Part of trying to make sense of the last year is retelling its story.
In March 2020, we were in the midst of one of our most ambitious seasons celebrating our 40-year history when COVID-19 forced us to close.
Since then, we’ve shifted from a model of, crudely, producing 5 productions per season with fairly consistent processes (4 weeks rehearsal, tech, some previews) – to creating 3 projects – Prayer, The Letters Project, and Gate Generations. They were all made in very different ways, largely from necessity, but also from the opportunity to try out new ways of working – through co-creation, and presenting deliberately unfinished, experimental work in the hope of letting it develop in conversation with an audience.
These changes have enabled us to begin rethinking how we work in the future, revisit ideas in our manifesto to take them further, and address how we can both improve working conditions for freelancers and create a more honest, direct, and transparent relationship with our audience.
2020 made clear that we can’t go back to doing things the way they were before. The experience of freelancers during this time, and disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on already marginalised people made the wider, historic, and ongoing pandemics of racism, ableism, classism, homophobia and transphobia impossible to ignore. We are working towards rebuilding better, which means changing our structures, working practices, fees, interrogating every aspect of what we do.
We hope this page gives a sense of some of the critical turning points for us over the last year whilst celebrating the artists and freelancers who we are proud to have worked with and who are central to our organisation.
As we’ve put this timeline together, our new Executive Director, Shawab Iqbal, begins work with us, marking a new chapter in our story. We’re so excited to share the conversations, ideas, and projects that are starting to emerge.
Huge thanks to Zahran Ahmed for helping write and create this page.
Faces In The Crowd: Performers: Neil D’Souza, Jimena Larraguivel, Anoushka Lucas, Juan Leonardo Solari, Santiago Huertas Ruiz ; Set design Bethany Wells; Lighting design Jessica Hung Han Yun ; Photography Ellie Kurttz
Trainers: Performers: Nicki Hobday, Nando Messias; Design Naomi Kuyuk-Cohen and Joshua Gadsby (also Lighting); Photography Alex Harvey Brown
The Unknown Island: Performers: Jon Foster, Hannah Ringham, Thalissa Teixeira, Zubin Varla; Set design: Rosie Elnile; Lighting design Lizzie Powell; Photography Cameron Slater
Suzy Storck: Performers: Caoilfhionn Dunne, Kate Duchene, Jonah Russell, Theo Solomon; Set design Cécile Trémolières; Lighting design Christopher Nairne; Photography Helen Murray
Letters: Performers: Liz Chan, Phoebe Fox, Irfan Shamji, Thalissa Teixeira. Photography Clare Nugent.