A new programme for up-and-coming artists in Chelmsford is launching in the city. Chelmsford City Theatres is running its first ever season of ‘Emerge’, a pilot programme to support local performing arts talent.

£5,000 and a range of other resources available

Commissioned artists will receive £5,000 of funding, along with substantial in-kind resources to create and perform a new show. The productions must be relevant to the local community, diverse, and accessible to all audiences. Each commission will deliver three live performances at the Cramphorn Studio, with a dress rehearsal to local performing arts students to encourage future applicants to the scheme.

Commissions for Chelmsford and Essex artists

Three separate ‘Emerge’ commissions will be available: two for Chelmsford-based artists and one based in Essex. Applicants can be solo artists or part of a small group or company that has been operating for under three years. Chelmsford City Theatres’ artistic director Ian Knowles says the project is an important step in supporting the city’s new talent.

“Up until now Chelmsford’s emerging performers, producers and creatives would have had to look further afield for an exciting funded opportunity like this. ‘Emerge’ is helping us to retain our home-grown talent and nurture them at their local theatre. I can’t wait to meet the artists and theatre companies who apply and to help those successful to develop their ideas.”

Chelmsford City Theatres’ artistic director, Ian Knowles
An exterior shot of Chelmsford's Cramphorn Studio in dalytime
Performances will take place in the Cramphorn Studio

Funding secured from Arts Council England

The project has been made possible thanks to Arts Council England National Lottery Funding secured for the theatres by the charity Culture Chelmsford. Their executive director, Rebecca Hughes, says the whole city will feel the benefit.

“After 16 very difficult months, local artists and theatre groups will get an important foothold in their city’s main theatre, which extends far beyond the financial funding they’ll receive. A successful arts sector is vital to a thriving city and cultivating the talent on your doorstep is a key part of this, so this is great news for everyone who lives in Chelmsford.”

Culture Chelmsford’s Executive Director, Rebecca Hughes

Application deadline is 25 July

Artists interested in the Emerge commissions can fill out an application form on the Chelmsford City Theatres’ website. The theatres are interested in working with artists who create works that reflect contemporary society. People of all ages and cultural backgrounds, including those with accessibility needs, are encouraged to apply. The closing date for entries is midnight on Sunday 25 July.

By Julie Weight

Julie writes stories and creates videos for Chelmsford City Council. Contact her at julie.weight@chelmsford.gov.uk or on 01245 606984.

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