• Benji Mowbray

Support Your Peers!


Nothing fills me with more joy than seeing my friends following their dreams and smashing their goals. One of my big dreams when I was a young boy was to have a theatre company and well, here we are! I’m so lucky to have the incredible support of family and friends who go above and beyond to keep The Bohemians alive.


In a time where dreams and goals don’t feel achievable, I really wanted a moment to take stock and celebrate my friends and peers who are living their dreams and continually trying to make things happen. I know it might sound a bit wishy washy, but I truly believe we can make the theatre industry a better place by shouting about each other and celebrating the essential magic we all make. We are going to kick off our first blog this year by shouting about five incredible emerging companies. These are companies we have connected with over the last few years and whose work we greatly admire. So without further ado, let’s celebrate our peers!


Leading Light Collective

First up we have the Leading Light Collective. I was very lucky to work with LLC on a scratch night a few years ago. They have gone onto create some incredibly versatile and important work in the last few years. Leading Light consists of Belinda Clarke - Artistic Director, Hannah Blair - Lead Producer and Flick Isaac-Chilton - Engagement Producer.

What did you do as a company in 2020 and how did you remain positive and productive?

Before Covid-19, we celebrated our third birthday by hosting our recurring network event - What Leads Your Light?. ​This event brings us joy because it allows us to broaden our engagement, whilst witnessing other emerging artists do the same! Our mission pushes to support underrepresented creatives, giving them opportunities to play with and showcase their work in front of our audiences.​ ​During this time, we also began a masterclass programme with students in Hounslow Borough, driving them to illuminate their confidence. When the pandemic struck, our main priority was to take the pressure off ourselves. In order to stay positive and productive, on occasion it would mean the laptops wouldn’t come out for a day as our mental health always needed to come first. After creating a ‘new normal’ for ourselves, we began to evaluate and broaden our engagement further; thankfully connecting and collaborating with over 100 new artists and participants through masterclasses, Zoom coffees and script surgeries. We decided that a pandemic was the perfect time to assess and rebrand the company, looking into our outreach, accessibility and sustainability. We took our time to create a business plan and restructure our goals with feedback from our trusted mentors within the industry.

Summer 2020, we produced the digital series ​Dear Mother Nature​ which discusses the normalisation of period talk. In producing this series, we raised £310 for a fantastic charity, Ditch the Rag; who raise funds and run workshops with young women, providing them with menstruation packs and more information to fight against period poverty.

What do you have planned for 2021?

For 2021, our main goal is to support as many underrepresented artists and companies as we can; whilst sustaining as many relationships as possible!


What advice would you give to your friends, peers and fellow artists to keep going?

During this climate, creating work is not the definition of being positive and productive. If the most ‘productive’ thing you did today was getting out of bed before 12pm, then good for you! If you want to find a way to get that creative spark back then go for a walk, support online work and most importantly DO WHAT WORKS FOR YOU. Everything happens for a reason; drive and creativity will come: it is inevitable if you allow yourself time to breathe.

Follow Leading Light Collective:

www.leadinglightcollective.co.uk

Instagram: @leadinglightc

Twitter: @leadinglightc

Facebook: Leading Light Collective LTD

Dear Mother Nature: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLMehQWjE7_k2QmQJVNdYgVyEnveY1Xqrw LLC trailer - ​https://youtu.be/ieLVRQgfnLA


Stormy Teacup Productions



Next up are Stormy Teacup Productions - an emerging actor-muso company comprised of LIPA 2019 grads. The core production team is Saskia Pay, Jonny Wise and Louis Gale, but the Stormy family is much larger, as they work with an amazing group of fellow LIPA grads to create and perform their work.

Photo by Joseph Richard Photography


What did you do as a company in 2020 and how did you remain positive and productive?


We were lucky enough to hit the ground running in 2020 with a week-long R&D of our original production Songs of Innocence (written by Louis with music by Jonny & Company). This was followed by a London showcase of the show in February at the Tristan Bates Theatre which received rave reviews and left us with big plans for the future. We had been organising a tour for the summer, with dates pencilled in, which was sadly not able to go ahead. However, we tried our best to stay creative, and stay sane, having regular Zoom meetings to not only check in as artists but as friends too. We focused on writing new material and planning for the future so when we can perform again, we are ready!


What do you have planned for 2021?


