Associate Artist Development Scheme
A bespoke package of support, tailored to you.
The Mercury Theatre has currently recruited Associate Artists & Companies, who we can support through 2018-19 to develop new work and/or improve their business resilience through tailor-made attachments to the Mercury of up to 18 months.
We are a strategic partner with PiPA (Parents in Performing Arts), who campaign to enable and empower parents, carers and employers to achieve sustainable change in attitudes and practices in order to attract, support and retain a more diverse and flexible workforce. We are always happy to discuss solutions that allow people to balance their caring responsibilities with their working lives, for example through job shares or flexible working arrangements.
OUR ASSOCIATE ARTISTS (2018-2019)
All-In Productions create theatre and interactive experiences for those who don’t normally engage in the arts. We are based in Norwich and work all over the UK. Founded in 2014 by Daniel Burgess and Adam Taylor, All-In Productions work with an amazing group of creative people.
All-In Productions aim to delight, challenge, move and amaze audiences with the theatre that we produce whilst making the experience accessible as possible, removing the barriers that audiences may have faced in the past.
All-In Productions work in many different styles, dealing with contrasting subject matters and for a range of different audiences. One minute this could mean creating an interactive pantomime for Toddlers and their families, the next a one-man show about mental health to be performed in nontheatrical spaces. This diversity of arts keeps us on our toes, just the way we like it!
We are inspired by the project and the needs of that audience and not just driven by our own style.
Unbound Productions was created by Rebecca Hill and Bradley Leech, and joined by Ben Atterbury. Our first production, Travesti – a verbatim play about women’s real experiences of sexism performed by a cast of male actors – was a sell-out show, winning acclaim and awards at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2014. As a Director, Rebecca’s work has been seen in venues including the Gate Theatre (Iphigenia Quartet), and the Almeida Theatre (Lysistrata: The Sex Strike for the Greek Season). Bradley is Head of First Year and Course Director of Foundation training at Italia Conti Academy. Ben is Interim Producer for Out of Joint, having spent the last few years as Associate Artistic Director of the award-winning venue The Other Room in Cardiff. The team is excited to be collaborating on innovative, thought-provoking and challenging work.
As Associate Artists, Unbound Productions is developing a new play, Torque, written by Rebecca Hill. Torque is a play partly in sign-language about a relationship between a Deaf man and a hearing woman. It begins with their first meeting and follows them as they discover how to communicate, through the highs and lows of their relationship, to their final break-up and the consequences this unleashes. It is about communication in relationships, equality regardless of disability, and what we are willing to sacrifice for love.
Beth competed at national level as a gymnast then went on to gain a degree in dance. With most dance roles asking her to tumble, she re-trained with the circus and has been working within this field for the last 14 yrs. Beth has performed as an acrobat and aerialist in theatre, film and television, from Panto and cruise ships to world tours, including Batman Live. Beth continues to work as a choreographer alongside performing, and has worked for the youth faculty of English National Ballet in association with Akram Khan and Rambert Dance Company, as well as being lead dance artist for numerous large-scale community projects.
Gaining an MA in acting from Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, Beth has performed in various theatre, film and television roles, including work with Matt Damon, Clint Eastwood, and most recently BBC’s ‘A Very English Scandal’.
As Associate Artist, Beth is creating a new piece of circus, bringing the infamous characters of Punch and Judy to life as human marionette puppets, in a human sized Punch and Judy box. It explores the historical silencing of women and its impact on fear and shame surrounding the female voice today.
Inspired by the story of Lavinia in Shakespeare’s ‘Titus Andronicus’ in which she is mutilated after rape, in a bid to physically silence her, the literal de-voicing of Lavinia resonates as achingly close to the effects sexual abuse can have on a victim today. This new piece of aerial theatre considers the relationship between internal suffering Vs public persona, the victim and the jury, the performer and the audience.
Annie Mwampulo was born in Lusaka Zambia, then migrated to Newport Wales when she was 7 years old, as a teenager she moved to Colchester. She now resides in South London. Annie is a theatre graduate of the University of East London, a Fourth Monkey Alumni and a National Youth Theatre member. She is a multi-faceted artist as an actress, director, playwright and spoken word artist.
