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New cohort of artists to join The Lowry's Artist Development Programme.

The Lowry today announces a new cohort of artists who will be supported by its prestigious Artist Development Programme over 2020.

Joining as part of the Developed With programme are musical theatre company Colla Voce Theatre, TV and theatre actor and disabled artists advocate  Melissa Johns and director Lily Levin, provocative theatre makers Fio, circus artist Fran Hyde and interactive theatre company TOOT who flip modern fears & anxieties into joyful collective experience.

Over the course of a year long relationship each artist or company will be given bespoke mentorship and support in order to develop and present brand new work and take a step forward in their practice.

Claire Symonds, Senior Producer: Artist Development, said
“The Lowry’s ‘Developed With’ programme take a bespoke approach to each artist or company. We support them to make work here and now, and at the same time we help them explore the things that will shape their practice over the next five or ten years.”

“We are particularly excited to be working with these new artists and companies as they are all making work that speaks to the issues in today’s society. From reclaiming the right to take joy in our bodies to the lessons of the Somali genocide, from the seductive dangers of group think to how inanimate objects and technology might replace human connection, these projects will give audiences plenty to think about.”

In addition to the ongoing Artist Development Programme The Lowry and Sustained Theatre Up North (STUN) have partnered on a commission for North West based BAME-led artists or companies making performance work.

This commission develops local Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic artistic talent, offering underrepresented voices a new opportunity to be supported by both organisations as they create a brand new production to premiere in The Lowry’s Aldridge Studio.

The STUN X Lowry Commission has been awarded to New Slang Productions, a theatre company led by Black British director Tian Glasgow, who has previously created work through programmes at The Barbican and The Young Vic. The new production, ‘Tomorrow Is Not Promised’, tells the story of a woman waking to find her house has been flattened in an earthquake as a starting point for how Black women support each other through loss.

The Lowry Artist Development Programme is supported by Arts Council England, the Eranda Rothschild Foundation and The Garrick Club Charitable Trust.

More information on the ‘Developed With Artists’ and their projects

COLLA VOCE THEATRE: YOU AND I, performing at The Lowry in May 2020
Colla Voce Theatre is a Sheffield-based company that creates and produces new musicals, often with a focus on comedy. Their debut show, Buried, opened at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2017, since winning the Cameron Mackintosh Award, and touring as far as the Czech Republic and New York. Previous other shows include stand up comedy Table For One, and the Christmas musical with a twist The AlterNativity. Through ‘Developed With The Lowry’ they are currently developing You And I, their brand new musical about artificial intelligence and what it really means to be human. You and I will show at The Lowry in May 2020 before transferring to The Other Palace in London’s West End in June 2020.

MELISSA JOHNS AND LILY LEVIN: SNATCH(ED), premiering at The Lowry in October 2020
Melissa Johns is a TV and theatre actor and disabled artists advocate and Lily Levin is a theatre and film director. In 2019, Melissa Johns was shortlisted for the Positive Role Model award at the National Diversity Awards. In 2018, she was listed as one of Shaw Trusts 100 Most Influential Disabled People in the UK. And in 2017, while working on Coronation Street, explicit photos of her were hacked from her phone and sold to the tabloids for everyone to see. Funny, frank and brutally honest, Snatch(ed) is an autobiographical show looking at how the stories people tell us about our bodies shape who we are. Snatch(ed) is Melissa’s first solo show, co-devised with long term collaborator and director Lily Levin and supported by Live Theatre in Newcastle. Through Developed With The Lowry, Melissa and Lily will explore new creative and directorial approaches to making work with both disabled and non-disabled collaborators and develop relationships around the country to support the show’s further life after its premiere at The Lowry in October 2020.

FRAN HYDE: TANK AND ME, premiering at The Lowry in October 2020
Fran Hyde is a circus maker specialising in hair suspension and pulley work. She is currently taking part in a new-magic formation at France’s national circus centre CNAC, and doing a masters in Circus Practices at DOCH circus school in Stockholm. Fran works closely with her artistic collaborator, Tank – a 20 litre plastic Jerrycan. Tank is a big thinker and has encouraged Fran reflect on her own identity and the role she plays in society. They recently wrote a chapter together in a book entitled ‘Thinking Through Circus’ that was published earlier this year. For Developed With, The Lowry will continue to support Fran as she moves towards the premiere of Tank and Me at The Lowry in October 2020. This will be one of the very few midscale pieces of female solo British circus available on the touring circuit in 2020/21, and will give British audiences and circus professionals an opportunity to experience new European magic techniques.

TOOT THEATRE: TELETHON, premiering at The Lowry in Spring 2021
TOOT have been making work together since 2012. They write, design and perform live theatre, flipping modern fears and anxieties into joyful collective experience. In 2020/21 they will be making their fourth theatre piece, TELETHON. Inspired by contemporary moral psychology, TELETHON begins as a live studio broadcast that explores groupishness and how we (the audience) moralise, take sides and accept or reject public altruism. The show takes a jagged turn after a live broadcast disaster – the audience find themselves in a silent world where everything has been burned to the ground and we must start again. For Developed With, The Lowry will support the company through a period of organisational development leading up to the premiere of TELETHON at The Lowry in Spring 2021.

FIO: AMMA (working title), in development throughout 2020
Fio makes fearless theatre. Fio in Latin means to belong, to create, to grow. They work across the UK and internationally to make interesting, political and provocative work that brings about change to deliver social justice. Fio is committed to changing lives by providing underrepresented people with a means to tell their story. Our ambition is to turn these marginalised voices into projects and performances that resonate with audiences. Through Developed With, they will explore how they fit into the creative ecology of the North West, as well as develop a number of projects including (title tbc), a virtual reality performance experience marking the fiftieth anniversary of the Bangladesh War of Independence.

NEW SLANG PRODUCTIONS: TOMORROW IS NOT PROMISED, premiering at The Lowry in Spring 2021
New Slang Productions is a Black British theatre company led by writer and director Tian Glasgow. We are co-commissioning him with STUN, a BAME-focussed making space and studio theatre in Manchester, to create a new show called Tomorrow Is Not Promised that looks at how Black women support each other through the experience of loss. Performed as a monologue with an onstage musician, the show will premiere with us at The Lowry in January 2021.

For more information on The Lowry’s Artist Development Programme, including case studies, download the artist development guide here.

High resolution images can be found here.