Theatre Royal Plymouth are pleased to announce two new positions as part of their Creative Renewal Strategy. The Artists for Change programme is supported by the Jerwood Developing Artists Fund and will employ two early career artists to challenge our conventional thinking around inclusivity and the climate emergency. These two new positions, Artist for Change, Diversity and Inclusion and Artist for Change, Climate Emergency, will develop creative solutions for TRP, and for audiences that make effective change possible for us and our communities.
In early 2022, TRP’s new Chief Executive, James Mackenzie-Blackman, commissioned a consultation programme called Your Voice Matters, to explore options for the future creative leadership of our organisation.
As a result of this consultation TRP will not be led by one Artistic or Creative Director in the years ahead. We will instead have a team of eight creative artists who, with Chief Executive and Executive Producer James Mackenzie-Blackman, and other TRP colleagues, set and deliver the creative direction of TRP.
James Mackenzie-Blackman, Chief Executive and Executive Producer said:
“We’re incredibly pleased to receive support from Jerwood Arts for our two Artist-for-Change roles. These new colleagues will be critical to our future creative success but most importantly the expertise they will bring, and the resources we can provide here at TRP will hopefully lead to some extraordinary creative experiences for communities and audiences. We’re looking forward to recruiting to the roles and collaborating with Jerwood Arts to ensure the roles are as impactful and meaningful as possible.”
Lilli Geissendorfer, Director of Jerwood Arts, said:
“One of the most powerful roles artists play in society is generating new ideas about who we are and how we might want to live in the future. TRP has embraced this notion to create two extraordinary opportunities for early-career artists to join their team as change-makers and co-creators of their future, alongside offering them access to world-class facilities and support to develop their practices. At Jerwood Arts we know the energy that is created when artforms engage with each other, so the fact these opportunities are open to all disciplines of theatre practices and beyond makes them even more exciting. We can’t wait to see what they get up too.”
“It is quite often said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”
These words are often attributed to Albert Einstein. Whether or not, we as a theatre, along with many other arts organisations, have been trying to make change by essentially doing the same (or very similar) things over and over.
If that seems a bit disingenuous, humour me. When you look back over several years in the culture sector one initiative merges into another and they do have a similar hue. Perhaps that says as much about me and my memory, or more likely that our sincere desire for change is not matched by a well-time programme that works.
You could say it’s been a bit beige. And change can’t be beige – otherwise it just fades into the background. And change should be seen. And heard.
Why is change needed?
Here’s some definitions of change:
- To make something different, alter or modify
- Replace something with something else especially something that is new and better
- An act or process through which something becomes different
Mostly change is needed because whilst we’ve made promises we’re not where we need to be. We’re still a work in progress. And some issues won’t and shouldn’t wait.
These issues are inclusivity (in the arts) and the climate emergency. There’s urgency here to do better, be better and to make that change stick.
Why should artists drive this change?
Because artists – and especially early career ones – think differently. Because they see the world through a lens that isn’t in the middle lane and isn’t mainstream and that generates a response that makes us see the world differently.
Of course, we know that all our problems won’t be solved over-night, but we’re confident by working directly with artists we will forefront and move forward these very pressing matters.
What’s the artists’ brief?
This will be relatively open and available in January 2023. BUT what we can promise is that we will use all our resources to ensure that the artists who work with us have the support they need to develop and that we also aim to provide mentoring and well-being check-ins, as part of the overall package.
We want to change the world and we want to work with artists who want to drive those changes forward, but we also know that no-one is superhuman and we want the artists who work with us to be supported and to feel that they can make the work that’s needed.
Mandy Precious, Director of Strategic Projects