Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch has announced its first cohort of Associate Artists as part of its Outer Limits artist development programme. Making up the Outer Limits Associate Artists are:

  • Romford-based D-Live!, a leading Deaf-led British Sign Language professional theatre company;
  • Old Trunk, a Southend based theatre company led by playwright Sadie Hasler and director Sarah Mayhew;
  • Rebecca Brewer, an actor, songwriter and performance-maker based in Thurrock.

The artists are professionals local to the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch, with a track record of making excellent work on the small scale. The Theatre will provide artistic and producing mentorship, rehearsal and performance space, funding application support, and much more. The Theatre hopes that this will enable these artists to realise their ambitions: working on a larger scale, reaching more audiences, and gaining national recognition for Essex creativity.

The announcement marks a growth in the Theatre’s Outer Limits programme, which supports, nurtures and unites artists in the region. The Theatre acted in direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw an industry-wide crisis as buildings were closed and shows cancelled across the country. The Outer Limits Online initiative has recently moved meetings remotely onto Zoom, running successful online peer led development sessions facilitating skills-sharing and networking to combat the sudden increased isolation. Both responses aim to stem stagnation and propagate growth in the independent sector in the region.

Artistic Director of Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch, Douglas Rintoul says:  ‘It’s a balm in these times to be able to announce our first cohort of Outer Limits Associate Artists. We recognise how difficult it is for independent artists to get projects off the ground, now more than ever. These associateships will give these brilliant local creatives extensive support to realise their aspirations. In turn we hope to be influenced by their unique talents and perspectives.’

Steven Vevers-Webb, Artistic Director of D-Live!, says: ‘D-Live! is thrilled to become a new Associate Artist at the Queens Theatre, Hornchurch.  As a relatively new deaf-led theatre company, producing work in British Sign Language and spoken English, we are so excited to be partnering with the Queens to learn from their wealth of experience in producing theatrical productions.  We are from (and based in) the borough of Havering and we’re excited this local venue will be supporting a local theatre company wanting to make creative work for deaf children, young people and their wider families.  We can’t wait for the next 18 months of this Associate Artist programme and look forward to working with Douglas and his team.’

Sadie Hasler of Old Trunk says: ‘We are so delighted to be offered this fantastic opportunity. We’ve come so far in eight years making our own work and getting it out there, and are eager to work with their brilliant team on taking our work into exciting new realms. In these times of uncertainty places like Queen’s can and should be beacons to creatives. We’re so happy to be part of their fold, making fearless work for a stronger future.’

Rebecca Brewer says: ‘I am completely delighted to become an Associate Artist at the Queen’s Theatre. I’ve been connected with the theatre for the last year or so through their Artist Development programme. Doug and everyone at the theatre have been brilliant, providing the perfect concoction of support and provocation that artists need in order to push themselves to make and continue to make work. I feel really lucky to have such a welcoming and supportive team, 15 minutes from my house!’

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