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Forward Theatre: Genesis

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Our brilliant Associate Company, Forward Theatre Project, are touring their new show GENESIS this autumn. Artistic Director, Charlotte Bennett, tells us what it’s all about…

In 2013, I met a brilliant, inspiring woman called Morag Siller.

Morag was an actress, had incurable breast cancer and was the patron of charity Prevent Breast Cancer. She told me about this small but radical organisation; the UK’s only charity to solely focus on breast cancer prevention, which had started with a vision of finding an alternative way to achieve a breast cancer free future – and I was blown away.

Morag wanted to create a play to raise awareness of prevention and asked if I would work with her. We wanted to look at how we could reach not only scientific minds but non-scientific ones by telling the human stories behind the science. And so myself and playwright Frazer Flintham, interviewed patients and scientists to create a new play: GENESIS, which tells a story about genetic testing for breast cancer.

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As part of ‘tooling up’ we spent hours ensuring we understood the science and the terms (the sort of stuff that if you are a non-science bod make you want to bolt). We know how to tell human stories, but understanding the science was the real challenge. It was hard but GLORIOUS. And the support from the brilliant staff at Prevent Breast Cancer empowered us to make a play that is now as scientifically informed as it is theatrically crafted.

Morag passed away in April. She was a woman who campaigned right to the end of her life to bring the science of this charity into the fore of the conversation about a breast cancer free future. And she was also a brilliant actress who recognised the ability of theatre to have conversations with audiences about difficult things like genetic testing by using humour, drama and story. And so we make this one for her.

And now here we are, rehearsing this important piece of theatre in Manchester. We premiere at The Lowry, Salford. We then tour to Soho Theatre, London, then to Cumbria, Preston and Doncaster.

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Booking details are here:

11th – 12th November The Lowry (8pm, 2.30pm and 8pm) Tickets £12 / £10 concessions

15th – 19th November Soho Theatre (7pm, Sat matinee 4pm) Tickets £16 / £14 concessions

22nd November Beggar’s Theatre Cumbria (7.30pm) Tickets £10 / £7 concessions

23rd November  Preston Continental  (8pm) Tickets £8 / £6 concessions

24th November Cast Doncaster (7.45pm) Tickets £10.50 / £9 concessions

GENESIS is supported by funding from Arts Council England, the Teale Charitable Trust, the Richard Carne Trust, Talbot Validus, the Granada Foundation, the Unity Theatre Trust, the Royal Victoria Hall Foundation, Morag Siller, other private donors, and our crowdfund backers.

Job opportunity for a General Manager…

Here’s a message from our Associate Company, Forward  Theatre, who are looking for a new General Manager. . .

In November we were lucky enough to find out that we had been successful with a funding bid to the Paul Hamlyn Foundation for a Shared General Manager with nabokov, Theatre Uncut and Pieces Productions to work across our four companies full-time for the next 2 years. As four emerging companies we identified both a mutual need for a General Manager and a mutual problem in sustaining one when we all only require someone part-time. It is a common challenge emerging companies also find with Producers; holding on to them without being able to offer full time hours or salary means they soon get snapped up for full-time roles.

One of the things I have never liked about theatre is the sense of competition in the industry. Understandably every new theatre company wants to make their individual mark, but there is a lot to be said for collaboration and supporting one another in other ways than just co-productions. Instead of pitting ourselves against one another, why are we not realising that we are stronger together? Of course we are not the first set of theatre companies to do this and we certainly won’t be the last. We were greatly inspired by Lincolnshire One Venues who are 10 arts organisations who achieved collective NPO status from the Arts Council through sharing resources, core staff and space. What is exciting for us about this new partnership is the possibilities it offers for us to expand on working together over the next 2 years. By sharing a core member of staff we hope to identify other ways to share and collaborate on resources and to develop more of a combined business model moving forward. One concern we had was that our new recruit may find it a little lonely in an office with us each coming in and out but them being the only permanent feature. Excitingly, Paines Plough have agreed that our GM can be based at their office alongside their staff. As each company involved in the partnership are Associate Companies of Paines Plough, this allows us to all be more integrated into our mentor company and will allow the GM to be supported by having a friendly team of employees around them.

We are thrilled that Paul Hamlyn Foundation have made the decision to support our new venture. As an Artistic Director of a young theatre company, I have spent the last 4 years managing the company administration, tax, accounts and day to day tasks on top of finding time to do what I really love about having a theatre a company; being an Artistic leader. To know that I can now work alongside a General Manager to lead the company is such an exciting prospect. FTP are having our first programming meeting of the year on Thursday to decide on productions to make in 2013/2014 which don’t have to work around when I am not freelancing or when I have the capacity to produce and manage projects. Hurray!

So how do I apply I hear you cry?! Well we are all uploaded on Arts Jobs Online, Ideas Tap and Arts Council England website or hey why not download from here:

GENERAL MANAGER

£23,000 per annum
Full-time 2-year fixed term contract
Supported by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation

Four of the UK’s most vibrant and dynamic theatre companies have joined forces and are recruiting a shared new post – General Manager.

Forward Theatre Project, nabokov, Pieces Productions and Theatre Uncut are at the forefront of creating new work nationwide and internationally. This pioneering new post is an opportunity for a General Manager to work across all four companies to help us realise our ambitious plans to extend our range of artistic work, collaborations, digital content and audience reach over the next two years.

With a wide range of work presented across diverse platforms, we need a General Manager to ensure that four of Britain’s most exciting emerging companies run like clockwork.

General Manager is a senior position, necessary to ensure the smooth operational management and delivery of the companies’ activities. The General Manager will work closely with the artistic and producing teams from each company.

Forward Theatre Project Artistic Director: Charlotte Bennett nabokov Artistic Director: Joe Murphy Theatre Uncut Artistic Directors: Hannah Price and Emma Callander Pieces Productions Artistic Directors: Clare Lizzimore and David Watson.

The General Manager will work:

–    2 days a week for Forward Theatre Project
–    1.5 days a week for Nabokov Theatre
–    1 day a week for Theatre Uncut
–    0.5 days a week for Pieces Productions

To apply please read the job description and complete the application process, including submitting an equal opportunities form, all of which can be downloaded here:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ylxo41pewzssqsm/xMYZqoHPwi

Closing date: Friday 1st February

Email applications to Charlotte@forwardtheatreproject.co.uk

Interviews will be held on Saturday 16th February.

We look forward to reading your application.

Charlotte Bennett
Artistic Director
Forward Theatre Project