HOME announces additional commissioning partners for Homemakers

We are proud to announce additional commissioning partners for our Homemakers project, expanding the project’s scale nationwide.

Jude Christian, Associate Director at HOME, said: “We’re so proud to be joining forces with such a powerhouse group of commission partners, and to see what the brilliant artists they’re bringing on board will create.”

The latest works to be announced include:

  • ARC Stockton – Vici Wreford-Sinnott
  • Cambridge Junction – Zoe Svendsen and Hannah Jane Walker
  • Candoco Dance Company – Jo Bannon
  • Chinese Arts Now – Naomi Sumner Chan
  • Complicite – Sasha Milavic Davies and Lucy Railton
  • Fermynwoods Contemporary ArtAnna Brownsted
  • Harrogate Theatre – Edalia Day and Hidden Track Theatre
  • Lime Pictures – Seiriol Davies and Matthew Blake
  • Music Theatre Wales and London Sinfonietta – Elayce Ismail and Alex Ho
  • Oldham Coliseum Theatre – Hafsah Aneela Bashir
  • RADA Festival – Hot Coals, Karen Cogan, Leaphia Darko, Tanmay Dhanania, Tom Kane, Hester Ullyart
  • Yellow Earth – Stacy Makishi
  • Z-Arts and STUN – Chad Taylor

Music Theatre Wales and London Sinfonietta are partnering on the creation of an entirely new piece of music theatre for screen-based audiences, bringing together two artists they had been hoping to work with and who had not previously met: composer Alex Ho and theatre maker Elayce Ismail. Working collaboratively online, they are exploring ideas around dissociation and concepts of reality using found sounds and found materials

Michael McCarthy, Artistic Director of Music Theatre Wales said: “Music Theatre Wales and our partners at London Sinfonietta are delighted to be collaborating with HOME on this inspiring and uplifting programme. Commissioning artists right now to create new art for current circumstances is the right and positive thing to do, and gives us an opportunity to develop our performance work on alternative platforms.”

Cambridge Junction have commissioned new work from Zoe Svendsen, director of METIS,  and Hannah Jane Walker. Hannah Jane Walker will be developing a poetic experiment in audio fiction, that explores how we are having a bit of a breather from our regular life rhythm; how there are people fighting for breath; and how an automatic body reflex has become a heavily focused on act.

Using an interactive-documentary-performance-script, METIS will invite participant-households to imagine how we would like our world to be different when we re-emerge from lockdown.

Matt Burman, Artistic Director and CEO at Cambridge Junction, said: “It is as important as ever for those of us who can to support artists and the development of new work, so that we might continue to find ways to make sense of the world, to connect and culturally nourish people wherever they may be. Collaboration is key to finding new solutions, new ways of working, and in pathfinding through a very different landscape, and we are happy to be working with our friends and co-producers at HOME on this project.”

Cambridge Junction have also partnered with Fermynwoods Contemporary Art to commission Anna Brownsted to work with artists from across three countries – the UK, the US and Estonia – on Week Nine, a cinematic soundscape for headphones, composed through long-distance collaboration.

James Steventon, Director, Fermynwoods Contemporary Art, said: “While we are confined to our homes, Fermynwoods Contemporary Art are determined to use the opportunity to demonstrate that artists are both problem solvers and an important part of all of our lives. We are delighted to be partnering with HOME and Cambridge Junction to enable Anna Brownsted to create a new work to reach people at home.”

Lime Pictures have commissioned new work from Seiriol Davies and Matthew Blake. The two met whilst working with Gideon Reeling and Punchdrunk 13 years ago. Since then, they’ve made lots of work together including How to Win against History and the upcoming Milky Peaks.

Using their experience with subversive musicals as well as immersive and interactive theatre, Seiriol and Matthew are developing GoldenQuest for the Homemakers project. Inspired by fantasy roleplaying, from the 90s television masterpiece gameshow Knightmare to the brilliantly tacky VHS boardgames like Atmosfear, GoldenQuest is a wonky, gaudy, hilarious and musical adventure into and around the audience’s homes – showing us how, even when we can feel totally out of control, there is always joy and hope to be found.

