Claire Symonds: Celebrating NPO success dedicated to artist development.


Last week, Arts Council England announced that The Lowry will receive an extra £60,000 every year for the next four years for our artist development programme.


In awarding this grant they have recognised The Lowry as an outstanding national incubator for performance makers, companies and their work. For the last four years, my role at The Lowry has been to  lead artist development and explore how we can help exciting and promising theatre makers and companies to achieve their potential. Over this time I’ve seen The Lowry go from supporting the creation of work to one that wholeheartedly believes in supporting the artist over and above any single show they might be making. The artists we support receive funding, technical support, marketing support and other resources to make new shows. Alongside that, every artist or company receives in depth, bespoke professional development support that helps them invest in their own future – which, in turn, results in them making more ambitious and dynamic new productions for audiences.


In the past we have worked mainly with theatre makers and companies but theatre is only one part of our programme at The Lowry. This funding will allow us to start exploring how we can apply the same philosophy to dance makers, circus makers, digital artists and even visual artists. I am excited to find out what works and what doesn’t, what approaches or concepts we can take from one artform into another and how we can create opportunities for our artists to learn from each other. I am looking forward to sharing our learning with other theatres, arts centres and universities around the country and working with our marketing team to find ways of taking our audiences on the journey with us.


Between now and next April we will be starting to experiment with this approach. Our Developed With The Lowry programme will support contemporary dance company Igor and Moreno and circus collaborators Natalie Reckert and Mark Morreau alongside spoken word artists Chanje Kunda and Fat Roland and theatre makers Sam Brady, Theatre Temoin and Rachael Young. We will be testing assumptions, researching new ways of working across the organisation and developing exciting new partnerships across the UK so that from April next year we can hit the ground running. I can’t wait to get started.


Written by Claire Symonds, Theatres Programmer and Producer.