An Update on Raising Our Voices

Hellooooo!

Just coming up for air.  It has been the most epic five months ever in the history of the LGBTQ Arts Review, but we are on the other side, and it’s at this point I need to say a massive thank you to a few people, and share what’s been done over the past few months through the Raising Our Voices scheme.

In August we found out we’d successfully received Arts Council funding to officially launch and run the Raising Our Voices scheme; a scheme dedicated to supporting and platforming lesbian, bisexual, trans, non-binary and intersectional LGBT+ voices (i.e., those voices lesser heard on our stages).

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Through receiving the funding we have been able to:

  • Support 22 writers and artists through workshops covering script writing, finding inspiration and filling out an Arts Council Application
  • Run two new writing nights at The Arcola, featuring work from 8 writers, to support and nurture the development of their work
  • Support 2 writers outside of London to travel in from Manchester and Birmingham to attend workshops.
  • Schedule three nights of performance about gender at The Camden People’s Theatre, kickstarting 8 new projects by LGBT+ writers and artists.
  • Offer mentorship to 8 writers and artists by pairing them with a professional working in the industry to support the development of their work. (Huge thanks to our incredible mentors: Angela Clerkin, Shelley Silas, Paula Varjack and Emma Frankland.)

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It’s also lovely to have seen work progress through the scheme, a few things worth mentioning:

  • Jennifer Lunn’s piece ‘Es and Flo’ which performed at one of our Arcola new writing nights was shortlisted for the Verity Bargate award at The Soho Theatre.
  • Jenifer Toksvig’s piece ‘Q13: What is the Substance of Bisexuality?’ which performed a 15 minute extract at The Camden People’s Theatre, is now being developed in to a full piece and will perform at Omnibus Theatre’s 96 Fest in February.
  • Katy Knight brought her monologue ‘Swinging Between Branches’, exploring asexuality, along to one of our new writing nights at The Arcola Theatre. Following a discussion with playwright Lizzie Milton, she was connected to the podcast Story Etc. who recorded her monologue for their ‘Sex’ episode.  You can listen to it HERE. (Monologue is at 01h01m).
  • Following a workshop at the Soho Theatre with Jules Haworth, Jezza Donovan and Jess Brodie went on to successfully receive places on their New Writing Labs.
  • Amy Paris, Leanne Lashley, Sophie Swithinbank and Hanna Tatshl, all who attended workshops as part of Raising Our Voices, will bring work in development to The Omnibus Theatre in Feb as part of one of our new writing nights.

It’s at this point I have to say a huge thanks to Angela Clerkin, Jules Haworth, Nick Connaughton, Claire Saddleton, James Cross, Mary Price O’Connor, Beth Watson at Bechdel Theatre, Roxy Bourdillon at Diva Mag, Diva Radio, Arts Council England and Gemma Curtis – all who offered ongoing support in a whole load of ways and helped to make this happen. And thanks to everyone who applied and participated!

Raising Our Voices will be taking a brief hiatus, but will re-emerge in mid-Feb 2018, with new ideas, more opportunities and a whole host of awesome events to get our lesser heard LGBT+ Voices to the stage.  Boom.  See you then.

And in the meantime be sure to follow us on Twitter @LGBTQArts for all the latest LGBT+ theatre news.

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