It’s the start of a new year and hopefully one that will bring us moments of light, despite the uncertainty that we are all experiencing. Today, we celebrate the start of our inaugural School of HighTide workshop programme and its expansion from 20 planned participants to 52, more than doubling the planned number of emerging writers taking part. The programme is made possible through our ongoing support from Arts Council England and the Culture Recovery Fund; the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation and our incredible network of supporters and donors.
Through the submission process we were overwhelmed by the interest and clear need for a programme like this, which responds to the needs and concerns of artists of colour. With the Black Lives Matter movement demanding necessary change across our society, and as the UK enters its third national lockdown and with so much uncertainty about the reopening of theatres still remaining, we hope that increasing this opportunity builds better foundations for the recovery of the theatre new writing community.
Artistic Director Suba Das said – ‘All of us at HighTide have felt both an artistic and moral imperative to provide as much accessible support for freelance artists of colour at this time. Throughout the selection process we were humbled by the talent and passion of almost 100 applicants who wanted to put their trust in us, at a time of so much fear and uncertainty, and we’re so proud that we’re able to widen the programme today. HighTide is committed to sowing the seeds for recovery by supporting our most valuable asset; our artists.’
School of HighTide consists of 12 workshops led by a range of extraordinary session leaders, curated by Associate Artist Chris Sonnex and Projects Producer Holly White. The leaders will deliver seminars on a range of topics, to enable writers to develop their own artistic toolkit. This will allow them to create art with resilience and perspective in this new and uncertain time. We begin today with a session led by Dominic Garfield from HighRise Theatre. Dom will bring a section of their critically acclaimed workshop The Cypher to School of HighTide, taking a deeper look at the links between Hip Hop, Grime, UK Drill and live theatre /events.
Future session leaders include Juliet Gilkes -Romero (Alfred Fagon Award Winner 2020), Rachel Nwokoro (Black British Theatre Awards Disability Champion 2020) and Milli Bhatia (Director of seven methods of killing kylie jenner – Olivier nominated).
Writers taking part have a breadth of experience and artistic backgrounds with writers having worked with organisations such as Talawa, Arcola, New Earth, Theatre 503, Kali, Oxford Playhouse, BBC Radio 4 and more, and geographically cover the majority of England from Cornwall to Yorkshire. The programme is open to writers who identify as Black, Asian, MENA, Latin and/or all Minority Ethnic heritage and the application process saw each writer taking part in a one-to-one chat with one of our HighTide staff, Associates or Artists: Suba Das, Jade Lewis, Yaz Zadeh & Aisha Zia.
We’re pleased that the following writers will be taking part in the School of HighTide programme: