Two major commissions awarded, with tailored development commissions offered to three further artists.
CPT is delighted to announce its most recent round of commissions,offered as part of the annual Outside the Box and all-new Camden NoW! programmes - the latter in partnership with Old Diorama Arts Centre (ODAC). CPT will work with five artists and companies to develop innovative and timely new projects with local engagement at their core.
Camden NoW!, a new collaboration with friends and neighbours ODAC offers a substantial cash commission (£10,000) and package of support to artists resident in Camden with projects that could benefit from a fast-track to full production - those, for example, with stories which need to be told, now. The full commissioned has been awarded to Olivia Dowd & Chloe Christian, who are exploring the closure of Camden’s and London’s queer spaces, and excavating the lesser-known history of the Camden Lesbian Centre and Black Lesbian Group. Their production will premiere at CPT this December.
Two further projects will receive a smaller development commission, working towards performances in the future. Emily Momoh will be seed-commissioned to R&D a project about the 18th-century street performer Billy Waters, and Munotida Chinyanga will look at how co-creation and tech-innovative practice can bring the work she does internationally back to Camden.
CPT’s Outside the Box commission, initiated under the Covid lockdown, invites artists to explore what theatre can mean, and to engage with Camden communities while doing so. ShyBairn will work with local residents to develop This Is What Utopia Looks Like, which explores new forms to articulate climate optimism. Gemma Barnett, the recipient of the OtB micro-commission, will kick off a piece co-created with her dad about singing, and what we gain from our parents.
Across these two commissioning programmes, CPT will be offering funding (totalling a whopping £22,250 between CPT and ODAC), professional development support, much-needed rehearsal space, mentoring from the CPT and ODAC, and the use of our black-box studio theatre for sharings and performances.
Olivia Dowd & Chloe Christian
Olivia is a queer actor/creative. She trained with the NYT Rep Company, with which she played Macbeth on the West End (Garrick) and developed devising skills with Josh Azouz, Ned Bennett and Meghan Doyle. She also trained in improv with the Upright Citizens Brigade which informed the creative process of ‘Minutes’ (BFI Flare and Outfest LA), her first short film co-created with collaborator, Alix Eve. She recently won ‘Best Performance in a Drama’ for ‘Embers’ at the Kino Film Festival and has just appeared in ‘How To Build a Wax Figure’ at the Assembly Studios at the Edinburgh fringe. In her spare time she runs creative retreats, connecting people with nature.
Chloe is a Queer multidisciplinary director/devisor working in theatre, film and opera. As a Director, her work has been performed at Ed Fringe, VAULT Fest, Finborough Theatre and New Diorama, and supported by Third Angel, Fourth Monkey, and Sheffield Theatres. She has been a Staff Director to English National Opera since 2018. Recently, she was Associate Director to Marianne Elliott on COCK (West End Premier), and has previously Assisted Emma Rice, Daniel Evans, and Richard Jones.
From 1987 to 1995, Euston was home to the Camden Lesbian Centre and Black Lesbian Group. So why have we never heard of it?! The Centre’s records are kept at The Glasgow Women’s Library - 555 km away.
60% of London’s queer spaces have closed in the past decade. Camden Borough’s free spaces - essential for marginalised groups as places to gather and share - have been decimated by fires, mandatory pricing and gates.
In a city where our histories are not saved and it is hard to meet our predecessors, archiving becomes political.
In partnership with Camden People’s Theatre and Old Diorama Arts Centre, Chloe Christian (COCK Associate Director, Director for New Diorama/Finborough Theatre/VAULT Fest) and Olivia Dowd (Macbeth, Garrick Theatre; Director for Minutes, BFI Flare & LA Outfest 2022 Official Selection) will explore what ‘progress’ means, and what stories are we missing by being unable to gather freely?
Development commissions awarded to…
Emily Momoh is an independent Camden Community Activist, with a background in the performing arts. Her work involves planning and developing cultural, educational, and creative programmes for local community groups. She has worked with several arts, and cultural organisations including the V & A museum, Roundhouse Studios, Swiss Gallery, and the British Museum.
Emily is curator of the 'We Were Here’ black history exhibition commissioned by Camden in 2021, and the founder of the Camden Black British History project, to be launched in October 2022.
