New initiative seeks to develop contemporary theatre output from south-east England

A new three-year initiative called greenhouse has been launched to develop contemporary theatre and its audiences in the south east and east of England. Over three years, greenhouse will invest £420,000 into 30 projects.

The scheme, supported by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and Arts Council England, is being led by house, an organisation which curates and underwrites a programme of around 20 contemporary theatre productions each year for their network more than 125 venues.

This year has seen greenhouse seed-fund ten projects with over £50,000, awarding grants between £3,000 and £8,000 to projects. The ideas put forward for investment had to involve a partnership between a theatre-maker and a venue. The projects chosen for investment were selected by a panel of theatre industry professionals.

The first ten greenhouse projects include: Root Theatre bringing an emerging writer to her home town Gillingham to explore ideas for a new play about the town with the support of new venue LV21; South Street in Reading working with artists based in the town to create a piece for the recently decommissioned Reading Prison; and Take the Space is going to Norden Farm Arts Centre in Maidenhead to work with a boxing club and local Quakers for ideas to develop their new play, White Feather Boxer.

Richard Kingdom, greenhouse project manager says: ‘There’s no shortage of theatre being made, venues to present it or people to see it, and yet theatre-makers struggle to get bookings, programmers tell us that they can’t find suitable work and attracting an audience is everyone’s biggest challenge.

‘This is where greenhouse begins. We are seed-funding new pieces of theatre that respond to the ambitions of the theatre-makers as well as the venues and connect with people that they might ultimately hope to speak to as an audience.’

Details of teachers’ strike action across England announced

Teachers across England are planning a walkout. Teaching unions National Union of Teachers and NASUWT have come together to work on a joint campaign – ‘Protect Teachers and Defend Education’.


Education secretary Michael Gove has condemned the strike action

The dispute between the unions and secretary of state for education, Michael Gove, regards what the unions consider to be ‘adverse’ changes to teachers’ wages, pensions, working conditions and jobs.

General secretary of NUT Christine Blower said: ‘At the start of the new academic year, the last thing teachers wish to be doing is preparing for further industrial action. It is a great shame that the education secretary has let things get to this stage.

‘With pay pensions and working conditions being systematically attacked, and an education secretary who refuses to listen or negotiate, teachers now however have no other choice. Michael Gove has demoralised an entire profession, it is time that he started to listen for the sake of teachers, students and education.’

Two days of industrial action across regions in the UK have been planned for next month: 1 October will see teachers striking in boroughs from the east of England, east Midlands, West Midlands and Yorkshire and Humberside. The second day of striking, due to take place on 17 October, will include the north-east, south-east, south-west and London. Another one-day strike across the whole of England is also planned to take place before Christmas.

A spokesperson for the department for education said: ‘It is disappointing that the NUT and NASUWT are striking over the government’s measures to allow heads to pay good teachers more.’

Michael Gove said of news of the strikes: ‘I unhesitatingly condemn this action.’