The Routes North initiative is a partnership between ARC in Stockton, The Lowry and Theatre in the Mill in Bradford. It has a primary aim to develop exciting work with up-and-coming theatre makers in the north of England.
Now in its third year, Routes North has already helped 154 Collective and Geddes Loom develop their productions, and for 2015, Northern Lines new professional production arm, Soroush, will be working to bring the play My Brother’s Country to the stage at all three venues.
Routes North offers an attractive package for theatre makers with the three venues offering marketing and box office support, technical advice, post-show PR and ultimately, two weeks of rehearsal space and two live shows open to the public at each venue.
After a successful application from Javaad Alipoor, Artistic Director of Northern Lines and his working partner, Natalie Diddams, My Brother’s Country will be the first touring production the pair has produced, which has been made possible by Routes North.
My Brother’s Country tells the powerful story of the life of Fereydoun Farrokhzad, the Iranian singer, TV presenter, producer, poet and political activist and the closest thing that Iran has ever had to a gay icon.
The cast of four actors will invoke the life of Fereydoun in both Iran and in Europe; telling a story about sexuality and repression, exile and performance, as well as how the Middle East came to be as it is through a poetic and trans-lingual story.
Javaad commented: “It’s really exciting for Natalie and I as artists, as well as Soroush as a company, to be able to work with venues as important and prestigious as the Routes North partners, through a process that develops a close working relationship from the beginning.
The work I make, and the play that Natalie and I will make in particular, is work that can be hard to relate to for traditional audiences and venues. My background in community art means I have relied on building audiences from sections of society that don’t usually engage with theatre, in a very hands on way, and have already learned a lot about how different kinds of professional venues handle the different challenges relevant to touring work.
So as well having the invaluable support of ARC, The Lowry and Theatre in the Mill as artistic mentors, I am happy to be beginning the journey of developing an ongoing audience for my work regionally and nationally.”
Annabel from ARC said: “Collaborating with other venues to provide packages of support for theatre-makers has proved to be a really effective way of supporting and presenting new work, and we are really excited to be working with Javaad and Natalie this year.
By getting involved in the show at the very outset, we are able to build relationships with the artists throughout the creative process and work with them to reach out to new audiences.
ARC, Theatre in the Mill and The Lowry each offer very different environments to make and show the work, which helps theatre-makers prepare for wider distribution of their work in the future.”