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Theatre Bristol C o m e a n d P l aY


Art Makes the W o r l d a B e tt e r P l a c e

Whether by expressing alternative ways of being, creating beauty, joy, community, political challenge, generating understanding, revelation, exhilaration, anger, laughter or countless other surprising experiences, art makes the world a better place to live in.

Thingamabob by PanGottic Circus Theatre. PanGottic is

Theatre Bristol is a collective of producers. We believe that anything is possible. We follow our curiosity, individually and collectively, to work for the benefit of artists* to make great art.

a Bristol-based international touring company, dedicated to creating fresh new work that combines physical theatre and circus for indoor, outdoor and

Theatre Bristol is for people who want excellent live performance to happen in Bristol and people who want Bristol to be a good place to live, play and visit.

street performance. [Photo: Steve Eggleton]

*Artists = writers, circus artists, puppeteers, dancers, live art artists, producers, directors, designers, technicians, funders, stage managers, Champloo Roots: a free 3-week

musicians, composers, thinkers, administrators, bookkeepers,

dance project for young people

fundraisers, critics, enthusiasts, supporters… everyone who’s

produced and supported by

interested is welcome.

Champloo, Dance Chora, Bristol Old Vic, Theatre Bristol and Bristol City Council. [Photo: Kamina Walton]

Hold Everything Dear, a dance work by Laïla Diallo [Photo: Arno] Laïla is a Director on the Theatre Bristol Board

Theatre Bristol’s Executive Producers are Tanuja Amarasuriya and Katie Keeler. Our General Manager is Sarah Kingswell. Our Artist Support Producer is Simon Day. Our Company Producer is Mel Scaffold. Our Associate Producer for Dance is Emma-Jane Benning.

“I started in theatre knowing nothing, with nothing, but what I make. TB launched me. It's all very well making performance art, but knowing how to produce it sustainably, and to give it the right platform, with the right resources, and the right people listening, is a whole other game. They offered me expert - and incredibly warm and supportive - guidance, and now, I feel like I have landed, and my work will take its rightful place in the world. I actually love Theatre Bristol, right to my finger tips.” 2

When You Share Knowledge, Everyone G e t s B e tt e r We believe in sharing trade secrets so that great ideas can flow more freely, and artists, venues, producers can collaborate in the most open way.

Jennifer Bell Vocal composer / choir director and creator of theatrical song cycles In A Town and Temple Songs

Live performance is all about engaging with other people. Theatre Bristol’s team of producers seek out wormholes and bridges that can spark up partnerships and collaboration. We host, where artists and organisations can share information about their work, ideas, events and opportunities. We collate the best of this Bristol-wide information for our weekly newsletter. Sign up at

“Theatre Bristol has been

“My first experience of Theatre Bristol was going for a one-on-one advisory

wonderfully supportive during

session with Simon (Day, Artist Support Producer) when I first moved to the city.

my journey to getting my own

The meeting provided me with several jumping off points for the development of

work made and seen. Through

my practice and ever since they have acted as an invaluable source of advice

regular discussions with the

and support.”

Artist Support Producer and also meeting his relevant contacts within the industry, Theatre Bristol has helped steer

Jo Hellier is an artist whose work takes a surreal stance to examine humanity in explicit detail. She uses installation, sound, video and performance to make carefully layered work that is fat with connections.

me through choppy waters and

Jo Hellier, 97 Years, SPILL Festival of Performance 2013,

avoid countless pitfalls.”

produced by Pacitti Company. [Photo: Pari Naderi]

Saikat Ahamed Saikat is a writer, actor and professional storyteller, weaving his traditional tales in schools, restaurants, libraries and festivals. New plays: The Tiger and The Moustache for theatre and Telling Tale for BBC radio. [Photo: Paul Blakemore]

“Theatre Bristol gives us the space in which to stretch our ambition. Working with the Theatre Bristol team is always collaborative, always supportive and always nudges us that little bit further down interesting and imaginative paths. The focus is on the people, the emphasis is on making the very best of any event, experience or interaction.” Rachel McNally Executive Producer, Puppet Place


