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The Old Rep Announces Associate Artists

The Old Rep Theatre is excited to announce its Associate Artists for 2019-20. 

Left to right: Lucy Hayward, James Blake-Butler, Alexandra Whiteley and Tristan Pate.

Following the introduction of its exciting new Inspire scheme, the theatre was overwhelmed with applications from talented artists across Birmingham and the West Midlands, and has selected four to take part in its year-long artist development program. The Old Rep will support these emerging artists with rehearsal space and a work-in-progress performance, as well as fundraising, marketing and networking support, as part of its commitment to create opportunities for emerging artists. The artists will have a chance to showcase the fantastic work they’ve created across the year at The Old Rep Theatre in early 2020. The scheme is supported by Birmingham Ormiston Academy, who have managed The Old Rep since 2014 as a theatre run by young people for young people.

Birmingham-based playwright and theatre-maker Lucy Hayward centrally focuses on producing theatre which is accessible for blind and visually impaired audiences. Lucy has worked with The Mighty Creatives, facilitating workshops for young people with specific needs and is an associate artist for Spark Arts’ Vital Spark programme working with regional theatres. She looks forward to developing workshops and talks with students at The Old Rep and Birmingham Ormiston Academy regarding accessibility in theatre and to showcase her inclusive work.

James Blake-Butler is an actor-musician and puppeteer from the West Midlands and co-founded the devising puppetry company System of Strings with puppet maker Daniel Cook. Recently James has worked with multiple theatre companies specialising in diversity and inclusion such as his work in Princess Mononoke (Wholehog Theatre) as well as multiple productions at The Lamphouse Theatre, amongst others. He is eager to begin developing new ideas with his emerging company in collaboration with The Old Rep and has thanked the theatre for its support:

“as an artist, having a base where you feel safe and comfortable working feels like an enormous luxury, so having access to the resources The Old Rep has to offer for a whole year is really very valuable”.

Alexandra Whiteley trained at the University of Birmingham and The Shakespeare Institute, as well as on the Regional Theatre Young Directors Scheme: Introduction to Directing Course at The Birmingham REP and is currently undertaking a Birmingham Repertory Theatre and Ramps on the Moon directing residency which involving the development her own work. She has worked as an assistant director with Heartbreak Productions and Foundry Festival, alongside work as a facilitator with Shakespeare Schools Festival.

Royal Birmingham Conservatoire graduate Tristan Pate is an actor, director, writer and musician. In his role as Artistic Director for the Cherwell Theatre Company since 2015, Tristan has devised a variety of plays with and for young people. As a director he has also worked alongside multiple theatres including The Creation Theatre and David Adkin LTD. In 2017 his social media play The Web, directed by Anna Tolputt, toured secondary schools. During his year as an Associate Artist Tristan will develop a new play for young people Super Group, a live music piece exploring the tension between friendship and artistic integrity through the eyes of teenage musicians. Tristan is also a trustee of Sophie's Silver Lining Fund, a charity enabling young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to train in music and drama.

The Old Rep looks forward to welcoming their new group of associate artists and Learning & Participation Officer Sam George is keen to work with a new generation of theatre-makers:

“Opportunities for young artists are limited, especially those who want to make work with or for young people. We are thrilled to have four exceptionally talented emerging artists on our scheme, and I can’t wait to see the amazing work they produce. Theatre for young people is valuable and important, and we know our artists will demonstrate just how brilliant it can be.”