For 2021, we would love to finally take Songs of Innocence on the road and get back in front of an audience! We also plan to record a cast album of the production for marketing purposes and public release. Looking ahead, we also want to R&D some new work, including an original musical, currently being written by Jonny.


What advice would you give to your friends, peers and fellow artists to keep going?


It’s been a difficult, unpredictable and crazy 12 months for us all. Our main piece of advice would be it is important to accept that there will be some days where you’re smashing it and some days when you’re sat in bed eating Deliveroo and watching reruns of Friends. Now more than ever, it is important to control the controllables and know that this is just for now. We will be back. And theatre will return bolder, braver and brighter than ever!


Follow Stormy Teacup Productions:


Twitter: @teacup_stormy


Instagram: @teacup_stormy


Now in a Minute Theatre Company



Now in a Minute Theatre are old friends of The Bohemians who create high quality sensory theatre for the UK's children and young adults with Profound and Multiple learning difficulties (PMLD) and those with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD). They are Ella Rides - Founder and Company Director; Nathaniel McCloskey - Managing Director and Jake Beltran – Director.

What did you do as a company in 2020 and how did you remain positive and productive?

In a time of no hugs, kisses or cuddles our team are still fighting to keep connected with the sensory and signing world. So they jumped at the chance to participate in The Makaton Charity #SpeakitSignitSymbolit challenge through the magic of the internet. We have also set up a ‘Donation Station’ through Facebook where even the smallest contribution would help support isolated children and adults during this COVID -19 pandemic.

Social media kept many of us connected and inspired over this difficult time. Now in a Minute theatre followed suit by joining in and wearing some bright and bold colours in celebration of ‘PMLD Awareness Week’. Get in the rainbow mood and check out PMLDlink for great resources.

People across the country took this time as a chance to learn new skills or dedicate more time to improve on ones they already had. We did the same! We tuned into Facebook Lives with the brilliant network of sensory theatre makers at Upfront Performance Network, where we were educated on other composing and devising strategies.

What do you have planned for 2021?

Due to our sensory theatre demanding close interaction with some very vulnerable people, we have had to postpone auditioning and rehearsals for our debut show, Luna Maria. While we wait for social distancing rules to end we are working hard on the Community Campaign sector of our company. This involves setting up fundraising activities to raise awareness of and funds for the charities that are very dear to our heart. Keep a lookout for anything we are shouting about on social media or on our website.




What advice would you give to your friends, peers and fellow artists to keep going?

Stay active

Have a schedule

Have an outlet that isn’t professionally consequential.

Follow Now In a Minute Theatre Company:

Website: www.nowinaminute.org.uk

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Nowminute

Twitter: @now_minute

Instagram: @now_in_a_minute_theatre/


A Stone’s Throw Productions



A Stone’s Throw Productions are a close friend of the Bohemians and are another brilliant emerging actor-muso company. One of our very own Associate Artists (Eleanor Crowe) is a founding member of the company. The current Stone’s Throw team, who recently worked on a new adaptation of Chekhov’s play called ‘Morello: After The Cherry Orchard’, are: Eleanor Crowe – Producer, Olivia Wylie – Director, Hana DeHart - Dramaturg and Adaptation Writer, Colm Molloy - Musical Director and Composer, Ellie Walsh - Movement Director.



What did you do as a company in 2020 and how did you remain positive and productive?

2020 was filled with ups and downs for us; it began with a fundraiser having to be cancelled just before the first lockdown due to it not being considered safe, then our Arts Council England application being discontinued because of the COVID-19 emergency packages that they needed to prioritise, and ultimately our R&D at the Hertford Theatre being cancelled. These things all absolutely needed to happen of course due to the global pandemic that was suddenly upon us, but as a young company trying to embark on their first project this was a large knock. How we decided to deal with it was by asking the actors who we had on board for the R&D if they would be interested in being involved with a Zoom R&D. Thankfully they all were and we managed to do a 6 week textual analysis and composition workshop, all entirely online. This was crucial in our development and understanding of our work, so we are so glad we managed to do that. Additionally, we have had the time to refocus who our actual project is for, and why it’s important - which has led to us applying to ACE again for another R&D period at Hertford Theatre in February 2021. Beside these things, we have been staying positive by continuing to expand our network and by supporting the work of other companies that inspire us like The Bohemians, Red Fox Theatre and Wild Card Theatre! Something we have also found really helpful in staying focused and positive is by having creative team meetings - would suggest it for all young companies regardless of how much is actually going on creatively.



