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photo credit: picturesbybish

    what dya need books for, ur homeless.
    a “support-worker” once asked us this.
    this show is our reply.

Back in 2019, we invited gobscure to be one of the participants on the BOOST mentoring scheme. We were aware of gobscure as a writer, sean burn, having heard great things about their play joey, produced by greyscale earlier that year. 

They had approached us with their project provoked 2 madness by the brutality ov wealth, an autobiographical show about their experiences of homelessness, and an incisive take-down of various aspects of UK government and local council policy.

Over the course of a week we were able to shape about three quarters of the show, and share it with an invited audience. After that showing I think we were all sure that the project had legs. So we were delighted when gobscure was awarded funding by Arts Council England to finish making and then tour the show, and invited us to mentor the completion of it. Of course, everyone’s plans had to be rethought in the year that followed, but we were still able to open the show in a socially distanced set up at Slung Low’s brilliantly welcoming venue The Holbeck in autumn 2020.

We talked about documenting the whole show on video, but there are sections that really only work in the room live. Third Angel had recently really enjoyed working with Brett Chapman on thirteen short films for The Distraction Agents, and so we asked him if he was interested in collaborating with gobscure on making some short chapters from the show as stand-alone films.

The result is four ‘filmed-jewels’ from the show, created by gobscure, Brett Chapman, Lara Kardas, Alexander Kelly and Lindsay Nicholson at The Holbeck in autumn 2022, with the support of Third Angel and Slung Low. We launched the films online earlier this month and are proud to be able to share them here. We hope you enjoy them.

1. kicking the bucket


2. red tape saves lives


3. magic money trees


4. housing contains the word sing


 

Tuesday, 6 August 2019

BOOST 2019 ARTISTS & COMPANIES

We are delighted to be able to announce the artists and companies we will be mentoring through this year’s BOOST Your Artistic Practice scheme, in collaboration with Sheffield Theatres.

As ever, it was incredibly difficult to choose which artists and projects to select, and we could have happily supported far more than the four we have chosen. Thank you to everyone who applied - it is inspiring to hear about so many exciting projects in development.

We’re really excited to start working with this year’s Mentees:

gobscure

gobscure’s squarepegs into roundholes. © 2018 chris bishop

we will work with gobscure to develop their new show provoked to madness by the brutality of wealth weaving live-art and text-art into playful creative resistances that are urgent, but will also hope to offer a hard-won hopefulness, too.


Emergency Chorus

Emergency Chorus. Photo: The Other Richard.

We will support Emergency Chorus to play, experiment and generate material towards their new show, Something in Your Voice, working with an expanded group of deviser performers.


The Six Twenty

The Six Twenty: BUSY

The endless hurrying between meetings. Racing for trains. Not enough time for lunch. And somehow getting the kids out the door with only seconds to spare… The Six Twenty will spend a week with us exploring why we are all so BUSY for their new immersive and interactive show.


Tommi Bryson

Tommi Bryson performing at Queer Scratch Night at The Cellar Theatre (photo courtesy of The Cellar theatre)

We will work with performer and composer Tommi Bryson to develop a full length version of her solo, Disney-inspired musical, A Princess Could Work.

Big thanks to Sheffield Theatres for supporting the scheme and to Umar Butt and Ruby Clarke for their help with the very difficult task of selecting these exciting artists and companies. We’ll be working with them in the Crucible and Lyceum Theatre Rehearsal Rooms between September 2019 and February 2020. We’re really looking forward to getting started.

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

BOOST: Our new mentoring scheme

We’ve just launched BOOST, our funded mentoring scheme for 2019, offering time, space, money and expertise for artists and companies making contemporary theatre and live art. There are two main strands: Artistic Practice and Producing Your Own Work.

Some of you might have applied to TAMS (Third Angel’s Mentoring Scheme) in previous years; BOOST is replacing this and one major difference this year is that there are two separate application forms for the Artistic Practice and Producing. You can apply for both, but to make the schemes as bespoke as possible we need to ask you different questions for each.

For BOOST Your Artistic Practice we are looking for four artists or companies who devise their own work and create theatre or live art. We can support you through three days of Rachael or Alex’s time as a mentor, be that as an outside eye, dramaturg or co-deviser, a week’s rehearsal space with our partners Sheffield Theatres in either the Lyceum Theatre or the Crucible rehearsal rooms, and a fee. 

