In August 2020, Camden People’s Theatre announced its biggest ever round of commissions. Now, we’re proud to announce the four artists selected for the Outside the Box commission: Pigfoot; Adam Welsh; John Akinde; and Anna Morrissey & Tristan Kajanus.
Additionally, we have seed commissioned two projects under the ‘Outside the Box’ banner: Kill the Cat’s Office Christmas Party and Knaive Theatre’s Us, Post 23-3.
Bespoke to the Covid era, Outside the Box commissions are to develop larger-scale projects – live, virtual or both – which explore what ‘live performance’ can be at a time of closed theatres.
CPT also sought out projects that communicate meaningfully – and promise exciting cultural encounters – with its local communities, themselves isolated in many cases by the Covid-19 pandemic.
These commissions will support R&D towards a digital or live sharing in autumn 2020 or spring 2021. The judging panel comprised members of CPT’s local community and artists from marginalised backgrounds alongside members of the CPT team.
See below for more information about the selected artists & their projects.
In 2018, 6.8% of adult deaths in Camden were attributable to air pollution.
In 2019, Camden Council hosted the UK’s first-ever Citizens’ Assembly. All 17 of the Assembly’s recommendations were adopted into the borough’s Climate Action Plan.
But in 2020, the International Energy Agency predicted we have only 3 months to prevent a post-lockdown emissions rebound, overwhelming efforts to prevent climate catastrophe…
‘HOT IN HERE: a carbon-neutral dance party’ (working title) will explore Camden’s role in the global climate and ecological crisis. This is a co-creation led by interviews between young climate activists in Camden and those at the ‘frontline of the crisis’ across the globe. Pigfoot will create a ‘carbon-neutral dance party’, a hopeful and multidisciplinary piece of ‘protest theatre’ powered by the energy generated by the performers’ collective bodies.
Pigfoot are a multi-award winning, carbon-neutral theatre company dedicated to making collaborative theatre with and for those grappling with the climate and ecological crisis, led by Bea Udale-Smith and Hetty Hodgson. Recent work includes How To Save A Rock, a bike-powered climate comedy for families, about how to still have hope.
‘MANDEM’ is both a campaign and a research and development project towards a web drama highlighting the current realities of prisoner experiences under Covid-19. John will curate a six-week campaign of podcast discussions and provocations with ex-prisoners and young men who have difficulties with the law. The ‘MANDEM’ project will centre around mental health, identity and justice – culminating in a web drama, Belly of the Beast, to be showcased online. As a campaign, ‘MANDEM’ will use various artistic forms to bring about a shared awareness of societal inequalities, the British prison experience, mental health and Covid-19.
Born and raised in East London, carrying with him a West African (Nigeria) heritage, John Akinde (also known as OSOM) creates work that seeks to entertain, challenge and provoke thought. Having developed his craft at a community youth club, learning how to engineer sound and produce creative projects and ideas, he has since undertaken commissions from Huffpost, Metro, the BBC, Sky Arts and more. As an entreprenuer, writer and musician, OSOM’s mission is to tell stories and make provocations through creative expression.
No Future is a multi-dimensional performance project merging verbatim theatre, installation and cinema, created with CPT’s local communities.
This project examines a community, a theatre and an artist figuring out how to rebuild in the face of uncertainty. It will deconstruct a night at the theatre and playfully put it back together, from a distance and in close up. ‘No Future’ investigates what theatre can be, what role it can play and whether we really need it.
The work is born out of Welsh’s inability to imagine the future, desire for genuine human contact and being on the verge of quitting theatre. Welsh says ‘No Future’ is about “finding closeness through distance, and performing hope against hopelessness.”
Adam Welsh is a writer, performer and sound designer. His debut show There but for the grace of God (go I) was developed with CPT and ARC, Stockton and most recently seen at Soho Theatre. He has worked with organisations such as The National Theatre, Headlong, Barbican, Schaubühne, Druid, Live Theatre, Young Vic, Sage Gateshead, The Yard, BAC, ARC Stockton, and Lincoln Center NYC. He is co-founder and associate artist of Obie award winning theatre company Dead Centre.
