A group of Performing Arts graduates from Coventry University’s School of Art and Design (CSAD) are working with internationally-renowned theatre company Frantic Assembly
to produce and perform a play in the city later this month.
The performance, entitled Lucky, will take place on Friday 13th January in the Ellen Terry Building, Jordan Well, and will incorporate Frantic Assembly’s trademark physical style – a combination of movement, dance, music and text.
Thirteen Coventry University graduates, who studied a range of degree programmes from Theatre and Professional Practice to Dance Making and Performance, will script, choreograph and manage the technical aspects of the play under the direction of two of Frantic Assembly’s lead practioners.
In a twist that will test the mettle and the creative instincts of the graduates, the group will have just one week to devise and create the show from scratch, with ten of them focusing on the script and onstage performance while three others work on the music, lighting and sound.
The company will rehearse throughout the week at the University’s dedicated rehearsal space in its Institute for Creative Enterprise (ICE), before moving into the Ellen Terry Building on Jordan Well where the one-off performance will take place.
Coventry University’s School of Art and Design is funding the project through its Creative Futures office, which was set up to support and seek out employment opportunities for students and graduates of the arts.
The link-up with Frantic Assembly is intended to give the graduates a first step into work as freelance performers, as well as providing them with mentored guidance from expert theatre practitioners and an unprecedented experience of life in the creative industries.
Rachel Dealtry, who graduated from Coventry University in June with a first class honours degree in Theatre and Professional Practice, said:
To begin 2012 in residency with a theatre company like Frantic Assembly is a fantastic career opportunity. There is a lot of competition in the job market for the creative industries, but Coventry University has been great in supporting its art and design graduates with initiatives like this. I am beside myself with excitement about developing further as a performer.
Professor Mark Evans, Associate Dean of Coventry School of Art and Design, said:
This is a magnificent opportunity for the Performing Arts graduates involved. Work experience is one thing, but the chance to act as a fledgling theatre group under the guidance and mentorship of practitioners from an acclaimed company like Frantic Assembly is unprecedented. It’ll give our graduates a unique insight into real life operations in the creative industries, and will hopefully set them on the right course to be able to develop their careers as self-employed performers.
Through the Creative Futures office at Coventry University we’re providing dedicated support and training both to help students on courses in art and design, and to prepare them for the varied career paths that are open to them in the creative industries. An opportunity like this could open many doors for these graduates.
Neil Bettles, Creative Associate at Frantic Assembly, is one of the practitioners working with the graduates. He said:
Five days to create an original and dynamic piece of theatre is a huge challenge, but a challenge that we thrive on. We are very much looking forward to working with Coventry University to make what will be a blistering 45 minutes of theatre that will leave the participants with skills and an experience to develop as theatre practitioners.
'Lucky' will be a fast-paced mixture of movement and text, based on our superstitions and everyday rituals. All of the elements will be created within the five days and the participants can expect to be pushed very hard mentally and physically. It is an exhausting process but we hope it is also inspiring and thoroughly rewarding. Our audience on the Friday evening will be the first to witness the outcome and be part of an exciting evening of fresh, uncompromising theatre.
The play marks the first occasion Frantic Assembly has worked with Coventry University on a creative project, and is part of the School of Art and Design’s ongoing efforts to encourage its students and graduates to engage with enterprising initiatives which will help them into employment.
It is intended that the play produced by the graduates in conjunction with Frantic Assembly will be able to be re-performed at a number of venues around the UK once the project is complete.
Creative Futures is the employability unit in Coventry University’s School of Art and Design. Based on the University campus, its staff liaises closely with the careers service and other organisations to provide support to both undergraduates and graduates to help with planning their career, finding employment, setting up business ventures and securing placements as part of their course.
Frantic Assembly creates thrilling, energetic and unforgettable theatre. The company attracts new and young audiences with work that reflects contemporary culture. Vivid and dynamic, Frantic Assembly's unique physical style combines movement, design, music and text.