Amplify: Celebrating a Year of Success and New Appointment News

Thursday 18th April 2019

A year since launching our Amplify artist development programme, Nottingham Playhouse is celebrating its success and looking to the future with two new appointments.

In recognition of the vast talent that exists within our region and the central role we play in the artistic ecology, we created Amplify to offer new opportunities and resources to support professional theatre-makers at any stage of their career. Since launching the scheme in early 2018, Amplify has:
• Recruited 150 members
• Presented its first Amplify Festival of new work
• Launched the Creative Associate scheme
• Opened ideas submission windows for local artists to submit scripts or production concepts
• Held Amp Nights – scratch nights for local artists to try out new ideas in front of an audience
• Offered three Plug In opportunities for Amplify members to meet and talk to our artistic leadership
• Given over 80 hours of dedicated one-to-one advice sessions
• Donated over 90 days of free rehearsal space and technical support
• Built new partnerships with other organisations supporting talent in the East Midlands, including Talawa, the Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme, Apples and Snakes and Open Door

Planning is already well underway to build on the success of Amplify’s first year. As part of the programme, the Playhouse is hosting The Party Somewhere Else 2019 festival in May and our next Amp Night takes place in June. Details of our second festival – Amplify19 – will also be announced shortly.

Carrying our programme forward will be Craig Gilbert, who joins Nottingham Playhouse as Artist Development Producer taking over the reins from Beth Shouler. Craig was previously Associate Director of the Original Theatre Company and Jerwood Director at the Young Vic. From 2016 until his appointment at Nottingham Playhouse, Craig was the New Works Associate at the Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse, working as the production dramaturg for the award winning Everyman Company, developing new work and creating platforms and opportunities for emerging artists across the North West.

Speaking about Amplify’s success, Adam Penford, Artistic Director, said:

Beth has done a tremendous job of building Amplify from scratch into a prominent programme within the regional arts scene in just 18 months. We are proud of the success stories that are already emerging. We’re very sorry to see her go but wish her all the best in her promotion. The standard of applicants for the role was incredibly high – evidence of the impact the programme is having – but Craig’s comprehensive experience made him a unanimous appointment. He brings a wealth of knowledge to the role and we’re all excited to see how Amplify and its members continue to flourish and under his passionate leadership.

Commenting on his new appointment, Craig said:

I’m delighted to be joining Nottingham Playhouse at such an exciting time for the theatre. Beth has done an amazing job with Amplify over the last year, I can’t wait to get started and build on that success. It’s a real privilege to be given the opportunity to work with the wealth of talented artists in the East Midlands and to support the creation of such inspiring, innovative theatre. I look forward to getting to know the current crop of Amplify artists and creating further opportunities for them to share their work.

We have also announced the appointment of our third Creative Associate . Joining Major Labia and Ben Norris in the scheme, is actor, writer and theatre-maker Lewis Doherty. Originally from Arnold in Nottingham, Lewis first got the theatre bug in a school production of Bugsy Malone and watching his brother in Oliver at Nottingham Playhouse. As Creative Associate, Lewis will be working with the Playhouse on a number of projects including the production of his new show, Boar, which follows the hugely successful WOLF.

Commenting on the news, Lewis said:

I’m absolutely over the moon to be an Amplify Creative Associate! Thank you to everyone at the Nottingham Playhouse. It’s an honour to be included in such good company and have the support of one of the best regional theatres in the UK. I’m really excited to be making work in my home city and also to be able to give back to the region and support other artists in the building.

Speaking about Lewis’ appointment, outgoing Artist Development Producer, Beth Shouler, said:

Lewis is a really talented artist making extraordinary theatre. His first show WOLF is an incredibly skilled debut and one of those great nights out at the theatre where the audience leave full of joy (and doing impressions of the characters). His show has often sold out by word of mouth which speaks to the quality of what he makes.