After announcing that Richard and Rishard, Underground Lights and Maokwo would join our Springboard programme in March, we’re delighted to introduce digital arts duo Gertrude and disability arts organisation Radical Body as the latest additions to our talent development programme.
Launched in 2015, our Springboard scheme was set up to support emerging artists to develop their work, offering tailored support over a three-year period. This includes advice and guidance from experienced Belgrade staff, marketing and PR support, and space to create, rehearse and showcase their work, among other benefits.
This new intake of Springboard companies continues the Belgrade’s commitment to nurturing diverse talent from across Coventry and Warwickshire. We’re thrilled to be supporting these two ambitious new companies to break new ground in theatre.
Gertrude Credit Nicola Young
Gertrude is a two-woman poetic theatre company, made up of British actor and theatre-maker Lisa Franklin and French novelist and poet Lou Sarabadzic. Based in Coventry, the duo combine theatre, poetry, dance and digital tools to create work that is inclusive, challenging and fun.
Using their mixed French and British heritage, they create multilingual, poetic work, and often perform in non-traditional spaces. Digital technology adds an interactive, immersive element to their work, which they use to challenge people’s relationship with, and ideas about, the world around them.
Radical Body Credit Nicola Young
Led by performance poet Katie Walters, Radical Body produces challenging new work by and for disabled people. By creating accessible opportunities for disabled and chronically ill artists, it aims to foreground disabled perspectives, while improving accessibility for audiences.
Using livestreaming and telepresence technologies, it hopes to help housebound or mostly housebound artists to overcome the barriers they typically face when building a career in performing arts. Earlier this year, Katie worked in partnership with musician Elle Chante to present the original piece Seasick as part of Coventry Shoot Festival.
The Springboard Programme
Previous Springboard artists and companies have included Strictly Arts, whose show Freeman enjoyed a sell-out run and five-star reviews at the Edinburgh Fringe followed by an international tour, and whose Artistic Director, Corey Campbell, has gone on to become one of our three Co-Artistic Directors for 2021.
Other Springboard companies have included Noctium Theatre, who toured the story of Coventry music pioneer Delia Derbyshire to audiences across the UK in Hymns for Robots; New English Opera (formerly Hightime Opera), whose inventive productions aim to make opera accessible to all ages; and Shoot Festival, a biennial event showcasing work by local, early-career artists across a range of Coventry venues.
“We are excited by Radical Body and Gertrude joining our current Springboard cohort, bringing with them creative insights and curiosity around technology and disability, and further championing access at the Belgrade. As well as supporting emerging artists, Springboard also brings fresh ideas to the Belgrade, opening up new ways of working and connecting with audiences.”
As a registered charity, the Belgrade relies on funding from trusts, businesses, Members and supporters to nurture the next generation of theatre-makers. Find out more about why we are a charity on our Support Us page.