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Middle Child to pay freelancers to “think, breathe and play” as Hull emerges from lockdown

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Theatre workers in Hull are being invited to take part in a programme that will pay them to “think, breathe and play” as the city emerges from lockdown, thanks to Middle Child.

Recover, Restart and Reimagine will support 12 people to spend three weeks with the award-winning company to develop their practice.

Participants will take part in a mix of organised activity, including masterclasses and workshops, and self-led time to find their feet again following a year of upheaval.

They will each be paid £1,500 to take part in the programme, which runs over four days per week from 15 June to 2 July.

Middle Child artistic director, Paul Smith, said: “Everyone at Middle Child is determined to contribute to a sustainable re-emergence and reimagining of theatre in Hull, following the impact of the pandemic. 

“We believe this radical programme, which invests in people rather that projects, represents a good first step in doing so locally and represents a meaningful investment in the freelancers upon whom our work depends.

“The partly-curated, partly-self led programme offers a space to think, breathe and play without the pressure of an output, inspired by our Concrete Retreat writer residency.

“It’s designed to rebuild confidence, develop skills and take stock, in a safe space, which acknowledges what we’ve been through and the impact it has had on our work and our practices.”

(c) Wullie Marr Photography

Middle Child have supported artists in Hull throughout the pandemic, with commissions for their digital pantomime and Signal Fires projects late last year, as well as raising money for an artists’ crisis fund in April 2020.

The company will also feature in Absolutely Cultured’s Creative Hull festival, taking place in the city from 16-18 July.
Recover, Restart and Reimagine will include movement classes, a play reading group, group discussions, “play time” sessions and other workshops, alongside personal time.

It has been designed with a report by Freelancers Make Theatre Work in mind, as well as Middle Child’s own “Imagine the Future” listening exercise with freelancers. 

Paul added: “We have listened to the brilliant work undertaken by both Freelancers Make Theatre Work and our own Imagine the Future day and have made a decision which we hope enables deeper support alongside paid employment.

“This programme is representative of our ongoing desire to offer practical solutions, and to take action to renew our collective energy for an improved theatre industry. 

“We will continue to listen, take stock and lead necessary action across other areas of our company to improve what we do and how we do it.”

Recover, Restart and Reimagine is open to people, over the age of 18, who live and work in Hull and who contribute to making theatre in any way.

This can include, but is not limited to, lighting designers, costume designers, stage managers, designers, dramaturgs, producers, directors, actors and writers.

The deadline to apply is 9am on Tuesday 23 May. See www.middlechildtheatre.co.uk/rrr for more details. 

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