What do you have planned for 2021?

Currently, we have an R&D in the Hertford Theatre studio space scheduled for mid-February - we are unsure on whether this will happen at this point in the light of the new lockdown, but we are hopeful it will happen later in the year if not. So in preparation for this workshop period we are applying for various types of funding in January and are due to hear back from ACE at the end of the month - so we have all our fingers and toes crossed for that! Additionally, we are collaborating with some Hertfordshire-based artists and facilitators for our outreach mission and to explore how music can be used as a therapy tool to combat grief in the spring. After our research and development period, we are hoping to do a preview run of the show at some point over the summer in a Hertfordshire venue, before potentially doing a short tour of lower arts provisions in the UK! This is our aim, however we know that with the ever-changing restrictions this tour may have to wait until early 2022.

What advice would you give to friends, peers and fellow artists to keep going?

I think it’s just a case of remembering that nothing lasts forever and that there will be an end to this period where it seems opportunities to create are limited, and it may be sooner than we think with the hope of this vaccine being rolled out. Also, to remember that overcoming these challenges will be important in our development and adaptability to create! But on the other hand, it’s not healthy to put too much pressure on yourself to be productive in these times, because in reality we are all experiencing trauma on a mass scale so sometimes it’s more important to just do what makes you happy - in my case that includes vegetating and eating chocolate!

Follow A Stone’s Throw Productions:


Twitter: @astonesthrowpro1


Insta: @stonesthrowproductions


The Flying Bedroom



Last but not least are the incredible Flying Bedroom Theatre Company who are currently students at Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama making actor-muso magic. Flying Bedroom consist of seven theatre makers, who specialise in different areas: actor-musicianship: (Mischa Jardine, Michael Needle, Chloë Dickens and Mary Johnson), designer-puppeteers (Ruby Brown and Bea Viña) and composer Natalie Roe.



What did you do as a company in 2020 and how did you stay positive and productive?

Our company was founded in Feb 2020 and we worked over zoom until the summer, doing what we could when the restrictions allowed. We all get on really well which really helped with the creative process as we always encouraged each other to try new things. A lot of thanks goes to Royal Welsh for providing us with a place to rehearse, a budget and support from a variety of members from within the college community. This project helped us remain positive throughout the unknown and although the rules were ever-changing, we had a set date of November 21st to work towards which kept us motivated. Not only this, but the joint passion from every member of the company helped us to achieve this goal. The cherry on the cake was performing an R&D production of our show to a limited audience, which was then streamed with Show Face Festival over Christmas.


Production photo of the Flying Bedroom by Sebastian Lewis


What do you have planned for 2021?

We are currently working on touring plans for North Wales after Easter; festival prospects and outreach work. After that, we plan on workshopping new ideas, continuing to have fun and maybe a new show? Meanwhile 2 out of the 7 of us are balancing a degree and their graduating year.



What advice would you give to friends, peers and fellow artists to keep going?

The pandemic has taught us that every moment we are able to be creative is sacred and that you can’t be too hard on yourself within the current circumstances. We recommend seeking out like-minded people who share your ethos, but might come at a project from a different angle. We have spoken nearly every week since March and are even more excited now than we have ever been. ASK FOR HELP and don’t be afraid to do things that scare you!

Follow Flying Bedroom Theatre:


Facebook: @flyingbedroom


Twitter: @flyingbedroom


Instagram: @flyingbedroom

There are many other brilliant companies we couldn’t fit on here, but we’d also like to give a big shout out to Transfer Productions and Doorstep Puppet Theatre.


We’d also like to express our deepest gratitude to Oran Doyle who mentored and supported us last year. We truly wouldn't be the company we are today without the generosity of the people around us, so please: go forth and support your peers. Shout about your mates and spur each other on!


You can follow and support all the companies we’ve mentioned today by following the links to their socials. Until next time, LA VIE BOHEME!!!


While you’re here, make sure you check out the 36 Breakout Artists we promoted as part of our ‘Busk It’ Online Season. https://www.thebohemianstheatre.com/breakoutartists



#SupportYourPeers

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© 2020 The Bohemians Theatre Company Ltd

Company Number: 13153677