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ate February 2017 Unfinished Productions rehearsed and performed their play Mr Mineshaft at Bathway Theatre via the BTN network. The play explores the life and death of avant-garde composer Julius Eastman. In this visceral, non-linear, one-man exploration of key moments throughout Eastland's life, he struggles against racism, homophobia, homelessness and his own combative, increasingly-erratic nature.
Writer Ben Miller explains that writing the story of Eastman’s life was important because it's a true story about a largely unknown black / gay icon and virtuoso musician. “More than ever, the world needs more of these!” After discovering his music online and getting drawn into the tragedy that was his life, Miller decided to write a play in order to re-discover Eastman – the man and his music.
“The opportunity to have informed and engaged discussions about the staging and writing of the play, help from an incredibly generous and open-minded staff, access to a very well-equipped theatre, and new insights and perspectives on my work,” were amongst the reasons Miller views his time at Bathway as a success.
If still in doubt: “people should apply to the residency scheme because it offers a great platform for experimentation in a great theatre, with supportive people around you.”
Miller applied to the BTN residency scheme because it enabled him to experiment with the work and: “to see it performed in a fantastic large and flexible theatre space.” But it was more than just the performance opportunity itself:
Nothing Like the Sun
"I have a problem with Shakespeare’s women,”
asmine Airey - artist-in-residence at BTN and director of NOTHING LIKE THE SUN - states, “they always end up dead or mad, never developing into the main characters they deserve to be.” She wondered: “How would Shakespeare’s classic texts be re-written when “his” women take centre stage?”
With this in mind she approached co-director Brock Elwick to initially create a 20-minute scratch performance. When they applied for the BATHWAY THEATRE NETWORK RESIDENCY summer 2016, they were ready to take things to the next level.
Two weeks of unlimited access to rehearsal space and a run in Bathway’s 100-seat black box theatre seemed like a great opportunity. “It’s really hard to find affordable rehearsal space in London,” Tasmine explains, “Once we knew we had time to work on the piece, play around with it and develop it further, we felt comfortable approaching small venues and theatres to secure further performance dates.”
It’s been an all-round experience as Tasmine makes her debut as director-only. “I’d absolutely recommend artists to apply,” she stresses, “we’ve enjoyed great support from staff, valuable time and space, and the confidence to move forward.”
OAX were first in residence at The Old Baths in Woolwich during the summer of 2016. The group improvised, played with form, wrote TED talks, read Wagner, drank beer, fell on their faces (not in that order), wound themselves up with rope, readily perspired, danced, fought, cried and laughed. Our task? To respond to climate change and ecological crisis. After a short period of rehearsals in Paris and a flurry of writing and line learning we presented a scratch of stuck to a group of 1st year undergraduates to gauge their response and together find meaning in our making.
They were joined by an international group of artists including dramaturg and director Richard Pettifer,performer Sabrina Manach, designer Andrea Carr and photographer Kasia Rucinska.
For more information on HOAX and their work, visit their website here >
ou just need somebody to take a chance on your idea and that’s exactly what these guys have done’
OAX returned to Bathway in June 2017 to develop stuck with guest director Lucy Hopkins. They then performed this version tour at the Hackney Showrooms, Buxton Festival and Aurillac Street Festival in France, and will be performing at VOILA Festival in November 2017.