8 June 2020
Utopia Theatre launches the Creative Hub Online
Utopia Theatre today announces a new platform, the Creative Hub, bringing African theatre experts together to offer courses, workshops and events online. Utopia is partnering with national and international organisations, including Sheffield Theatres, to launch the free 6-month programme with support from the Arts Council’s COVID-19 Emergency Fund.
The Creative Hub will bring together some of the world’s leading African artists who will share their own knowledge and experience through workshops and events as well as offering 1:1 sessions with artists. The programme is designed to support the development of a sustainable talent pool, give black artists greater visibility and inspire the next generation of artists, ultimately strengthening black African communities within the Arts.
The Creative Hub guarantees paid work for over 30 freelance artists who will offer free courses, workshops and talks for people of African origin aged 16 and above. The courses include intensive weekly classes run by leading professionals in Directing, Stage Management, Playwriting, Dance, Drumming, Acting, Storytelling, Voice, Movement, Improvisation and Devising.
Moji Elufowoju, Founder and Artistic Director, Utopia Theatre said: “I’m grateful to the funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England. The Creative Hub ensures black artists continue to have income and remain visible as they continue to develop their craft and enhance the lives of the people in our community. This outlet enables people to engage with art and learn from some of the leading professionals in our industry.”
Max Farrar, Chair of Utopia Theatre Board said: “There's a vast amount of artistic talent among the peoples of African descent in the UK today. They bring new ideas, new techniques and new stories, enriching the nation's culture. But they get too little exposure, and there are too many barriers in developing the talents of the younger generation. This innovative programme by Utopia Theatre addresses these issues. It will develop creativity and inject joy - much needed in these difficult times.”
Robert Hastie, Artistic Director of Sheffield Theatres, where Utopia Theatre is a resident company, added:
“The diversity of our sector has never been more important and we recognise the urgent need to do more. As we move towards theatre’s return, the Creative Hub will make a huge difference to the visibility and inclusion of black artists and creatives. Sheffield Theatres is proud to partner with Utopia to support this programme.”
The Creative Hub will launch on Monday 29 June. Further details of the programme and how to get involved will be announced in the next couple of weeks.
About Utopia Theatre Limited
Utopia Theatre is an African Theatre company formed in 2012 to create for the British and international stage, theatre with imaginative flair. We produce old and new plays that appeal to a new audience and regular theatregoers.The company synthesises African and Western performing traditions to celebrate the meeting of different cultures, and presents productions in Sheffield and on tour, with programmes aimed at developing and promoting Black writers and performers.The company is dedicated to demonstrating the rich cultural heritage of Africa’s theatre canon, and in so doing, dispel stereotypes and encourage authentic voices from the African Diaspora.
Arts Council England is the national development agency for creativity and culture. By 2030 we want England to be a country in which the creativity of each of us is valued and given the chance to flourish, and where every one of us has access to a remarkable range of high-quality cultural experiences. Between 2018 and 2022, we will invest £1.45 billion of public money from the government and an estimated £860 million from the National Lottery to help deliver this vision. www.artscouncil.org.uk
Following the Covid-19 crisis, the Arts Council has developed a £160 million Emergency Response Package, with nearly 90% coming from the National Lottery, for organisations and individuals needing support. Find out more at www.artscouncil.org.uk/covid19