Yolanda Mercy, 2017 Mentee

Yolanda Mercy, 2016 Mentee

We want to support artists to make the work they want to make, and we want to work with them to find the best way of doing this on an individual basis. However, we’ve also been doing this a while now, so we also want to support projects that can make use of our experience and expertise. So, over the last few years, this is what we’ve learned about applying to the scheme:

  • Apply with the show or project you really want to make next - don’t try to come up with something to ‘fit’ the scheme.
  • We are looking for projects that are created primarily through devising. That isn’t to say the shows can’t have text or can’t be written.
  • We’re looking for projects that are ready to use a rehearsal room, to try out writing with performers, to start to improvise text, or to start to find the physical score of the work or the frame of the show.
  • We’re interested in supporting projects at any stage of their development, except the very start. If you still need to go and do the research (interview members of the community, meet a scientist, spend a week in the library/on the internet), then you’re not quite ready to apply this year.
  • We are looking for work that we feel we can contribute to in some way and be useful; work where a meaningful dialogue can take place between us and the mentee.
  • We’re interested in fiction, autobiography, documentary, verbatim, task-based, visually-led performance and live art. We run devising processes that utilise rule-based exercises to enable performers to create material for shows so they have ownership of, and investment in, that material in performance. Processes that involve devising, task-based improvisation, discussion, writing, making more material than will be used in the final show and editing. We would like to share this approach with you, but also remix and refine it so that it works for your project.
  • We can’t provide extra performers or actors, although we can sometimes help you find workshop participants if that would be useful.
  • If you would like to share some of your work at the end of the week we can facilitate that, but it is not a requirement of the scheme.

To apply for BOOST Your Artistic Practice, click here for the application pack

Callum Berridge, 2018 mentee

BOOST Your Producing is a free two-day workshop providing production and career-focused information and support, including company structures, financial management and budgeting, funding, working with venues, professional development opportunities. It aims to support artists and companies who find themselves needing, or desiring, to produce their own shows, projects, tours. This is where our expertise and experience lies – all of our work is produced in-house. We have an Executive Producer, Hilary Foster, who leads on this, and all members of the team are involved in producing projects to a greater or lesser extent. So these two days are aimed at artists/companies in a similar position, rather than freelance producers who want to work with multiple artists (though they might find them interesting and useful). BOOST Your Producing is designed primarily, but not exclusively, at those at the beginning of their theatre making professional lives.

If you’d like to BOOST Your Producing, here’s the application form.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

MENTORING NEWS

We are delighted to be able to announce the artists we will be working with through the Third Angel Mentoring Scheme, in collaboration with our good friends at Sheffield Theatres, who support the scheme with rehearsal space in the Lyceum and Crucible Theatres. 

The scheme was busy this year. With 36 hours to go until the deadline, we’d had seventeen applications. That almost quadrupled over that last day and a half, to 71 applications in total – more than any of the previous years. Shortlisting was really difficult, with so many interesting, exciting projects that would clearly benefit from the time, money and mentoring support. There were more projects this year where we could see how we could be of use to the projects, where we were (and are) excited about being in the room with the artists.

We made a longlist of half the projects, then the panel met (this year we were joined by Umar Butt, who has worked with us recently on The Department of Distractions and The Journeys, and is doing great work at ARC in Stockton) and got that down to a shortlist of about twenty. And any of those twenty we would have happily mentored, and we are going to try to support some of them in other ways if we can. From that great range of proposals, we looked for the projects that looked like they would travel the furthest in the week with us in Sheffield, those for whom the scheme would have the biggest impact, as well as those that might push us as mentors a little bit too.

However, all of that said, we are very excited to announce the artists we will be working with on TAMS at Sheffield Theatres this year. In the order we will be working with them:

PAPER SMOKERS: MILES APART TOGETHER

Paper Smokers’ Diary of An Expat

Paper Smokers have just had a successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe with their show, Diary of an Expat. We will be working with Katharina Reinthaller, Cecilia Gragnani and Emma Dennis-Edwards on the development of Miles Apart Together, telling the story of three female explorers, Annie “Londonderry” Kopchovsky, Bessie Coleman and Junko Tabei. Between them these women travelled around the world by bicycle, performed spectacular airshows and climbed the highest mountains on earth, fighting prejudice and scepticism as they went. 


