CPT announces Seed Commissioned Artists for 2022
CPT is delighted today to be announcing the latest round of artists commissioned as part of our annual seed commission scheme. This is a big deal for us – these nine projects will (we hope!) go on to be a big part of the life of this organisation for the next 12-18 months, as we support them from idea stage to work-in-progress stage to (who knows?) full production and glorious success in the world.
To double the thrill, we get to announce (on the same day!) call-outs for two new community commissions, one of them a brand new partnership with our near-neighbours and friends, Old Diorama Arts Centre. That commission, Camden Now!, will help a Camden-based artist or company make a brand new theatre show, with no additional support necessary, throughout the second half of 2022 – to premiere on our stage at the end of the year. Alongside Camden Now!, we launch this year’s Outside the Box commission, which will support far-out new thinking (and doing) about what ‘live performance’ can be – and how it can involve members of our local community. In 2020, in peak-lockdown, that commission gave us Pigfoot’s awesome Hot in Here and Adam Welsh’s for-the-ages No Future, among others. Now it’s back – so hit us up with your ideas.
But before all that, nine artists/companies (selected from 150 applications) will be at work in our building, from now until the autumn, bringing to life their stellar commissioned projects. These include Philip Arditti and Nina Bowers’ On/Off Henry, Isaac Ouro-Gnao with Return to Us, and Flawbored’s It's a mother***ing pleasure alongside work by Jamie Hale, Georgina Lance, Tahira Dar, Princess Bestman, Kurtis Lincoln and Chosen Family Business. We give these theatre-makers a week’s space, £1000, a performance opportunity – alongside tailored care, producing input and whatever else CPT has that they might benefit from.
Who among them will be the Lanre Malaolus and Ryan Calais Camerons of tomorrow? – to cite two recent recipients of CPT commissions who’ve gone on to do extraordinary things in the heart of British theatre. It’s a privilege for CPT to get onboard early with these electrifying artists and their new projects – and, by offering substantial commissions for new work, to help creatives bring the best new ideas to life. All of them will be gracing our stage (and others) sometime soon: we hope to see you there :)
- Brian Logan
FlawBored is a disability-led theatre company. They make work through play, with access at the core of everything they do. They create unique opportunities for artists and practitioners to reframe the way they think about access. A FlawBored show is cheeky, chaotic and most importantly is not disability ‘trauma-porn’ or ‘pity-porn.’ Their ethos is built by their motto ‘Access is easy if you care’
It's a mother f***ing pleasure
In a world of late stage capitalism where everything is driven by profit, major corporations take advantage of oppressed groups as a way of generating income but the idea of Blindness has not been commodified as cool or sexy …yet.
A social media star goes viral for an ableist video causing severe backlash for their talent management agency. Using their only Blind talent manager as a levy, RIZE Talent desperately try to build the career of a Blind influencer in an attempt to cauterise a PR wound.
Nina Bowers & Philip Arditti
Philip Arditti is an actor, writer and theatre maker. He has worked extensively on TV and on stage playing lead roles at the National Theatre and in the West End. His first full length play EXTINCT he was shortlisted for the Royal Court’s Playwrights Programme and selected to be part of Global Jewish Voices at the Bush Theatre
Nina Bowers is an actor and theatre maker. She was co-director of LETTERS (Gate). She has performed original solo work at Camden People’s Theatre (Camden Fringe) and Sprint Festival. Nina was nominated by the Globe for the Evening Standard Future theatre Fund Award and has been awarded The Yard Theatre Live Draft Fund to develop a piece on the Climate Emergency
Looking for Henry is a journey into the absurd world of nation state narratices. Part autobiographical, part taken from Shakespeares' Henry V, this project seeks to unpick the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves.
