We are thrilled to announce that we have secured funding totalling £261,000 across three years from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation’s Arts Access and Participation Fund. Alongside this news, we also announce the six recipients of the Starting Blocks 2022 scheme and a callout for our 2022 seed commissions.
The funding, which will be split between 2021-2024, will enable us to establish a clearly-defined pathway for artists to develop their creative practice which will help improve longer-term employment prospects as well as up-skilling artists to create work that is accessible to local communities. This aim of the funding is to encourage a wider and more diverse group of people to have access to quality artistic practice whether they are artists or audiences.
Support across the year for artists will now encompass Starting Blocks (performed Jan-March), seed commissions at two points in the year (Summer and Autumn) for those from marginalised backgrounds, a commission pot dedicated to onward development for the seed commissioned projects, Home Run (a three-week London run for semi-established artists with a project at WIP stage), Outside the Box returns following the inaugural 2020 project and the People’s Theatre Award. Both Outside the Box and the People’s Award have a strong community involvement. The funding will enable Camden People’s Theatre to engage a producer to support the network of artists and further support for artists from the theatre’s Community Engagement Manager.
The first of the artist support schemes is Starting Blocks which runs from January to March, allowing time for participants to develop works-in-progress to be shown in the Spring SPRINT festival. Over the 10 weeks, Starting Blocks artists meet weekly to share practice, ideas and their developing works. Today, the theatre also announces the 2022 recipients of this scheme. The artists are Meg Hodgson (Moonface), Eden Jun (I’m Sorry I’m Not Lucy Liu), Jonny Khan (Our First Daytimer), Jack Boal (The Children are Leaving), Chris Yarnell (Perpetuity) and Louisa Doyle (Cassiopeia).
Starting Blocks has previously supported Rachel Mars and her hit show The Way You Tell Them, Louise Orwin’s Pretty Ugly, Haley McGee’s The Ex Boyfriend Yard Sale and 2018 Underbelly Untapped Award-winner Queens of Sheba by Nouveau Riche all of which have gone on to national and international tours, critical acclaim and extended runs at CPT and beyond.
We have also issued a callout to artists to apply for the 2022 seed commissions. The commissions recognise that artists of colour, d/Deaf and disabled artists, and artists from working-class backgrounds are underrepresented in contemporary theatre – and addresses this under-representation. The seed commissions offer nine artists from marginalised backgrounds a £1000 cash commission, one week’s rehearsal space, a performance slot in the theatre’s artistic programme and opportunities for onward development alongside other support. The deadline for seed commission applications is Monday 10 January 2022.
Nicola Clements, Executive Director, Camden People’s Theatre, said: “In the face of reduced income and unpredictable audience behaviour, this funding from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation offers some real certainty for the coming years, right when we need it, both for Camden People’s Theatre and the freelance artists that call CPT home. We can now commit to a regular calendar of commissions over the next three years, expressly supporting early-career artists from marginalised backgrounds, making radical theatre from scratch. We can’t wait to see the impact of sharing clearly defined pathways for emerging artists to develop their creative practice with us over several years and to share this with the wider industry.”
Brian Logan, Artistic Director, Camden People’s Theatre, said: “What this generous support from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation enables is real joined-up thinking – and working – with a new generation of artists. After two years of Covid, it’s critical that independent theatre-makers – particularly those from backgrounds marginalised in the arts – are given sustained financial and practical support to take creative risks, and establish viable careers. We’re doubling down on our commitment to delivering that, and to doing so in a community context – always bridge-building between our artist support, our performance programme and our local engagement work. This funding from PHF will sustain and strengthen us as a Camden community hub, and as central London’s most exciting destination for radical artists and adventurous audiences.”
Yemisi Turner-Blake, Grants Manager, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, said: “Camden People’s Theatre has an excellent track record of artist support and audience development which Paul Hamlyn Foundation has been privileged to support over the past few years. We hope this longer-term investment will allow Camden People’s Theatre to take a more holistic approach to addressing the systemic issues facing artists and audiences from marginalised backgrounds, to further share is impactful model with others in the sector. We acknowledge Camden People’s Theatre’s genuine commitment to shifting power towards its artist and local communities, further embedding their ambitions and desires into its strategic plans. We look forward to seeing the change this work will support at a local and national level.”