Professional artists from all disciplines are occupying West Yorkshire Playhouse as it hosts 15 artists and companies in the two-week Summer Sublets where they’ll be given the space and support to imagine, develop and share their brand new ideas.
“This year we are also encouraging the artists in residency to meet each other, share ideas and form new creative friendships,” says Associate Producer Gilly Roche. “We’ll create informal opportunities for the artists to come together – from coffee mornings to movie nights. We’ll fill the building with conversation, inspiration and creativity”.
The range of artistic activities happening during the fortnight is wide and varied. Ashleigh Morris, an English Literature and Creative Writing student – and huge theatre lover – plans to adapt a series of stories about a female detective in late Victorian London that she wrote when younger into a stage play.
Bill Hodson, a former social services and housing director, won the Ilkley Literature Festival Short Story prize in 2013. He and independent producer Linda Miller are rehearsing a new play, Selling the Sky, with locally-recruited actors with the aim of finalising the script and then raising funds and interest for a professional production.
Francesca Joy will be developing and rewriting her latest play You Forgot the Mince which has undergone two research and development phases. Having been mentored by Mark Catley and through collating the feedback from audiences and her creative team, she’ll endeavour to use her Summer Sublets time to amalgamate her findings and implement them for the final script.
Charley Miles, an emerging writer from rural North Yorkshire, was commissioned to write a radio piece for Yorkshire’s ‘le grand depart’ and was on attachment to the North Wall Arts Centre in Oxford. She has a script “that largely explores the politics of belonging” and is set in her home town. Continuing it at West Yorkshire Playhouse – her local theatre – feels very apt, she says.
A new co-writing collaboration teams writer Dominic Grace and performer-deviser Carolyn Eden. This new venture is based on a shared affection for pub quizzes and the fact that at least one of them thinks the other one is vaguely amusing. They’ll be exploring the representation of the female voice on and off stage and experimenting with writing for the opposite gender, working towards a new full length comedic (and hopefully poignant) two-hander.
Displace Yourself is working on Free to Stay, a new play about belonging and an exploration of life without nationality, inspired by months of research with people who have first-hand experience of statelessness in the UK and overseas. The play will use physical theatre, projection and soundtrack mixed with personal testimonies.
Gloria Dawson, who lives in Leeds, won Foyle Young Poet of the Year (2004) and was shortlisted for an Eric Gregory Award (2005). Now she’s now writing her first feature film screenplay and several pieces connecting political militancy, feminism, time, the city and the body.
Have I Got This Wrong? Is in the early stages of development by Leeds-based theatre maker Louisa Claughton and is part of a project deconstructing how she and the audience perceive gender and where that comes from. She makes work that puts the audience at the centre of the performance, starts a conversation and is shaped by each audience member.
Atomic is a physical exploration into small actions that have huge consquences. It brings together Lydia Cottrell (dancer, performer, drag queen, HairStory collector, Netflix lover and survival expert) and Ben Mills (live artist, breadmaker, mover, rugby player, pun lover lacks time management skills). The work will consist of two performers wearing green jumpsuits subjecting themselves to a series of tasks and experiments.
Neil Rathmell – a writer, mainly of drama and fiction – had his first novel published in 1976 and five of his plays are available from TreePress. 2016 is the centenary of the first performance of Manuel de Falla’s ballet, El Amor Brujo, based on a Spanish folk tale and best known for its climax, the Fire Dance. He wants to explore opportunities for collaborating with dancers and musicians on a theatrical re-interpretation of de Falla’s work.
Magic-realist playwright Sarah Wallis, talented local actor Helen Buchanan, and Lisa Druett, who runs Icabod Productions as actor/producer, combine for a project explained in the following terms, “We’ll start by exploring ideas for the set floor, how we connect, how we stay apart, star map formations, constellations and riffing off the ideas that bubble up all day long…”
Wakefield-based writer and director Shazia Ashraf also runs a writers group called My Big Phat Writers Group that works to support BAME scriptwriters. Her work mainly looks at being South Asian in contemporary Yorkshire. She’ll be working on the first stages of developing her new play 99% Halal which uses dance, duologue, poetry, monologues, multimedia and music to tell the story of the twentysomething 2nd generation Pakistani Muslims in Yorkshire today.
Tribe Arts – a philosophically inspired, radical political theatre company – will be developing three distinct projects including their first new writing piece, an exploration of the concept of love in our modern world “done in Tribe’s idiosyncratic style”.
Playwright and actor Vanessa Rosenthal – most recently seen as Mrs Clegg in Enjoy and Irene Ruddock in Lady of Letters at West Yorkshire Playhouse – is working on The Story of O, a one-woman show she’s written. She wants to work on the final draft, see if it needs cutting or clarifying and how it can be staged.
Wrongsemble is a small performance collective that has been operating for two years as an artistic ensemble specialising in creating work for families. Artists working on this project include Elvi Piper, Robbie Foulston, Kirsty Pennycook, Paksie Vernon, Antony Jones and Lee Warner. Three is a new piece for ages 3-plus using music, storytelling and live art as three actors tell three famous tales all starring the number three.