After performing at the Edinbrugh fringe festival with the Fourth Monkey theatre company, a pivotal change occurred to Annie’s creative outlook. She travelled back to Zambia for the first time since migrating to the UK. She saw that there is a severe lack of diversity in UK theatre, leading her to the creation of the Blind truth.
Annie wrote, directed and acted in 2017, 2018 The Blind Truth Lyric Hammersmith, A dystopian play depicting the aftermath of a war caused by inequality and injustice. She has also directed 2018 Coconut diaries, Southwark Playhouse’s Little Pieces of Gold.
Annie has acted in theatre shows that include: 2016, The Whale Jonah (lead role), at Edinburgh Fringe Festival with Fourth Monkey Theatre Company, written by Steve Green, Directed by Karen Tomlin., 2016 The Ark Efe (supporting role), at Edinburgh Fringe Festival with Fourth Monkey Theatre company, written by Steve Green and Directed by Stephen Sobal., 2017 Voya and Goliath Voya (Lead Role), Rose Bruford, National Youth Theatre, written by Sam Evans and directed by Stella Odunlami.
Annie’s influences are strong women such as Marina Abramovic, Yoko Ono and Orlan. Her associate artist scheme project will be a piece that explores the Invasion of personal space using a stimulus called Rape by Yoko Ono and John Lennon. “We’re all peeping Toms whilst dreaming of becoming Jack the Ripper” – Yoko Ono.
“As a young Black female artist I strive to create a community where all voices can be heard regardless of race, gender and social constrictions.” – Annie Mwampulo.
OUR ASSOCIATE ARTISTS (2017-2018)
Nancy is an emergent choreographer and theatre director. She has been working in professional theatre since graduating from The Royal Central College Of Speech And Drama with an MA (Movement Direction and Teaching) in 2015. Previously Nancy trained in dance at DeMontfort University. Her recent artistic work includes: Movement Direction for The Events (Mercury Theatre) Ballroom (Waterloo East Theatre, European Premiere); Romeo and Juliet (Mercury Theatre), Our House (Queens Theatre Hornchurch). As Associate Movement Director: I Capture The Castle (Watford Palace, Bolton Octagon, Oxford Playhouse), the feature film Breathe (dir. Andy Serkis). Nancy was recently selected for the Young Vic Directors Programme and was long-listed for the Old Vic 12.
As an Associate Artist Nancy is developing a brand new piece of movement theatre, Dancing For My Neverland – a study of addiction set within the mythology of Peter Pan.
Scott is a director. He was Resident Artist at the Roundhouse 2016, and a Creative Associate at the Gate Theatre, London, most recently working on their production of ‘I Call my Brothers.’ Scott trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama, and RADA.
Directing credits include: Our Town by Thornton Wilder (Farrar Theatre) Hidden by Nicola Werenowska (Oxford Playhouse, Marlowe Theatre, Norwich Arts Centre and Mercury Theatre) Counting Stars by Atiha Sen Gupta (Assembly, Edinburgh Fringe) The House of Bernarda Alba adapted by David Hare (Kings Head Theatre), Three to Four Days by Scott Hurran (Edinburgh Fringe), Immigrant (Theatre Uncut, Young Vic), The Grandfathers (National Theatre Connections, Theatre Chipping Norton and Oxford Playhouse), and The Seventh Continent (Prague Quadrennial).
Assistant Directing credits include: I Call My Brothers (dir. Tinuke Craig, Gate Theatre), The Precariat, (dir. Chris New, The Finborough), Theatre Uncut (dir. Emma Callander, Theatre Uncut, Young Vic), This Same England (dir. Elizabeth Freestone, RSC and Pentabus Theatre.
As an Associate Artist Scott is developing a new devised play, Bank, exploring foodbanks and the food crisis in Essex.
Amy is an actor, director, comedienne, and improviser. Amy graduated from Mountview Academy of Theatre arts in 2013, and trained as in improvisation at Hoopla (with Maria Peters), The Nursery (with Improvable) and Second City (at Angel Comedy) and iO (at The Nursery).
