Eclipse Theatre announces latest artists’ commissions for its pioneering Slate programme, as Black artists in the North of England encouraged to apply for the third and final time
The UK’s leading Black theatre company Eclipse Theatre has today announced the second round of artists’ commissions as part of Slate, a programme which supports Black artists in the North of England to work locally, nationally and internationally, building sustainable models for careers in the independent sector.
Four artists have been selected to receive either £8,000 to support a project that is ready to get up and running; or £4,000 to research and develop a new concept or idea. The selected artists are:
- Ryan Harston – artistic director of multidisciplinary arts collective ‘URBAN Conceptz Theatre’, based in South Yorkshire. His commissioned work ‘Trinity’ is a silent piece of theatre that mixes innovative storytelling, stunning audio-visual technology, mask work and explosive movement theatre.
- hanje Kunda – international poet, playwright and performance artist, based in Manchester. Chanje’s piece, ‘Plant Fetish’, combines humorous dramatic monologue with live art and dance to explore the power of nature to combat anxiety.
RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT (£4,000)
- Malika Booker – poet, multi-disciplinary artist and co-founder of the writers’ collective Malika’s Poetry Kitchen, based in Manchester. Malika’s work, titled ‘Walking With Our Dead’ is a choreopoem (a work involving poetic text and movement), where black men share stories about the institutional war waged on their bodies.
- Lwimbo Kunda – film maker and visual artist based in Manchester. Lwimbo will produce ‘Close the Light’, a multimedia live art performance that will explore touch and intimacy between Black mothers and daughters.
The commissioned artists, all rising stars in their fields, will also benefit from a bespoke programme of professional support and expertise working with Eclipse, the team of Slate ‘Enablers’, and a consortium of partner organisations including ARC Stockton, York Theatre Royal, Pilot Theatre, Unity Theatre and HOME.
Funded through Arts Council England’s Sustained Theatre scheme, this is the second round of Slate commissions, with the first launched in 2017 and the final call out now under way.
Dawn Walton, artistic director at Eclipse Theatre comments,
“I really want to shout out to Black artists in the North to put forward their ideas for this third and final round of Slate commissions. For three years now Black artists have been able to take risks and experiment in a supportive and positive environment through Slate.
“Our artists have been selling out in venues across the country and it’s fantastic to see the work of talented young Black artists reach an audience. The demand from audiences for high quality new work from Black artists is huge and we’ve barely tapped into it.
“Whilst this is the final round of Slate support, this cannot be the last chance for Black artists to be supported in their growth. We have proven that the Slate model of commissioning works and that’s exciting. It’s a legacy that everyone involved can feel proud of and the challenge now is to make this model sustainable.”
The final round of commissioning is now open to Black artists based in the North of England, working across any art form (including, but not limited to, visual arts, theatre, dance, circus, music, literature and film). Responding to the brief ‘What will you be remembered for? If you could only ever make one more piece of art, what would it be?’, the selected artists will receive a bespoke programme of support for each proposal that is commissioned. This includes workspace, expertise and guidance with one of six Enablers, partnership with one or more commissioning partners (York Theatre Royal, Pilot Theatre, Unity Theatre and HOME), and PR and marketing support. The deadline for applications is Friday 14 June 2019, and shortlisting will take place in July 2019.