Stage Two is focusing on being a welcoming and safe space in Norfolk to discuss, explore and create work on a wide range of topics.
The learning and participation centre at Norwich Theatre Royal is set to host three seasons per year focusing on issues which directly affect people of all ages and backgrounds.
Each one will feature a mix of performances, installations, activities and events which aim to stimulate discussion and throw key areas of day-to-day life into sharp focus.
The Creative Matters series will begin this autumn with a focus on gender and sexual identity before a season in early 2018 examining mental health, and then the issues around dementia are explored in late Spring/early Summer next year.
Wendy Ellis, the theatre’s learning and participation manager, said: “We want to explore key areas of life in a creative way within a safe space.
“It is about including more people in the discussion about these issues while also using the power of creativity to build greater understanding and knowledge.”
Stage Two officially opened last summer to provide a dedicated space for Norwich Theatre Royal’s ambitious programme of learning and participation work that aims to support people of all ages through community engagement, work in education and opportunities to train and learn skills.
Now these themed seasons will aim to engage with communities uniting them around a theme to explore a range of issues in a creative and engaging way.
The first one which focuses on gender and sexual identity will include two days of free LGBTQ Heritage events to tie in with the national Heritage Open Days on September 8-9. This will include Sewgay which will display its patchwork quilt which documents LGBTQ history, the Sing With Pride choir which is open to everyone in the LGBTQ community and their family and friends, and Out140 which is a project which lets ordinary people tell their coming out stories in 140 characters or less.
There will also be some theatre performances. They include the critically-acclaimed theatre company Rhum and Clay will bring their exploration of masculine identity to the stage in TESTOSTERONE on September 27. It follows the story of Kit, a transgender man, who enters a male gym changing room exactly a year after his first injection of testosterone.
Stage Two will also be the home of a brand new piece of drama which will be cast and produced locally, and then performed in the auditorium. There will also be film showings, workshops and education work as part of the season which is being worked on with Norwich Pride.
Stephen Crocker, chief executive of Norwich Theatre Royal, is very excited about this strand of artistic and community engagement work. He said: “The Creative Matters season will provide a platform and safe space in the heart of our city for people of all ages to explore and engage with key issues in our world today. I believe passionately in the power of creativity to bring communities of people together and am delighted that we can launch the Creative Matters seasons at a time when this has never been more important.”
To find out more about the Creative Matters series, click here.