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December 1, 2022

Harrogate Theatre announces successful seed commissions

Harrogate Theatre is delighted to confirm the four companies which have been awarded seed commissions for 2023 / 2024.

Harrogate Theatre runs a buoyant artist development hub committed to supporting and developing artists, with particular focus on artists, companies or work from or with resonance to Harrogate and the wider district.

This year companies were invited to pitch ideas which would be suitable for non-traditional theatre spaces. Harrogate Theatre is committed to increasing the accessibility of its work through programming innovative, small-scale performances into step-free venues. With our seed commissions it has the additional benefit of inspiring companies to create work that can be toured widely in both rural and non-traditional theatre settings.

Associate Producer Porl Cooper said

“Offsite work not only broadens our access offer by presenting work in step free venues but can really help in challenging people’s perceptions of what theatre-going in the 21st Century can look like – wonderful close-up experiences, telling important and engaging stories often in the most unlikely of places.”

The four companies and artists who will create work to be performed during 2023/2024 are puppet theatre company Odd Doll, spoken word company Brave Words, theatre collective archipelago and theatre-maker Michael Pinchbeck.

Odd Doll will share Blink, an outdoor puppetry performance. Inspired by futuristic drag designs Odd Doll celebrate the small, the unbelievable and the grand.

Kathleen Yore, Artistic Director of Odd Doll said:

“Thanks to Harrogate Theatre I cannot wait to dive into a series of uplifting projects for public spaces using my main artforms of puppetry and clown. This is a huge opportunity for me to perfect bold designs, develop new collaborations and cultivate being utterly ridiculous. My hope is that I will create beautiful moments in which we can all have a good laugh together.”

Brave Words will develop Mutton, telling the story of Mary Bateman, Leeds’ most famous witch and con-woman. Set in the early 1800’s, the title comes from one of Mary’s earliest cons – pretending to be a nobleman’s cook to steal a leg of mutton from the delivery boy.

Chris Singleton, Artistic Director of Brave Words said:

“Brave Words is growing and emerging rapidly as a theatre and spoken word company, and we will benefit massively from the extensive knowledge of the Harrogate team. Their support will help us embed our artistic work more deeply in the disadvantaged communities where we work, as well as connecting with new communities and audiences across Yorkshire.”

 archipelago will create Contrary Mary and the Magic of the Garden. Turning classic nursery rhymes on their head for family audiences, the show will explore the strengths of our differences whilst celebrating the beauty of the outdoors.

Beth Knight, co-director of archipelago said:

“We’re absolutely thrilled to have been given this opportunity to work with the brilliant Harrogate Theatre on our first production for families. archipelago is all about telling new stories about our world today, we’re excited to work with lots of families and young people across the area and the amazing team at the theatre to bring this magical story all about nature and adventure to life!”

Finally, writer and theatre-maker, also working in live art, Michael Pinchbeck will create an innovative theatre performance to mark the 40th anniversary of Another Way of Telling by writer, John Berger, and photographer, Jean Mohr.

Michael Pinchbeck said:

“The Harrogate Theatre seed commission gives me an opportunity to finish a trilogy I’ve been making since 2018 exploring books by writer John Berger and photographer Jean Mohr. This gives me time and space to work on the final part of the trilogy, Another Way of Telling, inspired by a book about photography. I’m excited about finding innovative ways to adapt the book as an immersive performance to mark its 40th anniversary and share it with new audiences.”

We can’t wait to premiere these new works in the near future. To find out more about Harrogate Theatre’s artist development hub click here.

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