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News: Two North East theatre makers have been selected to develop two new plays

Two North East theatre makers have been selected to develop two new plays

Two North East based theatre makers have been selected for this year’s Bridging the Gap scheme.

The Six Twenty and theatre maker Zoe Murtagh were selected by the seven venues supporting the scheme, after submitting successful applications for their work to be considered.

Now both companies will each work with four venues taking part in the BTG scheme over the next few months to develop new productions, which will be presented in the autumn.

Melanie Rashbrooke, Artistic Director of The Six Twenty, will be developing FANS

Part theatre show and part music gig, Melanie’s vision is to draw together a hilarious, heart-warming and electric mix of stories told through raucous live music, comedy and verbatim theatre. Based on people’s love affair with music, the show will fuse together true stories, scripted elements and music fan confessions.

Melanie commented: “I’m thrilled that the show has been picked as part of this year’s Bridging the Gap scheme. It’s a really exciting time to be creating work in the North East and the shortlist of theatre-makers is a real testament to the work being created in the region at the moment. I can’t wait to make the most of the expertise and mentoring of the brilliant teams and venues involved in the scheme. BTG is an invaluable opportunity that will help me develop my theatre company and create a bold new piece of theatre that will tour the North East.”

Performance maker and spoken word artist Zoe Murtagh will produce The Lamppost Petition,a show that is about celebrating and remembering stories that have been passed down through the generations by our grandparents. It is an exploration into the politics of identity within the ageing body and mind.

Our lives are lived and then our stories are shared with friends and family and our stories are lived through them, but what if these could also be lived through several audiences full of people? What if that audience of people go on to share those stories again?

Zoe will share her own experiences and stories, and that of the various people she will talk to through focus groups. 

She commented: “I'm chuffed to have been selected as one of the companies taking part in this year's Bridging the Gap scheme. The support from the venues will be incredibly beneficial in helping me create a new piece of theatre for North East audiences and I'm really excited to work with staff and public across all the organisations I'll be working with. Bridging the Gap will allow me to develop as an artist whilst creating a show about grandparents, aging, and the way we share our family stories. I hope this opportunity will allow me to meet a wide variety of people across the region to tell stories, drink tea, talk politics, eat cake, dance, laugh, listen to loud music, share favourite films and start a conversation, and I hope as many people as possible will join me on this ambitious journey through a world of yarn bombers, bus passes and ageing ungracefully.” 

Annabel Turpin, Chief Executive of ARC, who coordinates the scheme, commented on this year’s selection: “Once again, the quality of applications we received was excellent, they are a testament to the incredible amount of creative talent that we have here in the region. The panel, which included representatives from the partner venues, felt that the proposals from The Six Twentyand Zoe Murtagh both had very strong ideas and relevance to our audiences. We are really looking forward to working with the companies and seeing how each piece develops.” 

Now in its seventh year, Bridging the Gapis an initiative designed to aid the creation of new theatre work within the North East region.

Over the years the scheme has expanded and now includes: ARC, Alnwick Playhouse, Arts Centre Washington, The Customs House, Live Theatre, Northern Stage and The Maltings in Berwick. These venues work together to offer a joint package of in-kind support to each recipient, which includes box office and marketing support, technical support and performances dates at four venues.

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