Acting credits include: The Glass Menagerie (Nottingham Playhouse), Stella (Sky One), Doctors (BBC). Rehearsed readings/workshops include for: Graeae, Hull Truck, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Guilty Party Pictures, Bush Theatre, Nottingham Playhouse, Spy Monkey, NT Studio, Royal Court and Soho Theatre. Amy is a member of Natural Diversions which specialises in comedic street theatre. Directing credits: Rent (Witham Music Theatre), Our House (New Rickstones Academy), Our House (Witham Operatic Workshop) and The Producers (Witham Amateur Operatic Society).
As assistant director: Heritage, Hospital Food, Bassett and currently Status Update (All with Tomorrow’s Talent as part of National Theatre Connections). Amy spent three months at The Mercury Theatre as an assistant director through The Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme (The Wind in the Willows and Much Ado About Nothing). Amy won Colchester New Comedian of the Year 2016 and has performed locally and in London.
As an Associate Artist Amy is developing a series of projects with her Improvisation troupe, Lady’s Inconvenience, including a locally situated, accessible, short-course for would-be Improvisers.
Amy Wyllie – Spinning Wheel Theatre
Spinning Wheel create innovative productions and creative opportunities for rural communities in East Anglia. Since 2011 they have produced five rural tours, each growing in size, ambition and attracting a growing audience of new theatre- goers. Spinning Wheel consists of two practitioners, Amy Wyllie and Becca Gibbs, who specialise in creating original theatre projects with work with young people and communities at their heart. For more information go to www.spinningwheeltheatre.com
As Associate Artists, Spinning Wheel are being mentored through a period of organisational development, following their rapid growth as a new company with a burgeoning reputation in the region.
OUR ASSOCIATE ARTISTS (2016-2017)
Kenny Emson is an award winning writer for stage and screen. He is currently under commission to The Bush Theatre, BBC Drama, Creative England / BFI, Universal / Wig Wam Films and recently completed an attachment to the Royal Court. He was co-creator, co-writer and associate producer on the BAFTA Craft, SXSW, Broadcast and Prix Italia nominated Last Hours of Laura K. His plays have been performed at venues including the Mercury Theatre (Quadrophenia), Sir John Mills (Parkway Dreams) and Tristan Bates (Whispering Happiness) as well at festivals in the UK, Croatia, New York and Cape Town. He has written for Eastenders, Doctors and BBC Radio 3 and 4 as well as developing original work television projects with BBC Wales and Company pictures. He was a member of the Royal Court Super Group in 2010 and was selected for the BBC Writersroom 10 and Writers Academy in 2011. He has been shortlisted for the Bruntwood and Red Planet Prizes as well as winning the Adrienne Benham, Off West End – Adopt a Playwright and Mercury Theatre Essex Playwriting awards.
Project: The Piscator – A modern tragedy about commercialism, family and carp fishing. Set in Essex.
Rachel Warr is a theatre director and dramaturg, with training in movement, mask and puppetry. Rachel is from Ipswich. Her work has previously been shortlisted for a Total Theatre Award, and presented at venues including New Wolsey Theatre, Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds, The Barbican, New Wimbledon Theatre, Underbelly in Edinburgh, as well as site specific venues and festivals in Prague, Germany, France and Singapore.
Rachel founded her own company Dotted Line Theatre in 2012, while Associate Artist at the Little Angel Theatre ‘the home of UK puppetry’. Dotted Line Theatre’s work has a literary foundation and a distinctive visual aesthetic. It combines different theatrical conventions in unusual ways in order to offer surprising perspectives on a chosen story. The company’s first two productions involved performers manipulating light as part of the action, to create a film noir feel. They have created five shows to date.
Project: Rachel will be developing a new production with the working title: The Secret Life of Rizado (and other unexpected events). The surrealist journey of a young girl struggling with identity and impending adulthood.
Our starting point has been the surrealism of Salvador Dali, the idea of transformation and constructed identity. The piece will be set in the present day and will explore artistic freedom and responsibility in this age of social media.
We anticipate using puppetry, live action, film projection, Flamenco dance and original music. The work is expected to be for audiences of young people and adults.
