Megaphone project launches to promote black artists in Scotland

Sara Shaarawi Sara Shaarawi. Photo: Henry Bell
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A series of three residencies for artists of colour has been launched in Scotland following a successful crowdfunding campaign.

The Megaphone residencies are a partnership between Scotland-based cooperative the Workers Theatre and playwright Sara Shaarawi. The campaign raised £12,510 and will provide three artists of colour with a £2,500 bursary, mentoring by a professional artist, access to working space and the opportunity to have their work published.

Speaking to The Stage, Shaarawi said: “We felt that the theatre scene in Scotland was getting quite stagnant and wasn’t taking risks. I was very upset at the lack of diversity in programming. I kept having conversations about diversity but no one was doing anything about it.”

She added: “I didn’t want to go through institutions or Creative Scotland because this is urgent. I’ve done the whole talking to institutions and you can end up talking for two years and it still won’t amount to anything.”

The residencies will last from April until a public sharing of each artist’s work in June, with the opportunity for additional support afterwards.

The Workers Theatre was set up by Shaarawi, Henry Bell, Harry Giles, Katherine McMahon and Poppy Kohner in 2015. Its manifesto states that it is “democratically owned and managed by its workers for its workers, its city, and its world” and that it will make work that is “populist but not shit”.

An open call for applicants will be made soon.