MARY-FRANCES DOHERTY: SOPHIE’S SALE

Mary-Frances Doherty’s Certain Things. Photo: KK Dundas

Mary-Frances Doherty will develop Sophie’s Sale (working title) - a show for 12-16year olds about teenage suicide. Recently Mary-Frances has been touring her successful solo show, Katie’s Birthday Party to a number of prestigious international children’s festivals including On The Edge: The World Festival of Theatre for Young Audiences & ASSITEJ Artistic Gathering in Birmingham 2016.


CALLUM BERRIDGE: COMING UP FOR AIR

Callum Berridge’s Orwell’s Voice. Photo: Hannah Anketell.

Callum Berridge will develop Coming Up For Air, a show exploring memory and identity, and how these things are eroded by illness and by politics. It is a show about the coal mining industry in the north of England, the politics of the 1980s and the physiological and psychological effects of Alzheimer’s Disease on the brain. 


VANDAL FACTORY & FLORA GREYSTEEL: ENGLISH DIRT

Vandal Factory’s Whatever Happened to Vandal Raptor?

Early in 2019 we will work with Natalie Quatermass and Henry Raby of Vandal Factory and Emily Rowan and Simon Bolley of Flora Greysteel to develop, English Dirt, a new show exploring themes of historic nationhood and land-ownership and connecting them to contemporary struggles around border controls, fracking legislation and the housing crisis. The group will research traditional English folk songs, historical protest songs and songs connected to nation and use them a vehicle to tell their chosen stories. 

We are really looking forward to working with all of them, and will keep you posted on how their projects

This also seemed like a good time to check in with our 2017/18 mentees, and ask them how they’re doing… we asked them all for a quick update, and this is what they said:

Natalie Wong: An Odyssey

The Orang Collectif’s CIRCE. Photo: Wang Yue

“Since working with Alex during the Third Angel Mentorship Scheme, I’ve gathered much knowledge to not just develop my proposed work but to also create opportunities for it. I have co-created The Orang Collectif, a cross-disciplinary and multicultural collective. And with the collective, I have devised and directed the next vignette of AN ODYSSEY: CIRCE at the Omnibus Theatre, a live movement and music performance with 6 performers. The next vignette that I will be devising is Calypso which will be presented at a live art evening, Sane Asylum co-hosted by The Orang Collectif in London.”


Jake Bowen: Plea Bargain

Jake Bowen. Photo: Zain Zia

“Currently I am working behind the scenes – quietly! - on my new show called Death Squad which is a more political performance than my normal work. But while also doing this I am working locally with some of the guys from HOME and The Lowry to help build my Arts Council bid to get my tour sorted for Plea Bargain, hopefully for summer 2019! I’ve hit the ground running since the menteeship and I’m so happy to have had the chance to work with my favourite artists in the performance scene and it is genuinely fueling me to make something of myself.


Jess Gibson: Work In Progress

Jess Gibson’s Work In Progress. Photo: @TriumvirateMedia

“When I applied for TAMS in 2017 I had an idea - to make a show about my experience of having Borderline Personality Disorder, Anxiety and Depression. I had been working with other artists within the theatre community in Sheffield to help bring their ideas into actuality, but hadn’t the confidence to pursue my own. TAMS was the perfect push and offered the support I had needed to rediscover my artistic voice. It really gave me a solid platform, validated my work and gave the invaluable space and time to play with ideas.

During my week in the studio, with the ongoing support from my mentor Rachael Walton, I was able to transform a very basic, 20 minute improvised idea into a 45 minute structured, autobiographical and even comical piece of theatre! As part of the one to one mentoring, I was also advised to seek out opportunities to scratch the work to audiences so I could begin to gain feedback for it’s next development stages. From this I attained a slot at Sheffield Theatres’ Making Room Studio Takeover event in January 2018 where I was able to show my work to a live audience. Having this opportunity meant gaining access to contacts such as my current producer (Joseph Willis), enabled me to meet programmers and receive the feedback I really needed to take my work to the next level.

Work In Progress is now an Arts Council Funded show that is booked in for Theatre Deli’s Autumn Programme with it’s premier on 10th October 2018

I am very fortunate to have found such a wonderful team of creatives who believe in the work and who are helping me bring the performance lots of life! Since TAMS, I feel I have gone from an artist who was shying away from pursuing her ideas to a fully realised creative who is on her way to booking a tour. This work may not have been without the support from Third Angel and I can’t recommend the mentoring scheme enough for artists at any stage of their career.”


