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Emma Rice’s new company, Wise Children, backed by Arts Council

Theatre news

A NEW company created and led by Emma Rice, Wise Children, has been awarded funding by the Arts Council South West, becoming one of their National Portfolio Organisations from April 2018.

Based in the South West of England, the company marks a new chapter for Emma Rice. Wise Children will conceive, create and present world-class, innovative ensemble theatre; a culmination of the process and ethos she has developed over her theatrical career.

Rice has worked for twenty years as an actor, director and Artistic Director at Kneehigh and steps down from her current position as Artistic Director of Shakespeare’s Globe in April 2018. Her bold, imaginative productions and gift for storytelling have made her one of the most important and acclaimed directors working today.

Wise Children will work in partnership with venues to create ensemble work to tour nationally and internationally. Through a series of residencies, the company will develop and diversify audiences. Key partnerships are secured and will be announced in due course.

The company will create a training and apprenticeship scheme, ‘Emma Rice’s School for Wise Children’. The scheme aims to develop skills across the sector, training independent artists and diversifying the creative workforce. The training will be structured around intensive modules, with Rice drawing from the many excellent and established artists she has worked with over the years to support the next generation of practitioners.

Emma Rice said: “I am delighted that the Arts Council South West have chosen to support Wise Children. Anyone starting up a new theatre company in the current climate struggles against the odds to get started, and the Arts Council have given us a much-needed chance to begin our journey. I look forward to growing Wise Children to become the inclusive, passionate and imaginative company I know it will be.

“We will nurture and support diverse new voices and talent, bringing them together with the most brilliant and creative established artists and practitioners in the industry. This is a movement with a commitment to the generous exchange of skills, humanity and ideas at its heart. We are looking forward to welcoming everyone to share in our journey and to celebrate the power of theatre and all the curiosity, bravery and freedom it brings.”

Phil Gibby, Area Director, South West, Arts Council England, said: “We are delighted to be welcoming Wise Children into the National Portfolio. Emma Rice has an exceptional reputation for artistic and directorial leadership, it’s fantastic that she will be basing her new theatre company in the South West. We’re excited by the creative opportunities that will come through this investment, giving more people in more places across the country the opportunity to benefit from the wide benefits that arts and culture bring.”