Most of my former producing work was rooted in the West Midlands (UK) working in collaboration with Black Country Touring. There was an emphasis on new ways of making work and enabling communities to play a role in the process where possible, as well as finding new ways of presenting the final content.
Much of the work produced was often site-specific taking place in historic houses, shops, kitchens and the internet, realised through working with a range of partners including Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Kali Theatre, National Trust, Foursight Theatre, Sonia Sabri Company and English Heritage.
For The Corner Shop, an empty shop was transformed into 9 fantastical and naturalistic looking spaces for a promenade theatre production. The Corner Shop was winner of Jaguar Land Rover Community Award West Midlands 2010 as part of Art at the Centre; and Reannaisance West Midlands Best of the West 2010 award for the overall Corner Shop project.
Behna (Sisters), a Punjabi narrative written by Sonia Likhari, toured into the kitchens of people’s homes. This play was also twice webcast live on the Internet with simultaneous chat. The second time in 2011, it was watched in 16 countries.
Earlier in my career I had worked in oral history: managing the collection of personal testimonies of South Asian and Caribbean immigrant communities in Wolverhampton resulting in the production of an audio-visual archive – the BE-ME project.
It was around this time, in my early twenties, that I started to consider the politics of race, the lives and challenges of immigrant communities and their children and started to acknowledge, value and celebrate otherness more consciously and assertively.
Identity was often a starting point for exploration for much of the work produced, be it personal, local, geographical, national, cultural, vocational or societal. On reflection, in making work, especially through the interactions with communities, be it as participants or audiences, has enabled me to discover more about my changing self… and it is this aspect of my work that feels like a privilege, learning with and through others.
At the close of day, I’m interested in making good art…art which connects, touches, moves…which speaks…which allows us to discover something new about ourselves or others.
The team has been identified based on people at the top of their craft turned on by the area of inquiry. Whilst some of us have worked together in other combinations we’ve never worked together collectively. I’m very excited to see what happens… what we can create and achieve together.
Steve Johnstone: Steve is Co-Artistic Director of Black Country Touring and a freelance theatre director with over 30 years’ experience in directing professional productions. He has a sensitivity for and understanding of ‘story’; that which connects people and transcends cultures. Steve works with a strong team ethic, facilitating solutions through collaboration.
Kate Chapman: an artist, director and producer with specialist experience in supporting new work and site-specific audio projects. Kate is interested in non-linear theatre making processes and enabling writers to draw upon many sources of stimuli.
Carl Miller: a playwright and dramaturge. He has been Artistic Director of the Royal Court Young People’s Theatre, Associate Director at Birmingham Repertory Theatre and Associate Director (Literary) at Unicorn.