Louise Sutton, Head of Drama at Lime Pictures, said: “At Lime we are always seeking to work in new and interesting ways with talent from across the creative spectrum. When we first spoke to HOME about this initiative, I was in the middle of reading the brilliant and bonkers Milky Peaks and it struck me that if anyone was going to reach across through the screen and into people’s homes and hearts, it was Seiriol and Matthew. Despite the circumstances, we are truly delighted to be collaborating with them on this piece and hope it brings a few moments of escapism and whimsy.”

For Chinese Arts Now, Naomi Sumner will create a new piece titles, Wait, I’m from Wuhan.

She said: “Wait I’m from Wuhan is partly inspired by my own experiences as a transracial adoptee, adopted from Hong Kong into a White British family. I am part of several Facebook groups for Chinese adoptees and since the outbreak of COVID-19 there has been an increasing amount of worry and fear among group members when thinking about how their birth families may have been affected. Adoptees from Hubei province are especially worried that birth family members have died of corona virus and they have now lost the opportunity to meet people with whom they share a significant biological connection. On the flip side they wish they could find a way to reassure their birth families that they are ok. As well as dealing with anxiety related to their birth families, these Chinese adoptees are dealing with coronavirus related racism online and in real life, sometimes feeling unable to talk about these experiences with their White parents.”

An-Ting Chang, Artistic Director, Chinese Arts Now, said: “Chinese Arts Now is delighted to partner with HOME. Naomi’s piece will be an important voice about a rarely heard story particularly during this time when the Chinese community is often viewed with certain prejudice. We are also excited to see the other works and explore how theatre can be told in a variety of different ways digitally.”

The collaboration between Jo Bannon and Candodco Dance Company is one that has been developing for some time.

Charlotte Darbyshire, Artistic Director, Candoco Dance Company, said: “Candoco Dance Company is delighted to be a commissioning partner for Homemakers and to join forces with HOME to commission disabled artist Jo Bannon.

“Jo and I have been looking for ways to engage in creative dialogue and research for some time and the Homemakers initiative feels like a fantastic and timely way to do this.”

Oldham Coliseum Theatre Associate Artist Hafsah Aneela Bashir, inspired by her love of poetry, is creating the Poetry Health Service as a tool for healing. Using both her own poetry and gifted poems, she will provide poetry panaceas by the people for the people. Emphasising the importance of art to our mental and emotional health, the PHS will be accessible both online and via a dedicated phoneline where people will be able to respond to the service. The idea came from daily Insta Live readings Hafsah has been delivering every day at 2.30pm since the lockdown.

Artistic Director Chris Lawson said: “We’re delighted to be working in association with our Greater Manchester neighbours HOME. We feel the PHS project, led by Hafsah, is a vital and necessary artistic service that we are proud to support.”

For Z-arts, Chad Taylor has created a vibrant new dance piece, exploring dance through digital media.

Chad said: “I’m really excited to be creating art in a whole new way through the Homemakers Commission – at a time when we’re having to think differently about how we make dance, I am excited to be able to bring it to people in a whole different way. I am enjoying creating a conversation through dance and social media.”

Zoe Pickering, Head of Programming and Big Imaginations Manager, Z-arts, said: “Z-arts have been looking for ways to work with Chad, a local Hulme artist for a long time, and are delighted to be able to support him now to create something amazing for our families and beyond.”

Vici Wreford-Sinnott, commissioned by ARC Stockton, is a disabled writer, theatre director, activist and feminist. Her piece Siege gives space for disabled performance makers to talk about transgressive women – women who break boundaries, defy definitions and explode stereotypes in their work. In Siege, Mim, performed by the brilliant Tammy Reynolds, is a funny, edgy radical, living a subversive lifestyle right slap bang in the middle of the radar, with a shame-free approach to the disabled female body. But is it really as easy as that?

Vici said “As a live performance maker dependent on the electric energy the exchange with a live audience brings, the initial prospect of making work for the internet, which feels bigger than the universe and is currently awash with amazing talent, was quite daunting. But once I’d connected to the themes that interest me most – funny bold women, lesser heard voices and a punk sensibility – I knew it was an opportunity to create a space for something very exciting, explosive possibly.”

The new commissions are in addition to brand-new HOME-commissioned online works by Bryony Kimmings, Plaster Cast Theatre and Chris Thorpe & Yusra Warsama, details of which were announced last week, and which will be available on the HOME website from tomorrow, May 1.Image:

Image: Jo Bannon, commissioned by Candoco Dance Company