B e P e r s o n a l . It t a k e s time but it makes for the best relationships

Theatre Bristol has no curatorial agenda. We just want the most exciting work to get to audiences. We’ll try and match the best people with the right projects. And we’ll knock on any door we can to help that happen. We support around 150 artists and producers each year through a mix of one-to-one bespoke support, feedback and showcasing opportunities. Bristol Festival of Puppetry (Aug/Sep 2013) presents Vindstille by The Lunatics (based in the Netherlands) The Festival is presented biennially by Puppet Place, with the Tobacco Factory Theatre.


B e c o m m i tt e d t o t h e lo n g -t e r m – on behalf of ourselves and those we work with

“Theatre Bristol’s support has been integral in launching our theatre company Gallivant. Gallivant

Artist development is about playing the long game. It

makes new work; total theatre that is fabulist in

is not a finite thing. It’s a story rather than a formula.

tradition. Simon Day’s advice and insight has been

We think success is when artists, companies and organisations (big and small) think that one of us or all

invaluable in planning not only for immediate projects but ensuring that the company has longevity.”

of us are part of their team. Lee Lyford Joint Artistic Director (with Hattie Naylor) of Gallivant Theatre Company [Photo: Paul Blakemore]

“Theatre Bristol has been a steady, supporting force for us since we first arrived in Bristol in 2010. Over the years, we have got to know

“In Between Time is an independent producing organisation, creating extraordinary events and an International Festival of Performance.

the team better and feel they have an

Theatre Bristol is our local beacon, rooting our

understanding of our work, having seen us

work in the city by championing us, supporting

grow and become more established at what we do. It is a real comfort to know that you have people like the Theatre Bristol team to advocate

our Associate Artists, and helping us put local talent on the same stage as iconoclastic international artists.”

for your work and to give feedback that you really trust.” Lucy Heywood Joint Artistic Director of Stand + Stare Collective

Anna Rutherford Executive Producer, In Between Time

“You’re like a piece of software that everyone uses now.” Timothy X Atack Writer and composer, Co-Artistic Director of Sleepdogs

A Fake Moon Rises in the Bristol Sky – Part of IBT13 International Festival of Performance (In Between Time, Artist Simon Faithfull) [Photo: Paul Blakemore]

“Theatre Bristol have been right by our side since 2007, when we began to transform Mayfest into a city-wide festival. They’ve given practical, hands-on support when we’ve needed it most, cheered us on from the sidelines, been a shoulder to cry on and most importantly collaborated with us on offering an annual commission to South West artists since 2011. It’s a partnership that is hugely valuable to us and which continues to grow and develop year on year. Mayfest wouldn’t be where it is today without the tireless support of the Theatre Bristol team.” Matthew Austin Co-Artistic Director of Mayfest

Mayfest is Bristol’s festival of contemporary theatre, featuring a mix of local, national and international performance. Mayfest’s Artistic Directors are Kate Yedigaroff and Matthew Austin of MAYK, the producing organisation established in 2011. / [Photo: Paul Blakemore - Not Until We Are Lost by Ockham’s Razor at Circomedia, Mayfest 2013.]

“Drastic Productions uses live art and performance to create new work with people who do not usually access the arts. We commissioned Theatre Bristol’s Company Producer to work with a group of women on a major new project fusing performance and the graphic novel to promote positive images and insight into women’s real life struggles and achievements.” Liz Clarke Drastic Productions [Photo: Carl Newland]


HOLD Sp a c e f o r U n c e r t a i n ty and

Imagining Alternative Possibilities

We don’t believe we have all the answers. We don’t follow predetermined ladders of development when we work with artists and producers. And we want to be surprised. If we spot a gap where something should be happening, we’ll take the lead in finding ways to address that gap.