Rizado is thirteen. Her world is sliding into monotony and adult responsibility, and there’s never enough time to sleep. But one evening the clocks melt, everyday objects morph into strange lifeforms, and Salvador Dalí appears to lead her into a world of freedom and chaos, where mischief and danger is king.
Freddie wrote the feature film Chicken which, after playing on the international festival circuit, got its UK release in May 2016. Chicken is based on Freddie’s play of the same title which premiered at Southwark Playhouse. Freddie wrote and performed an award winning one-man show about the young Winston Churchill. Winston on the Run, garnered 4 and 5 star reviews at Edinburgh 2012 before going on a UK tour to venues including the Mercury. His most recent play Don’t Waste Your Bullets on the Dead played at the Vault Festival 2016, directed by Ed Stambollouian. Other works have been performed at the Royal Opera House, Chichester Festival Theatre, and Northern Stage. As an actor, Freddie has performed at venues including the Royal Exchange, Soho Theatre, Shakespeare’s Globe, and appeared as Irwin in the Mercury Theatre’s recent production of The History Boys.
Project: As Associate Artist at the Mercury, Freddie is exploring the relationship between Essex and the refugee crisis. By comparison to other European nations such as Germany and Sweden, Britain has had little direct experience of the biggest global movement of people since the second world war. This is set to change with the UK government’s commitment to accept up to 20,000 refugees over the next five years. Not only has Essex already welcomed Syrian families to resettle in the county, but it also has a long and rich history of migration and the movement of people. Freddie grew up on the Essex/Suffolk border, and sees being Associate Artist as an opportunity to interrogate the shifting culture of his home county.
Vickie Donoghue is a playwright and writer for TV. Her debut full-length play, Mudlarks, was developed through High Tide’s Escalator Programme and produced by The Bush, following its premiere at the 2012 High Tide Festival. Her short play Weaklings was part of a programme of new plays at the Sheffield Crucible in June last year. Other plays by Vickie include Tender Loving Care (New Theatre Royal Portsmouth, 2014), Game Over (The Garage, Norwich; The Cut, Halesworth; both 2014) and Aperture (Live Lunch – Royal Court, 2015). For TV, she has worked with Kudos and is writing an original drama with the BBC in-house as part of their Drama Writers’ Scheme.
Vickie was longlisted for the Evening Standard Theatre Awards as Most Promising New Playwright 2012 and in 2013 was shortlisted for the Royal National Theatre Foundation Playwright Award.
Project: This Way to the Sea will be a full length play set on Canvey Island, looking at the 1953 floods that devastated the East of England. The entire Island was evacuated, with 58 people losing their lives on Canvey alone. Through research and development This Way to the Sea will discover how that deadly storm has impacted people’s lives today and whether anything has been learnt. In 2013 a storm surge was recorded to be higher than that of 1953 and swept away 12 metres in places along the East coast. The Thames barrier was closed a record shattering 50 times from 2014-15 (it had previously only closed 124 times since opening in 1982). With the pressure to protect the capital and the fact that sea levels are rising, what does the future hold for Canvey Island and the people who live there?
Photo: Mike Fordham.
Tom Thomasson has been performing since 2007, touring nationally with companies such as the Graeae Theatre Company and The StopGap Dance Company. He has also taught acting skills sessions for students of all ages. These include weekly lessons for adults with diverse physical, sensory and learning disabilities.
In 2015 he won an award from the Lisa Ullmann Travelling Scholarship Fund to study with other disabled performers on a visit to the Axis Dance Company in California.
Currently, he is working on Tent, his first play.
Meditation, Reiki, good friends, and biscuits also play significant roles in his life.
Project: Tent is a romantic comedy (currently in its second draft) that aims to use text, physical theatre, and puppetry to explore what it really means to grow. The story is a playful, warm, and sincere look at two very different people on holiday together. Can they bridge the chasm between who they are and who they would most like to become?
The concept and plot outline for the original draft of Tent were developed in workshops with Helen Bendell from the StopGap Dance Company. Tom would now like to take the play into research and development to further the second draft.