Artist development programme essential for local creatives

WILD ONION Orange Sky Theatre by James Barrett

Artistic director and executive producer Daisy Minto says upcoming production WILD ONION would not have been possible without support for Norwich Theatre - Credit: Rachel Elizabeth Coleman

The majority of UK performance artists – theatre-makers, dancers and spoken-word artists – are freelance. Their unpredictable working and creative lives are riddled with obstacles and risks. Never was this more apparent than during the pandemic.  

The obstacles faced by artists are both internal and external. It might be a creative block stifling a great idea. It might be doubt about their ability to sustain a career that can test health and wellbeing. It might be financial instability.  

Jez Pike, Norwich Theatre artist development coordinator. 

Jez Pike, Norwich Theatre artist development coordinator - Credit: Alex Rimell

“External obstacles often come in the ‘big three problems’: not enough space, not enough time, not enough money,” says Jez Pike, Norwich Theatre artist development coordinator. 

Norwich Theatre is committed to not only helping artists recover from the pandemic, but to overcoming these obstacles while growing the industry’s vibrancy, diversity, accessibility and resilience. Its artist development programme is a crucial step. 

“Support from Norwich Theatre alone will not surmount all obstacles, but our regional and national connections mean our contribution can be bolstered by other organisations and funding bodies including Arts Council England. 

“We’ve also drawn on the positive outcomes of the pandemic, including a renewed focus on partnerships and collaboration,” Jez explains. Norwich Theatre will launch an artist network later this year, enabling local creatives to connect, share and develop.

“For artists committed to our values and to developing a long-term relationship with us, we can offer world-class facilities and development bursaries,” Jez says. 

One such company is Orange Skies Theatre, which will present WILD ONION at Norwich Theatre Stage Two in May – a blend of theatre, dance and circus arts exploring friendship and identity.

Artistic director and executive producer Daisy Minto said: “We wouldn’t be able to do this project without being supported by Norwich Theatre. What the theatre does is so important in engaging young artists and showing them there is a career progression to be had in Norwich. It means the arts ecology isn’t being saturated in London, Manchester or other big cities – and it continues Norwich’s legacy as a thriving arts community.” 

For more information, please visit norwichtheatre.org