We host a Producer for Dance who leads on building the infrastructure for dance development in the city. We curate events for artists to try out new ideas with audiences, including Prototype (in collaboration with Tobacco Factory Theatre) and Testing Ground (in collaboration with Circomedia). “Our partnership with Theatre Bristol has enabled Circomedia to include lively and diverse professional and emerging dance in our venue’s performance programme. With their support, young people in our local partner schools have also accessed quality dance movement education as well as being inspired by shows. Theatre Bristol plays a vital role advocating for dance in the city and supporting the development of Impermanence Dance Theatre (based in Devon) experimenting with new work at Testing Ground.

new and exciting work.” Jude Hutchen Circomedia Centre for Contemporary Circus

The Eye of the Hare by Stand + Stare Collective, being tested in front of an

and Physical Theatre

audience at Prototype and now being developed into a full show to open at

[Photo: Benjamin Borley]

The Brewery Theatre (Tobacco Factory) in Nov 2013 and then tour.

In 2013 we launched a Writer In Residence programme to cultivate the critical discourse around theatre in the city. We are piloting a model of producing artists (rather than projects) through a new Company Producer role; testing if and how we can do this sustainably and sharing that learning as we go.

“With Theatre Bristol’s help, I fundraised for my role as Producer for Dance. I am a freelance Producer, Theatre Bristol is my host and we work in partnership. I appreciate the skills, knowledge, resources and structure that they provide and most importantly, their commitment to dance and its sustainability and longevity in Bristol.”

“Working with Mel (Scaffold, Company Producer) has literally been the thing

Emma-Jane Benning

that’s kept us going. After working independently for 7 years we needed some

Producer for Dance

additional support and infrastructure, but that was a big leap to take. Theatre Bristol helped us to dream up a model that could work for us and them, and that supports us in a way that is totally­bespoke. There was really no other way for us to work with a producer on an ongoing basis, and no other organisation that could respond so directly to our particular needs.” Gemma Paintin Co-Artistic Director of Action Hero Hoke’s Bluff by Action Hero [Photo: James Stenhouse]

“One of the things that Theatre Bristol has done superbly is to create a space for real conversations and facilitated a debate that has allowed people to dream about what kind of theatre culture they would like to see here in Bristol and how it can be enabled. “ Lyn Gardner of The Guardian

We host regular Open Space meetings called To You To Me where anyone can raise issues they care about, ask questions they don’t know the answers to, find collaborators, and share needs, solutions, ideas.


Be honest about s u bj e ct i v i ty : s u bj e ct i v i ty i s v a l u a b l e because it leads you to what you care most about

When we commission new shows, we send out an open call inviting applications. Sometimes we also produce work that has not come through an application process. Sometimes a project that doesn’t fit anywhere else is the one we’re most excited by – and where that’s the case, we’ll back it in the best way we can.

“I invited Theatre Bristol to see a show I had made in Poland with retired dance artists with a view to making a show for Bristol with circus artists over the age of 60. I was lucky because they loved the idea and they thought that they were best Art is subjective. We make sure our producers are well-informed and have diverse tastes and industry experience.

placed to help make it happen. They became the lead producer and Once Upon A Time will debut in 2014.” Aga Blonska Director, performer and creator of Once Upon A Time [Photo: Steve Tanner]

“I saw a short work in progress of a piece called In A Town and was convinced that Jennifer Bell’s vision and talent were worth getting behind. My colleagues encouraged me to follow that instinct, and so we set out to discover how we might best help. We are very proud at Theatre Bristol to have helped Jen develop her practice and to have produced a project and performance called Temple Songs with Jen and her ensemble The Beautiful Machine.” Simon Day Artist Support Producer

Temple Songs by Jennifer Bell & The Beautiful Machine. Produced by Theatre Bristol. Presented in Mayfest in 2013. Commissioned by Temple Quarter in association with Watershed, Knowle West Media Centre and MAYK, with the support of Bristol City Council and Arts Council England.