Georgina is a young circus and dance artist based in the UK. She performs as a movement artist trained as a contemporary dancer, fire performer, pole dancer, aerialist, stilt walker, and flexibility coach having completed her training at the centre for advanced training and Phoenix youth academy. She then went on to perform as a company dancer for Capua gate company directed by Martin Hylton and successfully auditioned for National Centre for Circus Arts where she is currently studying for her circus degree. In the summer of 2021, she received several commissions including a commission in collaboration with Northern stage to create a circus performance piece exploring how movement can be used as a medium for self-care for black woman throughout the online circulation of black trauma and police brutality. She was also selected by pink art gallery to represent one of the five UK artists creating pieces in response to the increase in femicide rates over the last 5 year where she performed a pole dance piece inspired by her testimony of the potential for pole dance to help sexual abuse survivors reclaim agency over their expression and autonomy. She is extremely passionate about using circus and dance as platforms to highlight erased narratives and centralise marginalised experiences. She has directed several dance and circus pieces including choreographing and performing for VAMOS festival, The Whose Heritage Symposium, Maya Angelou Centres 25th Anniversary, Harambe Pasadia, and Camden Theatre. She has also performed as a specialist circus at a range of venues including Restaurant Ours, Cirque Le Soir, Curiosity Ball, and Soho Houses.
She also currently teaches a range of flexibility and pole classes alongside company dancing for the Ella Mesma company.
The Process of Reclamation
Georgina will be developing a circus piece exploring how pole dance can be used as a movement therapy for sexual abuse survivors. Her journey with pole started in 2020 where she began at home pole training throughout lockdown. During this time she was also navigating processing sexual abuse from within the Newcastle circus scene. Pole allowed her to explore movement with a focus on learning how sensual movement can exists authentically to the individual. This opened up a whole new artistic space for her, as pole wasn’t focused on fulfilling a director’s vision, or creating easily marketable performance pieces, or creating choreography or repertoire that centralises appeasing to the audience or male gaze. Rather, it provoked introspection and self-evaluation for her to relearn her own feeling towards her body, movement, and sensuality in the wake of experiencing SA.
The piece will be performed on flying pole, a relatively new piece of equipment that connects circus and pole dance in the form of a pole that spins whilst also hanging from one rigged point.
Georgina is particularly interested in developing this piece as she feels her experiences have been relatable to many regarding, a lot of survivors who have started pole or sex work related pole dance in response to assault. And the current #metoo circus movements where many circus schools, companies and performers are being exposed as predatory and abusive.
Isaac Ouro-Gnao is a Togolese-British dance and writing-based multidisciplinary artist, and freelance journalist. He creates empathetic and thought-provoking work rooted in magical realism and Africanfuturism with a focus on themes of childhood, memory, and mental health.
His impact in the hip hop theatre and contemporary dance world has been multifaceted; working as a performer, voice artist, scriptwriter, and marketer for esteemed dance theatre artists and companies.
His writing has appeared in the form of features, reviews, and poetry in publications such as Lolwe, The Stage, RAD's Dance Gazette, BlackInk, Poetry Birmingham Literary Journal, and more.
Isaac is a member of Body Politic’s board of directors, is a mental health advocate through Mind charity’s Young Black Men steering group, and is studying a master's in Creative Arts and Mental Health to better his practice.
Return To Us
Return To Us is a part dance, part theatre, part visual arts production that tells a magical realism and africanfuturist story of migration, assimilation, and the effects of institutional racism on the mental health of Black migrants in the UK.
For the CPT seed commission, I will develop Act I, which focuses on a Togolese migrant’s treacherous journey to the UK to escape the instability of his country and neighbouring regions caused by destructive European and western interests in the natural resources of West Africa.
Jamie is an award-winning theatre maker, poet, (screen)writer, charity CEO and founder and Artistic Director at CRIPticArts. Their work focuses on crip- and queer- realities, and the urgency of living as a disabled person.
Their first poetry pamphlet, Shield was published in 2021, and was read by Jack Thorne in the 2021 MacTaggart lecture, where he described them as an “extraordinary voice”. Their solo film, NOT DYING, was described as "fantastic" by Hannah Gadsby.
In 2021, they were awarded the Jerwood Poetry Fellowship, won Director/Theatremaker of the Year Award in the Evening Standard Future Theatre Fund Awards, and were listed in the Disability Power 100 as one of the hundred most influential disabled people in Britain, while directing the sell-out 2021 CRIPtic Showcase.
Jamie is working on their first poetry collection, building CRIPtic Arts and developing their TV series with Channel 4.
