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Blue Elephant Theatre announces artists for 2018 residencies

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Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

BLUE Elephant Theatre has announced the artists chosen to be part of its inaugural residencies scheme.

The residencies will support the research and development of four new pieces of theatre, chosen from nearly two hundred applications. These are possible thanks to a grant from the Idlewild Trust, which seeks to improve opportunities for young professionals working creatively in the arts at an early stage in their careers.

Rachel Oglethorpe, Director of Idlewild Trust, said: “Idlewild Trust is delighted to be supporting Blue Elephant’s Residencies in this exciting and innovative theatre as part of its programme of supporting arts organisations that nurture new talent.”

The successful artists will receive a week’s rehearsal and showcase space for Research and Development of a new piece, a bursary towards the expenses involved, and professional development support. The participating artists are:

Monument Theatre Company with Windrush Square, a piece set in 1980s Brixton which follows two interracial lovers at a time of racial tensions.

Maeve and Cait O’Sullivan, who aim to give real insight into the world of autism through a piece based on their experiences with their older brother, who refers to himself as ‘The Dark Lord’.

Grace Duggan with The Average Project, which interrogates our cultural double standards of ‘body image’. Grace asks how our body image affects ourselves, our class, our diversity and our outlook on others.

Découpage Collective is exploring the loss of ownership of female sex workers’ bodies through music and movement in their new show, Outside.

Niamh de Valera, Executive and Co-Artistic Director of Blue Elephant Theatre, said: “We are so excited to be offering formal residencies at the Blue Elephant – it’s been a dream for so long! We were blown away by the quality and dynamism of the applications we received so deciding on the final four was incredibly tough. We can’t wait to see what comes of their time at Blue Elephant and hope it’s only the start of our working relationships with each other.”

Blue Elephant Theatre aims to continue offering residencies in future to nurture companies in their infancy. It recognises the importance of providing opportunities to support emerging artists and the difficulties caused by increased competition for funds and space. Previous examples of companies supported by BET include Theatre Temoin and On the Run.