“As an Associate Producer at Theatre Bristol I had a base and access to knowledge about the local and regional arts world. They were generous with their time, offered advice, 7

c u l t i va t e a d i v e r s e p o o l of decision makers so that

there is more than one s u bj e ct i v i ty a t p l a y

acted as sounding-boards, and gave useful contacts and suggestions as to who was the right person or organisation to talk to. Working at Theatre Bristol was a door opener, and was somewhere I could develop my relationships with artists including Lisa May Thomas, Liz Clarke and Mehmet Sander. I am now working as Senior Producer at MAYK.�

We invite freelance producers to work alongside us at Theatre Bristol so that we can all share knowledge and skills and collectively seek out a diverse range of great art.

Ruth Holdsworth Theatre Bristol Associate Producer (2012-13) There is a shipwreck in my bones by Lisa May Thomas (producer Ruth Holdsworth), commissioned by Chisenhale Dance and the Homemade Round 3. [Photo: Bob Karper]

Karla Shacklock Company is one of the “I arrived at Circomedia in 2011 to learn how to create work which integrates physical theatre, circus and narrative. I got in touch with Katie Keeler after she visited Circomedia to talk about producing, and was subsequently offered a placement at Theatre

companies we are able to offer support

“Working with Theatre Bristol has meant supportive

to by hosting the company’s part-time

ears, critically engaged debate, a sample of other

Producer, Katie Dunn.

people’s working structures and conversations around

the creative fabric of Bristol and the wider UK theatre

[Photo: Irven Lewis]

scene. More than anything, it has opened doors for me,

Bristol working on the PASS Cross Channel Circus

most importantly in my own ways of thinking about my

project (an Anglo-French project to develop circus

practice as a producer.”

arts). As well as project management for PASS, I've visited France to meet Theatre Bristol’s partners and see French work, and organised an event in Bristol with outdoor artists from all over Europe. It’s been stimulating, crazy, overwhelming and inspiring, and I've loved every single minute.” Catherine Boot Producer on industry placement (Circus & Outdoor Arts)

Luke Emery Freelance producer, curator and Theatre Bristol Associate Producer 2013 “Theatre Bristol helps me with my professional development as a producer and they openly invite me and the projects that I work on into their network, which as a freelancer is an invaluable offer, and is a way of connecting up the dots as well as staying connected.”

Following the placement, Catherine is now working as an Associate Producer supporting Theatre Bristol with the PASS project and working on her own projects as producer and director.

Sarah Warden Sarah is a freelance producer and Project Manager for Residence

We first met Ed Patrick when he came to a To You To Me event interested in making music for theatre. He then applied to a Theatre Bristol and Tobacco Factory Theatre commissioning initiative 8

Good Ideas Come From U n e xp e ct e d P l a c e s

We are open to anyone and everyone interested in live performance. For example, if a pop musician who’s never made a theatre piece before proposes an idea for a show for 3 – 8 year olds based around a gorilla, a bear, a hedgehog and a badger, it might just turn into a massively successful touring production.

called SITE and Theatre Bristol worked with him to tour his show across the UK (supported by Arts Council England) in 2012.

“…Funny, I was just last night thinking about the massive debt of gratitude that I feel towards Theatre Bristol. Without Theatre Bristol’s involvement and encouragement I wouldn’t be making theatre or money.” Ed Patrick (Kid Carpet) Kid Carpet & The Noisy Animals by Kid Carpet. Commissioned by Theatre Bristol and the Tobacco Factory Theatre through the SITE initiative. [Photo: Chris Collier]


We’re a small team but we get out and about as much as we can. We value ideas shared by colleagues nationally and internationally and in turn share what we learn with people in Bristol. We are members of several national and international networks, we are part of the British Council’s new UK-Korea Arts Exchange Programme and we are working on two European funded projects sharing knowledge and skills with France, Netherlands and Ireland. We invite inspiring people into the city and we support others that do so too.