Anna Morrissey & Tristan Kajanus
‘North West’ is a headphones-based audio artwork mixing recorded verbatim testimony with sound design and recorded music. It documents the stories, testimonies and memories of the former students of North Westminster Community School, which stood in the Paddington Basin for 25 years before it was demolished in 2006. The site where nearly 40,000 comprehensive school students were once educated is now the home to luxury flats worth up to £1.5m. There is almost nothing to testify to the school’s existence apart from a one-line entry on Wikipedia.
Former students Anna Morrissey and Tristan Kajanus have come together in their first collaboration to give voice to this unique environment and to make an artistic stand against the erasure of our personal history in the face of gentrification.
Audience members will experience the work through headphones and will download the piece from Soundcloud, Mixcloud or YouTube audio channel. It will be designed as a composed experience to be listened to whilst walking a route around the Paddington Basin. It will also work as a static or listen-at-home experience. ‘North West’ offers audiences an immersive experience that transforms their sense of place and informs a reflection on change and gentrification.
Anna Morrissey has worked across theatre, opera and dance as a movement director and director. Her work has been shown on the West End, the National, the RSC, the Royal Opera House, the Young Vic and the Old Vic as well as many major regional venues and internationally. Recent credits as Movement Director: Translations (National Theatre), Emilia (Shakespeare’s Globe, West End), ANNA (National Theatre), King Charles III (West End, Almeida Theatre, UK tour, Broadway). As Director: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Nevill Holt Opera), Beyond The Deepening Shadows (Tower of London, Staging Director), We Are Here (Associate Director – NT, Jeremy Deller). As a maker of her own work, Anna has been commissioned to make dance theatre pieces by the RSC and the Royal Opera House and spent a year as Artist in Residence with Historic Royal Palaces.
Tristan Kajanus is a DJ, producer and record store owner. He spent 10 years producing and hosting The Essential Guide for Radio Monaco, is a former music director for Vnitroblock, and is currently working as music director with Manifesto Market to produce their own musical brand. Tristan has been involved in music since the age of 17, when he started Doing at Plastic People and working in sound and audio post production studios for film, TV and advertising agencies.
Us, (Post 23/3) by Kamal Kaan was commissioned by Knaïve Theatre for the inaugural season of their new online venue, Knaïve Theatre presents: A Digital Lyceum (Oct 22nd – Dec 21th, 2020). Kamal is part of a family working on the front lines during the Covid crisis, and the story of his family and his brother’s acute infection (which led to medically induced coma) has inspired him to write Us. Post 23/3. It tells the story of a family caught in a dilemma between working on the frontline and putting their loved ones at risk. Forcing them to re-evaluate the motivations of serving a country that views them as outsiders and dealing with the mental and emotional strain this takes on their personal relationships.
Kamal Kaan was story consultant for Clio Barnard’s forthcoming film, Ali & Ava, and his plays include Father’s Land in Mother Tongueand Breaking Up with Bradford for BBC Radio 4. Us, Post 23/3 is directed by Tyrrell Jones and produced by Knaïve Theatre, supported by Camden People’s Theatre.
Provocative and experimental award-winning theatre company, Knaïve Theatre was founded in 2015 by co-artistic directors, Tyrrell Jones and Sam Redway. With a focus on political, immersive and community theatre, they employ a range of styles and genres to connect, challenge and empower audiences and provoke discussion. Their first production, Bin Laden: The One Man Show, toured their UK, USA and Australia and received seven awards internationally. Their interactive adaptation of Karel Čapek’s science fiction classic, War with the Newts, featured an immersive set and sound design, and won Summerhall’s Lustrum Award for Outstanding Theatre at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, before touring the UK.