Theatres-in-the-round consortium aims to promote transfers

Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough. Photo: James Drawneek Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough. Photo: James Drawneek
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A consortium of theatres-in-the-round, which is being billed as the first of its kind, has been launched, with participating venues co-commissioning and collaborating on work.

Theatres involved in the group include Manchester’s Royal Exchange, Scarborough’s Stephen Joseph Theatre and Bristol’s Tobacco Factory.

A first meeting for the consortium, which is currently made up of nine theatres, took place at the Royal Exchange last month, with the group planning to meet about once a month at each of the venues involved.

Paul Robinson, who is artistic director of the Stephen Joseph Theatre, said: “As theatres-in-the-round, we felt a bit isolated in what we did.

“We felt like our models were not as flexible and tourable when you want to try and keep things in a round configuration.

“What’s great and unique about the round is that the performers behave like you normally behave – you don’t behave as if you have an audience in one place.”

At the meeting, the consortium discussed ways they could work together to produce more theatre.

Robinson went on to say: “We started talking about our configurations and whether they could fit into each other’s spaces.

“I certainly left the meeting feeling very hopeful that there was more flexibility and opportunity for us.

“We are hoping to co-commission and collaborate on work, and working together will give us the opportunity to make more work.

“As far as I’m aware, this is the first time something like this has been set up.”

He added: “For us, it is about the fact that the Stephen Joseph Theatre is trying to get our work out there and seen by people out there.

“We also discussed the possibility of taking work from theatres in mainland Europe.”