Be Alive to Inspiration “The Open Out Arts Project [European exchange Our work is about making brilliant, affecting art and so it’s important that we are out there seeing provocative and inspiring work, which can act as benchmarks and reference points for the advice and support we give.

project on which Theatre Bristol is a partner] allowed us to develop new skills and our working practice, whilst being inspired and provoked by the many different artists we worked with in France and Ireland.” Jack Stoddart Artistic Director Ramshacklicious Theatre Company

Save Me by Search Party was commissioned by Theatre Bristol and Mayfest. Search Party were one of 26 artists that went to France, Ireland or the Netherlands as part of Open Out Arts.

There is a full directory of artists and companies working in Bristol on as we invite people to use this site to profile their work. To select just four to celebrate right now was difficult. 10

T h e A r t i s t s Ow n the Work

Sylvia Rimat creates Live work for theatres, galleries and public space. Her performances have been presented widely in the UK and in Europe. Her projects often revolve around the places and times we inhabit mentally, physically and in our imagination.

Our job is to celebrate the distinctive artistic visions of a wide range of artists and companies. We don’t want to take a paternal role with the people we support. It’s about partnership; we learn from each other.

Recently she has become fascinated by the possibilities of making performance alongside specialists in diverse fields such as neuroscience, experimental psychology, mathematics, psychotherapy and astrology. If You Decide to Stay was commissioned and produced by In Between Time for IBT13. Developed at The Basement and at Residence, supported by Arts Council England, Bristol Old Vic Ferment and ICIA Bath. Sylvia’s I Guess if the Stage Exploded is in the

If You Decide to Stay by Sylvia Rimat [Photo: Carl Newland]

British Council Showcase at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2013.

Gary Beadle plays Titus in Banksy: The Room in the Elephant created by new company The Sum, written by Tom Wainwright and directed by Emma Callander. It is the true(ish) story of how a Banksy artwork made a man homeless in Los Angeles. Co-commissioned by A Play, A Pie and a Pint and Tobacco Factory Theatre. At the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2013 [Photo: Paul Blakemore} Idiot Child makes playful and peculiar, darkly comic tales that emerge from the facts, oddities and objects of the company’s own lives and which keep the audience firmly at their heart. I Could’ve Been Better has been produced in association with

Dan Canham’s company is called Still House. His first piece, 30 Cecil Street toured extensively throughout

Bristol Old Vic Ferment. 2012 tour supported by Arts

the UK and internationally. His latest work, Ours Was the Fen Country, is dance-theatre built from

Council England. At Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2013.

interviews collected with rare and uncommon characters of the fens of East Anglia. It is produced by MAYK

‘Wonderfully unique and beautifully heartbreaking’ -

and was commissioned by Bristol Old Vic Ferment, New Wolsey Theatre and DanceXchange with support

Total Theatre.

from Arts Council England. It is at the 2013 Edinburgh Fringe Festival as part of Escalator East to Edinburgh [Photo: Crush Images]

with support from Bristol Old Vic Ferment and at the National Theatre Shed in Sep 2013. [Photo: Camilla Greenwell]

J OIN IN Please talk to us if you think we can help you or if you think you can help us make Bristol THE place in the UK to experience world-class art.

Theatre Bristol The Fire Station 82-84 York Road Bristol, UK BS3 4AL

Executive Producers

Company Producer

Tanuja Amarasuriya

Mel Scaffold

Katie Keeler

Tel: 0117 373 0873

Producer for Dance Emma-Jane Benning

General Manager

Sarah Kingswell

Twitter: @theatrebristol

Associate Producer (rolling 6-month hot-desk post)

Artist Support Producer

Simon Day

Design by Venn Creative

Theatre Bristol is a not-for-profit company. If you would like to support us or any of the artists we work with, please contact Sarah Kingswell:

C o m e a n d P l aY be interesting be interested be open be angry be playful be hopeful be generous be modern be better be alive be curious

Theatre Bristol