Giving a platform to ‘New Voices’

6th January 2022

As we enter the New Year our ‘Taking the Stage and Screen’ festival at MK Gallery gets ever closer.

Our festival, which showcases the incredible work of talented and inspirational women from theatre and film, will take over the Sky Room at MK Gallery from 30 March to 2 April.

In our previous blogs we have delved into two of the four different strands that will complement our four-day festival - ‘Newly Commissioned’ and ‘On Screen’. 

We now want to tell you about a third element - ‘New Voices’. This exciting strand brings together industry professionals and young people from Milton Keynes to create new and inspiring performances.

Supporting artists within our industry and the next generation of theatre makers is so important to us, particularly in these current times. 

As we know, during the pandemic theatres were forced to close, we haemorrhaged talent, and artists lost platforms to perform new plays, productions and more. By giving a stage to all artists we can help get exciting work back where it needs to be.

As part of our ‘New Voice’ programme, performing arts students from MK College will attend an 8-week workshop with the all-female professional devising theatre company, Haste Theatre, before performing their new piece on our festival stage.

In the workshop, students will take the question ‘What Happens Next?’ as a stimulus to develop a piece of theatre that represents the young people’s views, hopes, fears and dreams for the future.

We are delighted to have commissioned the multi-award-winning Haste Theatre to work with the young people on this project, and we’re very excited to see the outcome of this.

Young people have a voice and its time we help them get heard within our industry. By offering this opportunity, The Play’s The Thing and Haste Theatre can support young people in developing and shaping their creative futures, boosting their creativity, exploring new topics and avenues and providing insight into the industry.

Haste is a unified force of five women who create fantastical worlds to portray the everyday. They are multilingual actors, clowns, dancers, creators, puppeteers, singers and friends, whose shows sit in the uncomfortable place between laughter and tears. Fusing comedy and tragedy, the ugly and the beautiful – they shock, stimulate, and entertain. They create magic through simplicity and haunting harmonies. Their playfulness and energy is infectious!

You may remember them from their performance at our first ‘Taking the Stage’ event in 2019. 

We shall also be creating a Creative Youth Board (CYB) made up of young people in and around Milton Keynes. The CYB will provide not only a programme of personal and professional development opportunities, but it will also give members the opportunity to create a new piece of performance developed over a two-day residency with support from MK Theatre. Wow – we are really looking forward to this. Sign up to be part of the Creative Youth Board Now!

Sharing talent and new work within the industry is more important than ever, as is sharing culture within our community. 

Theatre, as we know, is a refuge and a place of escapism, joy and connection. By bringing new voices, engaging stories and fresh ideas to the stage, we will help to tell a variety of stories from a multitude of backgrounds and underrepresented groups to appeal to a wider and more diverse audience. That is what theatre is about - telling stories that we can all relate to in some way. We hope that we can achieve this through our ‘Taking the Stage and Screen’ festival. 

Please keep your eyes peeled for further information on ‘New Voices’ and an introduction to our fourth and final strand.

We hope you will be able to join us and witness some incredible new work on our local stage. 

Tickets are on sale now via the MK Gallery website. Tickets can be purchased for individual elements or for the full festival. Please see the website for further details

Thank you to Arts Council England for funding this project.