• Nottingham Playhouse has completed its line-up of associate artists to support artistic director Adam Penford with the appointment of Sarah ‘Rain’ Kolawole
  • Two new creative associate roles have been developed to support individual artists and companies in the East Midlands
  • Nottingham Playhouse’s artist development programme Amplify returns for 2019 after a successful first year

FINAL appointments have been made to roles created by Nottingham Playhouse to reflect the diverse and exciting talent within the industry and proactively support local theatre-makers.

The award-winning theatre appointed playwrights Amanda Whittington and James Graham and director Matthew Xia as associate artists in autumn 2018 and now announces Sarah ‘Rain’ Kolawole as its new associate artist, completing the line-up.

The associate artists will work closely with artistic director Adam Penford to help shape the artistic vision of Nottingham Playhouse, contributing to artistic planning and inspiring new ideas to be brought to Nottingham.

Adam said: “I am thoroughly looking forward to working with Amanda, James, Matthew and Sarah.

“We always strive to create work which reflects our society at Nottingham Playhouse. With that in mind, we aim for an equal gender split in the actors and theatre-makers we employ across each season so it was a natural extension of that policy to end up with an equal gender split across the associates too. All four Associates have a working-class influence in their backgrounds and their work.

“All four associate artists bring their own set of unique skills, experiences and interests with them, and will act as a sounding board for me in everyday tasks, including reading scripts and watching play readings.”

Sarah is a local spoken word artist and emerging playwright, and is a member of Amplify, Nottingham Playhouse’s artist development programme. Amanda, also from Nottingham, is the most performed female playwright in the country.

James, who grew up in Mansfield, is one of the UK’s leading writers through his prolific stage and screen plays, and Matthew is one of the UK’s most exciting theatre directors, directing a string of well-received and innovative productions over the last few years, including Shebeen, performed at Nottingham Playhouse in June last year, and One Night In Miami… which will be performed at the Playhouse in June this year.

The last 12 months have been a huge success for the theatre, after being shortlisted in The Stage Awards 2019 for Regional Theatre of the year and becoming one of the first regional theatres to be chosen by National Theatre Live for the highly acclaimed production of The Madness of George III.

The theatre has also attracted well-known actors in the last year, such as Mark Gatiss, Adrian Scarborough, Rebecca Trehearn, Karl Collins and Debra Gillett. Adam Penford and Stephanie Sirr, CEO of the Nottingham Playhouse, also received recognition on The Stage 100 2019 list of the most influential figures in UK theatre.

Two further creative associate appointments have also been made by the Playhouse: theatre company and Nottingham based all-female comedy collective Major Labia and local writer and actor Ben Norris.

These new roles come as part of the Amplify artist development programme, which aims to recognise talent within the region and support developing artists at different stages in their professional careers.

After launching a year ago, the programme – which is led by artist development producer Beth Shouler – now has more than 150 active members.

Beth said: “Amplify is in its first year and the calibre of applicants and standard of applications for creative associates was exceptional.

“Major Labia make hilarious and politically astute comedy theatre which we’ve seen sell out our studio and transfer to the main house. Ben Norris began in Nottingham Playhouse’s youth theatre and is a really exciting writer and actor. He’s also sold out the studio with his first show and the latest had an outing at Amplify 18 festival. We can’t wait to see what they make while creative associates at the Playhouse.”

For more information about Nottingham Playhouse visit www.nottinghamplayhouse.co.uk 

Photo Credit – Creative by Wren