Chair, Out of Joint
Kim Grant, Chair, Paines Plough
Sarah King, Chair, Polka Theatre for Children
James Freedman, Chair, Punchdrunk
Simon Turner, Chair, The Roundhouse
Anthony Burton CBE, Chair, The Royal Court Theatre
Lady Heywood, acting Chair, Royal Opera House
Nigel Higgins, Chair, Sadler’s Wells
Dr Margaret Casely-Hayford CBE, Chair, Shakespeare’s Globe
Heather Rabbatts, Chair, Soho Theatre
Michelle Smith, Chair, Spare Tyre
Robin Saphra, Chair, Stagetext
Georgina Philippou, Chair, Stratford Arts Trust
Karen West-Whylie, Chair, Studio 3 Arts
Deepa Patel, Chair, Tamasha Theatre Company
Sunita Pandya, Chair, Tara Arts
Gareth Hughes, Chair, Theatre Centre
Sioban Whitney Low, Chair, Theatre Peckham
Elizabeth Lynch MBE, Chair, Theatre-Rites
Sophie Scott, Chair, Told by an Idiot
John Langley, Chair, Unicorn Theatre
Jonathan Meth, Chair, Vital Xposure
Nick Starr CBE, Chair, Yard Theatre, Hackney Wick
Wai Mun Yoon, Chair, Yellow Earth Theatre Company

 

The Chairs’ letter was originally shared by Theatre Royal Stratford East on 24th June 2020.

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