At the end of March, Farnham Maltings invited south-east based theatre makers to submit applications to receive a commission to create new work ‘right now’ in these extraordinary and difficult times.
Heartened by positive responses to the current crisis – from the balcony singing in Italy, the mass aerobic workouts in Spain to new, digital choir platforms, we wanted to support exciting, mischievous ideas which fully embrace the requirement of social distancing and turn it on its head.
Six projects have been commissioned which will see work take place in Slough, Lewes, Bedfordshire, Newhaven, Bexhill and through West Sussex and East Surrey. Through these projects we will engage with over 3000 people across the South East. The six commissions will provide paid work to sixteen artists and creative professionals.
The work is not all digital – projects include multi-sensory walking trails, juke box phonelines, digital creative experiences for learning disabled and a community light installation from windows and doorways. The work will reach young people in Bexhill and Newhaven, learning disabled adults in East Surrey and West Sussex, young families in Bedfordshire, older adults in Slough and light up the town of Lewes.
“It was our ambition to very quickly introduce some support to artists at this very difficult time and respond in a timely way to those who were keen to keep creating and making for their community” Katy Potter, Farnham Maltings Producer “What’s been thrilling about this commissioning project is how it has brought about new conversations and new relationships both between the artists we’re supporting and us here at Farnham Maltings.”
The six commissioned projects:
Act on It!
Shouting Out – for young people in Eastbourne, Bexhill and Newhaven – is a collection of five mini monologues created through remote conversations. The lighter side of being on lockdown for overlooked young people is explored through themes such as food, friendship and frustration. Performed and shared online, the work will provide access to the arts for the participants during this challenging time.
Fireraisers Theatre Co.
Light up Lewes! – invites all in Lewes to light Lewes’ skies with torches and candlelight from windows, gardens and doorways and join in song to celebrate their town. The project will link with Lewes bonfire organisers with different levels of community engagement.
Creative Islands – artists to develop a ten–week series of online workshops and resources which will be tailored and available to learning disabled adult student artists from Surrey and West Sussex who can no longer access their regular classes and sessions.
Abhi Arumbakkam and Nisha Anil
Jukebox Telephone Line, Slough – An analogue response to accessing music every weekday between 4pm and 6pm This is a project aimed at addressing social isolation using a telephone line. When a member of public calls a centralised number, a volunteer answers, engages them in a brief conversation, takes their song request, asks them why the song and if there is a story around it and then plays the song via the telephone line while encouraging them to sing along. For some, this might be their only human interaction during the day, for others it’s a chance to connect with someone feeling lonely.
Hunt & Darton
DIY RADIO provides all the know-how you need to make a radio show at home providing highly creative, in-expensive, heart-warming, anti-throttling fun for all the family stuck at home. Get your voice on the airwaves, dynamic duo Hunt & Darton have made a pack introducing you to the key skills involved in making great radio. Conduct interviews, compose jingles, brush up on your banter – and bring everything together for your own bespoke broadcast. All shows made will be featured on a highlight podcast hosted by Hunt & Darton.
Collar and Cuffs
Village trails – Using a combination of local knowledge and sensory, inclusive methods, Julia will develop three interactive story trails around Toddington village in Bedfordshire that will enable children and grown-ups alike to create their own theatre experiences where they live. The trails – differentiated by age and need – will encourage residents to interact with features of the village from the spider thatched into the roof of Barn Cottage on Park Road, to visiting the disused historic sandpits in the rural belt surrounding the village.
Over ninety applications were received. For more information, please visit the webpage.
A further round of commissions will be made. The closing date for entries is 18 May 2020.
This is a limited programme of short commissions supported by The Esmee Fairbairn Foundation. We expect to support a range of new commissions, up to 8 throughout the programme.
21 April 2020