Guest Feature: How do we ensure artists continue to present bold and daring new work?

“In 2012, as a company of young artists, we realised that the gap between generating ideas and having them realised professionally is enormous, especially in London. Feeling overwhelmed by obstacles and weighed down by financial and practical considerations we asked ourselves; what can we do to reignite our creativity? How can we make more work? Where do we find more artists to collaborate with? The answer was Tell Tales.” – Bethan Dear, Artistic Director of Jackdaw

Tell Tales is an annual festival of work-in-progress performances curated by theatre company, Jackdaw. All work created during the Tell Tales process is collaborative; made by artists from various artistic backgrounds alongside a company of colleagues, friends, and strangers over an eight week period. The new work is then presented to an audience for 3 nights at the amazing East London, cultural hub, Rich Mix (Fri 13th – Sun 15th March, 8pm).

The idea was born as a reaction to the climate of theatres hostile to taking risks on young companies or embryonic ideas, with limited opportunities to develop work and present it as finished. We realised there are countless artists wanting to make bold and risky work, but due to lack of funding, aren’t in a position to test out such ideas to learn from their mistakes and successes in a safe environment. Tell Tales is not the only answer, there are of course other companies and venues that are reaching out to these kinds of projects and supporting their development. We do however feel that Tell Tales is part of a vital conversation that must continue to be had in order to encourage us all to play our part in ensuring new, brave and daring work continues to be made.

Tell Tales is guided and overseen by collaborators, James Blakey (Theatre Director), Chiel Busscher (Musical Director and Composer), Amy Clamp (Producer) and Duncan Robertson (Assistant Producer). This year we began by putting out a call for written applications and then meeting with shortlisted applicants. Five pieces of work were then selected to develop during the Tell Tales 2015 process. The projects we select are all at very early stages in their development and so through company workshops and independent rehearsals, they find their feet. During the company workshops run by James and Chiel, we have the unusual opportunity to receive and give peer feedback which is always incredibly useful for the works growth.

The end result is a performance filled with new, brave work spanning all art forms, created by an ensemble who will hopefully go on to work together long into the future. Tell Tales really is a performance event like no other so don’t miss it!

© Duncan Robertson and Amy Clamp

TELL TALES at Rich Mix…
Fri 13th – Sun 15th March, 8pm, £10/£8

Take risks, be brave, collaborate...welcome to Tell Tales 2015!

An extraordinary festival of performances spanning all art forms. Be the first to experience artists challenging their practice by making bold new work which pushes them out of their comfort zone. Designed to give our audiences an intimate and fun filled evening; enjoy a performance event like no other. From comedy to storytelling, live music to performance art, be prepared to be entertained and confused, shocked and moved, amused and bemused!


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