The Regent Theatre & Victoria Hall has joined National Theatre-led Theatre Nation Partnerships network to build audiences for theatre across Stoke-on-Trent.
Theatre Nation Partnerships (TNP) is an innovative network of theatres and community organisations founded by the National Theatre in 2017 to grow nationwide engagement with theatre.
The new programme will reach over 500,000 audiences, artists and participants across England over three years – including Stoke-on-Trent.
TNP is a collaboration between 14 organisations across 13 areas, combining local expertise with nationally-delivered activity to build and sustain audiences for theatre across England. Activity includes touring to local venues and into schools, participatory opportunities and in-depth engagement with community groups.
Three productions will tour directly into schools in Stoke-on-Trent over the next three years, with a touring production of new play Shut Up, I’m Dreaming visiting secondary schools across the area in March 2023, as part of a national tour reaching over 12,000 students. Devised and directed by The PappyShow following residencies in three schools in Sunderland, Wolverhampton and Wakefield to bring young people’s voices into the heart of the creative process, Shut Up, I’m Dreaming explores the ambitions, hopes and feelings of the next generation in an uncertain world. The touring production will be accompanied by a post-show Q&A, teaching resources and professional development workshops for teachers.
The acclaimed National Theatre production of The Ocean at the End of the Lane will also visit the Regent Theatre in 2023 as part of a national tour.
Speak Up which sees young people working in collaboration with local artists and teachers to lead creative projects will also extend to schools in Stoke-on-Trent in January 2023. This dynamic programme has been developed with Theatre Nation Partners to inspire young people to speak up about the issues that matter to them and will reach 140,000 young people nationwide.
The other new partner organisations joining the Theatre Nation Partnerships (TNP) network today are Restoke in Stoke-on-Trent, Peterborough New Theatre with Selladoor Venues, Queen’s Theatre Barnstaple and The Landmark in Ilfracombe, North Devon with Selladoor Venues, Curve in Leicester, and Trowbridge Town Hall. Together, the 14 partner organisations will engage over half a million people over three years, more than doubling the existing reach of the network.
Theatre Nation Partnerships is supported by a £1.25million award from Arts Council England, made possible by National Lottery players. The National Theatre will triple this investment through further fundraising and commercial activity, and almost 90% of the total will be spent outside London directly in partner areas.
Frazer Hoyle, Theatre Director for The Ambassador Theatre Group’s Regent Theatre & Victoria Hall in Stoke-on-Trent said: “We’re thrilled to be announced as a new partner area for the Theatre Nation Partnerships network. This is an exciting time both for our venues and for Stoke-on-Trent as this partnership will bring a range of productions to our stages. It will also allow us to engage with local communities and schools and help to provide a greater selection of cultural offerings to the city.”
Rufus Norris, Director of National Theatre said: “Theatre Nation Partnerships has shown how effectively a network of theatres can work together to inspire new audiences for theatre, deepen roots within communities and create more opportunities for the next generation to engage in the arts. Our nationwide work is a key part of the National Theatre’s activity and we look forward to welcoming our new partners on board, learning from each other and creating an even bigger impact across the country over the next three years.”