BBC Performing Arts Fund announcement
5 December 2013
Theatre Centre, the touring theatre company that has been producing new plays for young audiences since 1953, has received £10,000 from the BBC Performing Arts Fund Theatre Fellowship scheme to support the professional development of visually impaired playwright Alex Bulmer.
The BBC scheme, which has been running since 2003, seeks to support the work of aspiring theatre professionals. Writers with a physical disability or sensory impairment are under-represented in the Theatre for Young Audiences and new writing sectors, and as a sector leader Theatre Centre is ideally placed to support Alex Bulmer’s development.
The company has a history of cultivating writers with alternative perspectives, having developed significant work by BAME and female playwrights from the 1980s through to the present. Playwrights to have cut their teeth with the company include Adjoa Andoh, Bryony Lavery and Charles Way.
“I am delighted to be awarded the fellowship from the BBC and so excited to be spending the next year working with Theatre Centre, a company with an exceptional history of creating essential new work for young people.” Alex Bulmer, playwright
“We are honoured that the BBC Performing Arts Fund has selected Theatre Centre and Alex Bulmer to be a part of their Fellowship programme. Theatre Centre is committed to breaking down barriers to theatre-making and providing opportunities for talented writers from all backgrounds. We’re thrilled that this fund will help us to support Alex to develop her skills and knowledge in order to create inspiring new work for young audiences.” Natalie Wilson, Artistic Director, Theatre Centre
Theatre Centre and Alex Bulmer will be working for the next year on an exploration of new writing, enabling Bulmer to investigate theme, style and stagecraft across work for all age groups. Bulmer will have the opportunity to develop ideas in collaboration with young people, artists and other writers, culminating in a sharing of a new play. The aim of Theatre Centre’s Artistic Director Natalie Wilson is to build Bulmer’s resources for creating Theatre for Young Audiences, which will ultimately add to the diversity of writers working in the sector.
Miriam O’Keeffe, Director of the BBC Performing Arts Fund, said: “I think the arts are really important, socially. As a society it is something that can bring people together. We support community groups and emerging talent. The money is made available through phone voting on BBC One entertainment shows, and we have an open applications process. This year we are supporting 19 theatre Fellows and 58 community theatre projects with over £430,000 spread right across the UK. 78% of those supported are based outside of London. It’s been an amazing year, looking at the breadth of theatre happening around the country.”
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Notes to Editors
Theatre Centre is a professional theatre company celebrating 60 years of touring new plays for children and young people. A registered charity, Theatre Centre has been commissioning new writing and touring to schools and venues across the UK since 1953. It received its first Arts Council England grant in 1966 and became a National Portfolio Organisation in 2012 (supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England). Theatre Centre has worked with award winning writers such as Lisa Evans, Noël Grieg, Mike Kenny, Brendan Murray, Philip Osment, Bryony Lavery, Manjinder Virk, Roy Williams and Benjamin Zephaniah. Theatre Centre administrates the Brian Way Award for Best New Play, the Adrienne Benham Award and the Dorothy L. Sayers Award. Visit the website at www.theatre-centre.co.uk
The BBC Performing Arts Fund is a charity committed to developing new performing arts talent from across the UK. Since its inception in 2003 the Fund has awarded over £4m to aspiring musicians and talented performing arts individuals and community groups. To learn more about what the Fund does and how to apply please visit the website at www.bbc.co.uk/performingartsfund
Alex Bulmer is a writer, performer and theatre maker. Originally from Canada, Alex moved into writing when she began to lose her sight. She has successfully established herself amongst the writing community, working on a rich and varied programme of projects. Alex’s stage play Smudge earned two Best New Play nominations, and was Time Out’s Critics Choice. Alex has written for Polka Theatre Company and Graeae Theatre Company as well as BBC Radio. She was one of three writers of the Channel 4 series Cast Offs which earned a BAFTA and Royal Television Society nomination. Alex is currently co-writer of Assisted Suicide the Musical and is one of ten writers involved in the site specific audio series Lost in Theatre at the Royal Court.