China Plate repurposes to support NHS worker and young people

Responding to the needs of healthcare workers and aspiring young producers in the Midlands, independent production studio China Plate and Warwick Arts Centre are working together on digital projects designed to serve their communities. Both projects are supported by Coventry City of Culture 2021.

On 17 June, working with Coventry University and writer and director Nick Walker, China Plate will pilot a new programme designed to offer support to NHS and care workers at this incredibly challenging time. Responding to the need for a safe space for expression for some of those working in healthcare during the COVID-19 pandemic, the company will deliver an online workshop for healthcare workers to reflect and explore their experiences through creativity. The workshop will provide a space for participants to express themselves, reimagining how forum theatre can work remotely, and contributing to research around healthcare worker narratives and whether arts-based approaches can improve wellbeing. Afterwards, Nick Walker will shape material gathered from the workshop in an audio recording to be exhibited as part of a digital exhibition for Coventry 2021 and used by academics at Coventry University to develop further resources to help healthcare workers reflect and recover.

Later in the month, Young Producers’ Reclaimed Fest is a digital festival taking place between 26-28 June which has been programmed by, with and for 16-21 year-olds. It came about when China Plate’s Young Producers were unable to stage a planned Youth Takeover of Warwick Arts Centre and decided instead to take the festival online. The group of 15 young people who had been learning about producing put out a call for video submissions from young artists around the UK and will present their selection of dance, poetry and theatre online via YouTube Premiere. Young Producers is a free training opportunity for Coventry-based 16-21 year-olds that offers insight into what it takes to put on arts events from planning to delivery. For further details of the programme and to find out where to watch, visit https://bit.ly/YPReclaimed

Speaking about the projects, Ed Collier and Paul Warwick said “During this difficult time it’s been really important for us to think what our role as theatre producers can be both in repurposing our work to help the response to the Covid Crisis and also continuing our work to support the development of young artists and producers. These two projects are the first of a number of initiatives and digital events we will be launching across the summer.”

One of the Young Producers, Taybah said “The reason why putting on this festival is important to me is simply to take back what COVID-19 has taken from artists and also to allow audiences to celebrate the variety of arts present in the arts industry.”

Established in 2006, China Plate is one of the UK’s most prolific and respected independent producers of contemporary theatre, producing work that engages 35,000 audience members annually. The company’s central mission is to ‘challenge the way performance is made, who it’s made by and who gets to experience it.’ China Plate has worked with some of the UK’s most talented artists, including Caroline Horton, Inspector Sands, David Edgar, Chris Thorpe, Rachel Chavkin, Rachel Bagshaw, Urielle Klein-Mekongo and Contender Charlie. They are Resident Producers at Warwick Arts Centre, partners in the Rural Touring Dance Initiative (RTDI) founded to bring contemporary dance to rural venues around the UK, partners in the ACE Ambition for Excellence funded Musical Theatre Development Consortium led by Royal and Derngate Theatres, Northampton and Derby Theatre’s Performing Arts Producing Hub.

@YourOldChina | www.chinaplatetheatre.com

The workshop is part of the ‘Coventry Creates’ initiative funded by Coventry and Warwick Universities for Coventry City of Culture 2021. Young Producers is supported by Coventry City of Culture Trust, ESF Community Fund, Arts Council England, Arts Connect and Baron Davenport’s Charity.