New Springboard companies announced for Autumn 2019

Posted on 7 November 2019

Following the announcement that Richard and Rishard, Underground Lights and Maokwo would join our Springboard talent development scheme in March, we are delighted to announce two further additions to the programme, with digital arts duo Gertrude and disability arts organisation Radical Body joining this Autumn.

Launched in 2015, our Springboard initiative was established to support emerging artists and newly formed performing arts companies 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 and showcasing a diverse range of talent from across Coventry and Warwickshire, supporting two ambitious young companies to break new ground in theatre and performing arts.

Comprised of British actor and theatre-maker Lisa Franklin and French novelist and poet Lou Sarabadzic, Gertrude is a two-woman poetic theatre company based in Coventry, combining theatre, poetry, dance and digital tools to create work that is interactive, inclusive, challenging and fun. Using their mixed French and British heritage to create multilingual, poetic work, the duo often perform in non-traditional spaces, using immersive and participatory elements to challenge people’s relationships with and ideas about the world around them.

Led by performance poet Katie Walters, Radical Body produces challenging new performance art 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 systemic barriers they typically face in developing their skills and building a career in performing arts. Earlier this year, Katie worked in partnership with musician Elle Chante to present the original piece Seasick at Shop Front Theatre as part of the Coventry Shoot Festival.

Katie Walters – Radical Body

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, was recently announced as one of three 2021 Co-Artistic Directors who will lead the Belgrade Theatre’s producing programme for Coventry’s year as City of Culture.

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 local, early-career artists working in visual and performing arts across a range of Coventry venues.

Hannah Barker, Creative Producer (Participation and Talent Development) said: “We are excited by Radical Body and Gertrude joining our current Springboard cohort, Maokwo, Richard & Rishard and Underground Lights, bringing with them creative insights and curiosity around technology and disability, and further championing access and community within the Belgrade. Springboard plays an essential role in supporting talented emerging artists and companies looking to develop and grow their work and careers, but it also offers the Belgrade and its communities fresh ideas and perspectives and opens up new and different ways of working and connecting with audiences.”

As a registered charity, the Belgrade is reliant on funding from trusts, businesses, Members and supporters in order to deliver our wide-range of youth, community arts and talent development programmes to help nurture the next generation of theatre-makers. Find out more about our charitable work and how you can support us here.