The story of Billy Waters commemorates the bicentenary of the death in 1823 of Billy Waters, an African, who was a disabled street performer working on the Strand, and in St Giles, Camden. He served in the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars and lost a leg in an accident at sea. He became a well-known busker singing and playing his violin, entertaining crowds outside the Drury Lane and Adelphi theatres. Waters lived in the notorious rookery of St Giles-in-the-Fields. His flamboyant performances drew a lot of attention and he became a celebrity in London in the early 1800s. However, despite surviving many challenges in life through his own inventiveness and enterprise, he was ultimately exploited for his celebrity and died penniless. The play depicts Billy Waters’ life and legend.
Munotida Chinyanga is an Anti-Disciplinary Practitioner and Experience Designer creating work primarily through Direction and Sound Design. She’s co-artistic director of the international arts collective, state of the [art]. Her practice focusing on experimenting with ways to empower audiences to become active spectators and contribute to creative processes. Investigating how theatre/ performance and sonic art can facilitate the bringing together of a community. Working on ways we can mediate dialogue that is cross cultural.
Munotida studied BA & MA in Theatre Arts at Middlesex University focusing on Multidisciplinary practices, Sonic Art and International Collaboration. She has worked at venues such as; Omnibus Theatre, The Young Vic, The Gate theatre, Royal Exchange Manchester, CLEANBREAK. She was assistant director to Kwame Kwei-Armah (Artistic Director of the Young Vic) on Tree (2019), premiering at Manchester’s International Festival. International work includes Creative Europe residences in Serbia (2016), France (2017) and Malta (2017). She has directed productions and delivered masterclasses at Teatro India, The National Theatre of Rome and Teatro di Akrai, The National Institute of Ancient Drama, Sicily, YIYUAN TANG Museum in China supported by UKNA. Munotida was selected as the honorary International Artist for Parma Capitale Italiana della Cultura 2021 supported by BJCEM and Creative Europe.
We'll work with Tida to consider how she can root her practice - which involves ambitious co-creation, tech integration and work in Italy, China and India - within the local Camden community. CPT and ODAC will support Tida to develop her company model and processes with space to R&D and experiment.
Outside the Box
SHYBAIRN create live performance for social change. They collaborate with artists and activists to create performance alongside campaigns for justice. They are a BREACH Theatre Associate Company 2021-22.
Projects include: BURNOUT, an interactive play about privilege, activism and climate justice, written by Nicole Acquah, devised by the company, and co-created with climate activists who felt marginalised within the UK climate movement; and TALK PROPA, a truly northern fuck-you to the southern elite, a devised play about accent and identity, featuring gravy.
THIS IS WHAT UTOPIA LOOKS LIKE
“It is more important than ever to harness the optimism & imagination required to build the world we so urgently need. We need a new narrative, a new story for the future.” - Alice Aedy, Climate Storyteller
Awareness of the climate crisis and its impacts has grown hugely in recent years. Yet the focus is on the horrors that unfold if we stick with the status quo. Unearthing these horrors is not igniting change fast enough; we think it’s time for a different approach focused on hope, optimism and big ideas.
Development commission awarded to…
Gemma Barnett is a theatre maker / actor / writer based in London. Her piece ‘The Front Desk’ won the ‘Poetry for Good’ prize and was featured on BBC Woman’s Hour. She was a winning finalist of BBC Words First in 2021 and has just been long-listed for the Evening Standard Story Competition 2022. Theatre work includes: Dido’s Bar (Dash Arts), A Hundred Words for Snow (Trafalgar Studios / winner Offie Best Actress) Dr Korczack’s Example (Leeds Playhouse), Lola (VAULT Festival), Salty Irina (The Yard Theatre), Goggles (Pleasance Edinburgh)
She was selected for the first iteration of the VAULT FIVE collective with her show ‘Agatha’ and is currently in post-production with her debut short film ‘Bridge’ (Kusini Productions, Nina Georgieff and BBC Films). The film is based on a longer poem she was commissioned to write/perform by Theatre Deli for ‘Pandemic in a City’, based on her experience of working at a GP in Tottenham.
Hello, my name is Gemma.
I’m making a show with the help of my Dad.
The show is dedicated to Hymie.
(Name Hymie in the Hebrew origin, means The life. To exist.)
But maybe it will be for lots of others.
When I asked Dad why he wanted to make this show with me, I was expecting something poetic and meaningful.
“To inspire people to talk about mental illness”
“To show the importance of community”
“To prove that life is worth living”
What he said was,
“I think it could help your career”
The rest of this, I hope, is going to be equally as honest.
This is a show about how sometimes the more voices we have, the better we sound.
The more powerful we sound.
The more supported we sound.
Especially when we’re a bit crap at singing…