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Watford Palace Theatre Announce Freelancers Season


To create a season that is vibrant and varied, applications are sought from all different disciplines.  

In October Watford Palace Theatre announced they had successfully received support from the Culture Recovery Fund. This will enable the venue to re-open their doors to the local community safely and start to bring their cultural offering back to the centre of Watford. After careful consideration and consultation, the venue has devised the Three Counties Freelancers Season as an ideal opportunity to serve local audiences and support local artists at the same time. To create a season that is vibrant and varied, applications are sought from all different disciplines.

Watford Palace are especially keen to support artists who can help them serve their immediate community, by appealing to four target audiences:

1. Theatre for Everyone
However you make it happen, we want our audiences to have a great night out for a reasonable price. We want great diverse theatre that is great entertainment! We want to draw in the widest possible community, not just the traditional white middle class theatregoers.

2. Fun for the Family
Watford has a growing and diverse demographic of families with children under 5. We're looking for beautiful, popular and engaging experiences to ignite a lifelong love of theatre in our town's under-fives - with titles or ideas which appeal to their parents, so they book tickets.

3. Shared Experience
Our largest demographic in Watford is young professionals between 25 and 39. They want exciting ways to socialize, and experiences they can't get from watching a box set on Netflix (other subscription services are available). We actively encourage you to offer innovative collective experiences. They do not have to be in a traditional theatre setting...or any physical /real world setting at all, it just must be exciting!

4. Young People in Schools
Schools audiences can be a vital gateway to live theatre - even years later, an audience member can be drawn to book for a set text they know well from their schooldays. We're looking for bold, and brilliant theatrical reinventions of texts from the syllabus, either for staging in our theatre or as small scale touring into schools.

In June 2020 the Big Freelancers Survey conducted by Stage Directors UK, Freelancers Make Theatre Work and Curtain Call revealed that 36% of the freelance workforce in the performing arts received no support from the government's Self-Employment Income Support Scheme or Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. These findings become even more worrying when it comes to inclusivity and diversity. For instance, early career workers, who are the most ethnically diverse group questioned, reported 92% of recent graduates are not eligible for either scheme. Freelancers make up 86% of all people of colour employed by NPOS. To make the application process accessible to as many people as possible, a wide range of formats including video and audio are being welcomed.

Artistic Director and Chief Executive Brigid Larmour said, "We all know that the pandemic has been devastating for freelancers in our region, so we decided to do something about it. Now.

"For over a decade the Watford Palace business model has involved sharing our resources in partnership working with freelance creatives, for example choreographers Kate Flatt and Divya Kasturi, independent companies like Scamp, nabokov, Wizard Presents and Little Pieces of Gold, as well as our Creative Associate NPO companies like Rifco (resident with us) and tiata fahodzi.

"We're delighted to have secured seed money from the Culture Recovery Fund to launch this pilot project bringing freelancers and communities together, inviting artists to reflect on ways to engage with some of the specific audiences we need to reach. We're focussing on sustainability, on projects we believe can sustain a longer life beyond our theatre, and we'll be supporting artists and companies to help secure that future life by offering filming services, road testing the effectiveness of marketing initiatives, and brokering relationships with other theatres. One of the few upsides about the Covid crisis has been increased communication between geographically separate organisations, through zoom, and for us that will be an exciting part of the legacy of this time."

Applications are welcomed in a range of formats (written/video/audio/voice note) to make it as easy as possible for all kinds of people to suggest their ideas. The deadline for applications is midnight on the 18th November 2020, and further information for interested parties can be found on the Watford Palace Theatre website here:

Watford Palace Theatre inspires and entertains through inventive, ambitious and inclusive drama, new plays, musicals, dance and family shows; free outdoor festivals; diverse stand-up; and a much-loved traditional pantomime. It reflects its diverse communities, and fully represents women, both onstage and behind the scenes whilst celebrating and developing creativity and skill in the community and with young people. The theatre's locally produced shows and home-grown talent have toured nationally and internationally, been seen on BBC iPlayer, won awards and transferred to the West End. Watford Palace Theatre - inspiration on your doorstep. Recent productions include an all-female Gaslight; the UK's first African-American Glass Menagerie; Ayckbourn's Absurd Person Singular; an all-female Much Ado About Nothing; Broken Glass; and Elton John's Glasses. World premieres include musicals Miss Meena & the Masala Queens and I Capture the Castle, and plays good dog by Arinze Kene, Folk by Tom Wells, Wipers by Ishy Din, Poppy+George by Diane Samuels, Coming Up by Neil d'Souza, Jefferson's Garden by Timberlake Wertenbaker, Love Me Do by Marks and Gran, An Intervention and Medea by Mike Bartlett, Shiver by Daniel Kanaber, Virgin by E.V. Crowe, Override by Stacey Gregg, Perfect Match by Gary Owen, Jumpers for Goalposts by Tom Wells, Our Brother David by Anthony Clark, Our Father by Charlotte Keatley and Family Business by Julian Mitchell. Creative Associates are central to WPT's vision: they include Resident Partner Company Rifco Theatre Company, and tiata fahodzi.

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