This is (not) a narrative of a (crippled) body
This is (not) a narrative of a (crippled) body is an exploration of the stories we tell about our bodies, and the stories we expect disabled bodies to tell about themselves. It invites the audience to stare at a crippled body, while hearing the stories we all have about our bodies, a challenge of the crossover between the universal, and the specific. Playing with captions, audio-description, and BSL interpretation to open the piece up to as many audiences as possible, it sites my body as a source of joy and resistance, instead of one as pain and suffering. I am working on the initial stages at the moment, with the intention of slowly adding and disentangling medical narratives, and bringing in the stories other people bring about their bodies.
As a performance artist and writer, Lincoln’s practice operates at the intersection of fine art and camp pantomimes. Juxtaposing historic and contemporary iconography to explore themes of; personal transformation through ritualistic or sexual practices, collective identities and shared joy. He deploys humour and audience participation to create uncanny realities and charged environments, wherein both the performer and audience contribute to space and place-making. Language plays a vital role in their creative output – often hybridising multiple colloquial tongues, that belong to the various cultures he operates within. This hybridisation not only creates a warped collage of his own class and sexuality, but also acts as a study into the etymology of counter cultures.
‘Ello Duckie! ‘5 Barney’s’ is a chaotic two-hander, that recreates some of Rupaul’s Drag Race’s most iconic fights in the forgotten gay language of Polari. Questioning the impact that commercialisation has had on contemporary queer culture while simultaneously being a mess of wigs, nails and heels.
Chosen Family Business - Nat Li Lin Steinhouse, Anju Marie Kasturiraj, Gabriel Bonet & Maria Kontouli
Gabriel Bonet, Anju Marie Kasturiraj, Maria Kontouli & Nat Li Lin Steinhouse are a group of london-based artists. Their work is set amidst psychological landscapes interrogating binaries, fictitious borders, relationships to the natural world, and queer kinship. They tell these stories through a combination of movement, film, painting, and sound. Upcoming work includes: Sigala, a movement experiment about the dis/embodiment of inner child mythologies, socialization, and time, shown at UglyDuck on 12 May; Let me tell you, an anticapitalist sci-fi jingles musical they are developing at Camden People’s Theatre as part of its 2022 Seed Commission.
Let Me Tell You
Let Me Tell You is an anticapitalist sci-fi jingles musical. It's set in a world almost recognizable to our own, distinguished by the presence of the mysterious Fluid. Fluid is a synthetic truth, bottled and passed down as an ancestral heirloom. Fluid allows people to create music by swishing it in their mouths. Fluid exists in polarity to water
Princess is a performer and theatre-maker who interweaves spoken word, rap, live art and digital media in their playful approach to accessible storytelling. With a focus on Queer, Black, Foster Care experienced perspectives, Princess engages audiences with their thought-provoking content infused with random bursts of humour. Recent works include Miss Monroe which premiered at Blue Elephant Theatre and went on to appear as a part of DICE Festival and The Barbican’s Young Barbican event, Labe Igi Orombo a short film created as part of The Albany’s Open Source Collaborations programme and Pursuit of Happiness, a devised performance at Blue Elephant Theatre. Princess is also an arts facilitator, and access support assistant to performers.
The Daisy that broke the chain
Would you rather be a serial killer or an addict?
Follow Ash on their journey to independence as they strive to beat statistics after leaving foster care. They're looking for a sugar daddy to help them out, could it be you?
The Daisy, that broke the chain highlights the life of a young person living independently post-foster care. With the use of music, animation and rap. Ash brings us along as they navigate the obstacles of their current life against the effects of their past trauma. Despite the difficulties that come with this, Ash continues to hold onto the reason for their strength and resilience. Daisy.
Tahira Dar is a London-based, Mancunian writer and performer. She was part of Contact Theatre’s Young Actors Company in Manchester and went on to train with Ecole Philippe Gaulier in Etampes, Paris. Having worked as an actor in theatre and radio, she is now in development with her first solo show - Unpopular Culture.
How can we encourage our children to follow their dreams, if we found it difficult to truly follow our own? How will they cope being a part of many cultures without belonging to any? Theatre meets Mumsnet in Unpopular Culture - a funny and honest exploration of motherhood and representation. A show about realistic expectations in an unequal world - we ask how it feels when popular culture both influences and ignores you.