14 August 2020 / Grants and Awards

Covid-19 support grants – recipients announced

In July, as a response to the ongoing Coronavirus Pandemic, the Society for Theatre Research launched a Covid-19 Support Grant fund to help theatre practitioners and researchers working in the UK facilitate British and British-related theatre projects. Initially twelve grants of £200 were made available, but thanks to a generous anonymous donor, the Society is now able to award 17 grants.

The Covid-19 Support Grants were established to help facilitate knowledge exchange and creative networking, aid research into adapting / making a piece of theatre accessible, enable research that will contribute towards and inform a production and be used as part-budget for research materials and software licences to enable research and its dissemination.

100 applications were received which made the judging process incredibly difficult. Members of the panel were impressed and moved by the diverse practice represented in the applications, celebrating the UK’s rich performance landscape. Many projects had been forced to adapt, develop and evolve on account of Covid-19, whilst others used adversity to inspire creativity and respond to the current situation in a positive way.

The seventeen recipients of the Covid-19 Support Grants are:

Jeremy Allen – to adapt and develop Shakespeare inspired Analyse Thou for online performance working with Oxfordshire-based organisation Response that helps people with mental health problems to live their life to the full and become more independent.

Julie Rose Bower – to purchase research materials for project This is what a feminist sounds like; performed sound design from Foley to ASMR. These materials will then form part of a feminist sound design library which will be itemised and made publicly available.

Emma Clifton – to research, plan and create a workshop that teaches Costume Designers and Makers the basics of Clo3D digital software technology. The first workshop will be delivered via an online platform and be free to participants.

Tristan Fynn-Aidenu – to deliver one day workshop Black Queer Male Actors’ Playground: a space for Black Queer or SGL Male Actors and Artists to explore using drama as a way to connect. The workshop will encompass physical theatre, improvisation, readings of new material and storytelling techniques and practice.

Nell Hardy – to facilitate one-to-one support sessions for people with learning difficulties using drama and to develop and enable online coaching for projects including LAUNCH, Jacksons Lane’s young theatre company; a safe space in which young people can find and share their creative and social voices.

Alissa Anne Jeun Yi and Clare Taylor – to purchase equipment for COVID-safe research and interviews with under-represented East Asian, Pan-Asian and queer communities for Daddy Issues. The autobiographical performance art show explores how the medium of drag can be used as a safe space and empowering tool for womxn and builds on Alissa’s personal experiences as a mixed-race Chinese womxn.

Nur Khairiyah (Khai) – to develop and deliver RUMAH Fest online. The festival supports the artistic practice and development of Asian artists who are invisible and under-represented. The online festival will focus on first time collaboration of Asian Artists based in London and encompass spoken word, new work, music collaboration, cooking demonstration and ComediAsians, a collective of Asian comedians.

Light Ladd & Emberton – to adapt and develop Disgo Distaw Owain Glyndwr Silent Disco for online performance working with Taking Flight Theatre Co, specialists in accessible and inclusive theatre making, and Stage Text on the technical delivery of Welsh and English captions to make the show fully accessible to d/Deaf people.

Lanre Malaolu – for research and development of new dance-theatre production SAMSKARA, a piece that untangles the questions, challenges and contradictions of what it means to be a black man in 21st century Britain. Through a fusion of physical theatre, hip-hop dance and text, the work follows the journey of four generations of black men and explores how cycles of fatherhood affects masculinity, concepts of vulnerability and the harbouring of emotional pain.

Lisa McKinley – to help facilitate the socially distanced return of Theatre Mix by contributing to a PA system. Theatre Mix is a monthly cross-artform performance night, part scratch night, part open-mic, featuring the work-in-progress of local Birmingham artists where they can network and develop their work.

Magdalena Mosteanu – to develop Easy as Pie into an online installation and resource. The Reading-based project in collaboration with the Museum of English Rural Life uses food and food storytelling as a mediator for cross-cultural contact. Contributions from Algerian, Ukrainian, Romanian and English participants will be shared, as well as a resource outlining the project’s collaborative and interdisciplinary methodology.

Ridiculusmus – to edit, upload and curate a season of full-length videos of Ridiculusmus’s current repertoire, prepare supporting documentation for dissemination, archival and research purposes, and convert recordings into digital formats. In addition, educational content about the Ridiculusmus methodology and a DIY documentary will be uploaded to the Ridiculusmus website.

Fiona Templeton – to research Gaelic songs and women’s poetry in Gaelic for Songs Between Worlds, a collaborative theatre work with Japanese musician/composer Yumiko Tanaka. Songs Between Worlds brings together threads from the cultures of north-eastern Japan and north-western Scotland exploring parallels and focusing on the prevalent stories of journey, distance, disaster and encounters with death.

Stage Management Association – to expand the reach of the Stage Management Association’s Continuing Professional Development training and support for the stage management community online during the extended COVID-19 period, including online open Tea Break meetings and a Buddy Scheme with the aim of supporting mental health and well-being in our community. Online resources will also be improved.

Theatre Directors Scotland – to facilitate a Big Sector Meeting in October 2020, following on from 2019’s which focused on Transparency, Resources, Current Obstacles, and Futureproofing. The meeting will help devise a new action plan to address the gaps in the post-pandemic context and involve directors, funders, and council representatives together with freelance/grassroots theatre directors.

Aylwyn Walsh –  to research the Leeds-based Playback Theatre group working with those affected by mental health and the stigma associated with it. Playback Theatre is an interactive form of theatre created through audience / performer collaboration. Original research will be conducted that speaks to the specific needs for digital platforms for sustaining creative communities which will be of value to arts and health debates, contributing to discussions on aesthetics, participatory practice and wellbeing.

Lilac Yosiphon – for the inclusion of a British Sign Language Translator in a socially-distanced research and development devising /Kummerspeck/, a new work focusing on a bilingual exploration of emotional eating as a response to crisis and loss, in both British Sign Language and English. The work will address the processing of grief and loss post Covid-19, especially within the D/deaf and Disabled communities, and explore the inner conflicts within the same character performed by female Deaf and hearing performers.

Congratulations to all seventeen Covid-19 Support Grant recipients. We look forward to supporting and following your projects’ progression.

Coming soon – more information about each of the recipients, with links and images. Keep us bookmarked!