East Midlands based theatre company New Perspectives have announced a bumper crop of creative projects for 2023 in the lead up to their 50th anniversary year, which starts in October 2023.
They include presenting the UK premiere of a Canadian play with songs, launching a new podcast, presenting the world premiere of a novel adaptation, and engaging with people across the East Midlands as creatives through a huge range of support and development.
Artistic Director Angharad Jones will direct the tour of The Swearing Jar, a Canadian play which features original live music by Kate Hewlett that was adapted and released as a film in 2022. The bittersweet comedy will tour from February to April.
Following on from the successful podcast PlacePrints, Where I Belong (to be released in February) pairs six writers from the company’s home city of Nottingham with six writers from another UNESCO city of literature, Baghdad, to create a set of short story duets released as a podcast.
Following in April is the UK tour of a world premiere of We Need New Names, adapted from the novel by NoViolet Bulawayo. Adapted by Mufaro Makubika, directed by Monique Touko and with a cast of six actors of Zimbabwean heriage, the show is in collaboration with Fifth Word, where Angharad Jones was formerly Artistic Director.
New Perspectives will continue to nurture early career artists in the East Midlands, and appoint an affiliate company: Unanima Theatre are a Mansfield-based company of learning disabled and autistic young adults, and will be an affiliate company for the next three years. New Perspectives will provide support and investment, including making new work, and collaborating with them to better understand and provide pathways and opportunities.
Once again, New Perspectives will also be offering up to 14 artists to join New Associates, offering them a bespoke year-long professional development programme, mentoring them in their artistic development as well as behind the scenes skills in governance, leadership, and managing their practice. In addition, the company will pilot an alumni programme to facilitate peer networking and support for previous members of the programme, and three first time artists will be given the opportunity to develop their first piece for public sharing with Open Pitch.
The first of which, entitled The Road to Zandra, is a play that will be debuting in Nottingham and is inspired by the true story of a road repairer who finds solace in drag after struggling through a difficult time in his life. The show, which is written by New Perspectives’ own Jayne Williams, will be performed at Squire Perfoming Arts Centre on 31 March and 1 April 2023.
Across the year, New Perspectives will be reaching out to bring artists together, hosting a residency and using New Perspectives as an engine room to drive cross-art form experimentation and fuel new work. With plans for new projects already stretching into 2026, their collaborations will seek to find new ways to integrate digital technologies and reach new audiences. They will also work with an academic partner to track their interventions.
Their 50th anniversary season starts in October 2023 with a fresh new piece about food that will be touring rural spaces. Created in collaboration with Vayu Naidu, it will bring together communities in a cultural feast of storytelling.
Agharad Jones said, “It’s been a bruising couple of years for all, which is why committing to creating and presenting ground-breaking new work that makes sense of the moment is so important right now. This season programme sees some stories from close to home and others from countries including Iraq through our podcast series, Zimbabwe through our collaboration with Fifth Word on We Need New Names and presenting the UK premier of The Swearing Jar which started out as a Canadian play. On equal footing to these productions, we are committed to providing meaningful support to the pool of brilliant early- and mid-career artists in the East Midlands through our New Associates programme for which we are currently recruiting our 2023 / 2024 cohort, and our Open Pitch Programme which gives people who do not consider themselves as artists the bespoke support they need to tell their stories.”