Physical theatre company Gecko has announced a large-scale outreach programme aimed at local artists and people from refugee and migrant backgrounds.
The programme accompanies a spring 2018 tour of Gecko’s latest show, The Wedding, which explores issues of migration and social cohesion.
Arts Council England has supported the outreach programme with £99,970 of strategic touring funding.
The programme will involve selecting an associate artist in each of the venues the tour is visiting, and the associates will attend a three-day training course with Gecko from September 27 to 29.
During the course, the associates will work alongside Gecko’s devising performers and the company’s artistic and associate directors, training them in Gecko’s style of physical devising and also training them to facilitate workshops. Each of the artists will be recruited by the venues themselves.
The associate artists will then have a two and a half to three-day residency in autumn with two of Gecko’s ensemble members, during which they will work with 16 young people from the community from a mixture of local and migrant or refugee backgrounds. The residency will focus on exploring the themes of social cohesion raised in The Wedding.
During the performance week at each venue, the associate artist will be involved in delivering a free half-day workshop alongside Gecko ensemble members for audience members who wish to engage further with the show.
The aim is to create a manifesto that is unique to the local area which can act to raise awareness of the themes in the show and encourage action. Audiences will also be invited to a post-show panel discussions in each venue.
Overall, the project will engage with more than 750 participants across the UK. Gecko aims to develop younger theatre audiences, explore new ways for venues and companies to collaborate, and grow the relationship between each theatre and its local community.
The Wedding is currently on tour and visits Manchester, Exeter, Poole and Truro in September and October.
Venues for Spring 2018, which will be participating in the outreach programme, are yet to be announced, with the exception of the previously announced Watford Palace and Nottingham Playhouse. It is thought there will be five or six more participating venues.