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| Niamh Hicks

BPT Awarded Funding from Cultural Bridge in Partnership with English Theatre Leipzig

Co-creating across borders: A tale of two cities

We are excited to share the news that BPT has been picked as part of the Cultural Bridge programme. We’ll be partnering with the fabulous English Theatre Leipzig (ETL) in Germany. Together we’ll use this funding to foster a meaningful creative working relationship. We’ll collaborate internationally and develop hybrid theatre approaches based on each other’s work.

As organisations, we share underlying community-focused and participatory values, but we use different methods to create and deliver theatre workshops as part of our socially engaged practice. Through the Cultural Bridge programme, we look forward to sharing and learning from each other’s differing approaches, expanding the scope of both organisations and creating a greater appreciation of what is possible, both artistically and organisationally through collaboration.

“We’re delighted to continue investing in Cultural Bridge with our partners across the UK and in Germany, and we are excited to see the impact of this next round of partnerships. They will build on the work the programme has already done to create new connections between communities in England and Germany, giving artists and organisations a chance to develop ideas and projects in collaboration with their peers and to gain new insights by working across borders.”

Simon Mellor, Deputy Chief Executive Arts & Culture at Arts Council England

Image Credit: Turamania Art

About the project

This is year one of what we hope will a longer term partnership between BPT and ETL. We are planning a hybrid project that blends the workshop practices of our two theatre companies, combining the longer community-led discussions of BPT and the interdisciplinary “make a play in a day” approach of ETL. The project will be community-focused, engaging members, theatre practitioners and the general public to co-design environmentally and socially motivated performances using our mixed-methods approach.

In the first stage of the project, we plan to learn from each organisations’ practices through physical meetings, in which we will attend each other’s workshops and share our methods. We will continue this journey online to share and reflect on these approaches. Once we have established a solid working practice, we will facilitate the community-led component of the project. Members from our two organisations will attend online meetings to agree upon a theme that they are interested in exploring through performance. The theme will be something that is relevant to environmental or social topics that overlap between the two cities, Brighton and Leipzig.

Based on this theme, members will go out into their respective local communities and conduct semi-structured conversations with the public. Members will be invited to a weekend workshop in each respective city to explore the findings of the conversations and create a short
performance. Parts of the workshop and performance will be live-streamed to the other City so that the process can be shared with the other organisation.

Image Credit: Rosie Powell

Timeline for the project

We are excited to welcome ETL to Brighton in early June 2024 , where they’ll attend our workshops, see how we work in the room, and generally explore our City. The BPT team will visit Leipzig in September to do the same.  In November we’ll hold a Brighton/Leipzig Participant Zoom, which will be a co-creation session deciding a theme, questions and training for participants on holding conversations.

Members from each organisation will then hold conversations with the general public on the chosen theme in January 2025. The simultaneous weekend workshops in Brighton and Leipzig will happen in mid February 2025, finishing in a low key sharing of material.

So there are lots of opportunities for members to get involved in the project! We. Can’t. Wait.

This project is funded by Cultural Bridge, which celebrates bilateral artistic partnerships between the UK and Germany through the collaboration between Arts Council England, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, British Council, Creative Scotland, Fonds Soziokultur, Goethe-Institut London and Wales Arts International / Arts Council of Wales.