The Outbound Project: M.E.H.

Chloe Holliday, Gordon Millar, Phoebe Stapleton, Lucy Bishop, Blain Neale and Belisa Branças in M.E.H. Photo: Nick Gilbert, edited by Jordan Turner

“Since working with Third Angel, our project, M.E.H., has progressed through to development stage. We are currently working on a script, have a fantastic cast in place and hoping to stage the first performances in mid-November at New Diorama, London. Following on from the early Research and Development with Third Angel, we have secured further partnerships to make this production possible and hope to tour in Spring/Autumn 2019.”


Holly Gallagher: Tensile Strength

“The mentorship scheme was a great success for me - it gave me the space, time, freedom, and guidance to explore a new piece of work! It was also such a joy to work closely with Alex and to pick up some new approaches to work. Since completing the scheme I have gone on to have a fully-funded rehearsal period with the work wherein I used some of the approaches I was introduced to during my week. And I have also made great new working professional connections thanks to my association with Third Angel and the faith they showed in my practice by picking me for the scheme!

Tensile Strength (or How to Survive at Your Wit’s End) is about to embark on a national tour! It has two Autumn dates before more extensive touring in 2019: Theatre Deli in Sheffield on Tuesday 9 October, and ARC Stockton on Wednesday 7 November.”

We’ve been running Jake Bowen’s Plea Bargain at Theatre Deli in Sheffield today, as part of our mentoring programme, TAMS. Plea Bargain is a 20 minute, one-to-one performance based on Jake’s experience of the criminal justice system. He brought the show to us pretty much fully formed, and artistically we’ve just been helping him out with some dramaturgy and structural and design ideas. The other half of the mentoring is about helping him to tour the work, which could be slightly tricky logistically and financially, being a sited, one-to-one performance in which Jake himself is required to remain stuck in an interview room the whole time. I don’t want to say much more about that part of the piece, because spoilers.

We think the show needs another role – a slightly more performed Front of House role, which I undertook today: greeting people, explaining how the experience works, telling them what their role is, giving them some information to read before they go in to meet Jake himself.

I sit with audience members whilst they go over the information, then I let them into the interview room and set the clock. When the time is up I ask them to come out of Jake’s room and sit at our table again. Then I have to ask them to make a decision.

Jake’s show is deceptively simple, and the dilemma at the heart of it is a genuinely difficult one for many of us – I think - to come down on one side or the other of. Pragmatism versus idealism: a dilemma of our times. Consequently, this is a remarkable moment to get to sit in on. Each participant seems so invested, not just wanting to indicate their decision on the form, but many of them wanting to give detailed reasoning for it – verbally or in writing. Then my job is to give them an envelope with the final information in it. The last pieces of the puzzle.

Actually, that’s a bad metaphor. That makes the piece sound solvable, neat. But it’s not. It’s more like discovering that there are pieces from more than one jigsaw in the box. Depending on your reading of what you have just experienced, depending on what questions you have asked, there’s probably at least one big revelation in these final minutes of the show. 

My intention was to carry out my front of house role in a functional way: explaining rules, reading instructions, handing over papers, folders, envelopes. Setting the timer. Neither friendly nor rude. Efficient. But after this final section it’s just not possible to maintain that mode because people want to talk. Generally, they want to talk to Jake, but they can’t. Normally they would get to talk to other audience members, but it’s a one-to-one, so there aren’t any. So they  talk to someone who knows what they’re just experienced. It has felt such a privilege today to get to sit across from people as they have made their decisions, as they have woven the different aspects of the story together, as they have wanted, nearly all of them, to immediately share what they have been thinking about what they have just experienced.

A lot of my days are planned in advance – probably like yours. I know what to expect of them, know what’s going to happen. Today I knew what the job was going to be – was looking forward to it, in fact. But it still surprised me. It’s a good job, this, a lot of the time. Big thanks to Theatre Deli for hosting us, and to everyone who came in to share and support the work.

**

The Third Angel Mentoring Scheme will run again this year. To be the first to hear about it when it is announced, and get our other news, please sign up to our email list here.

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