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.’

Backstage Academy launches new live events top-up degree course

FdA student Alex White as stage hand for Village Green festival main stage

Backstage Academy’s new course focuses on event management

Backstage Academy is launching a new live events production top-up degree this September, equipping students with better knowledge of the processes involved in events production. The year-long course focuses on the management of festivals, venues and other large-scale events.

Director of courses Robin Watkinson says of the new course’s content: ‘The modules reinforce the programme’s vocational nature and are designed to teach students to design, develop and deploy management strategies over key areas within the live events sector for a successful event management career.’

The course has been structured so that students are able to work within the sector while studying. Areas covered in the course include budgeting, creating creative proposals, legal and document requirements and many other areas.

To find out more, visit