We are delighted to have recently been joined by a three new Associate Artists, and a new Trainee Producer.
Continuing our commitment to nurturing the talent of the future, the four new posts will cover the areas of directing, devising, new writing and artist development. The new team members are Sonny Nwachukwu, who will bring his skills to directing and devising; emerging director/producer of film, playwright, poet and author, Britny Virginia, who will also be working on directing and devising; and writer, director, dramaturg, and theatre maker, Kate Lovell, who will be cover the areas of new writing and artist development. The three associate artists will be joined by former Graeae Beyond participant, Robyn Bowyer, as a trainee producer.
Jenny Sealey Artistic Director of Graeae says – “I am so thrilled to be extending the Graeae family, by welcoming these four fabulous artists into the fold. Graeae has always been a learning and evolving company, and in these turbulent times it feels so important to be bringing in fresh new ideas and lived experiences. I am very excited to be working with these brilliant individuals who will help shape Graeae’s future.”
Sonny Nwachukwu is a writer, director, and performer based in London. His work is multi-disciplinary, spanning across writing, poetry, dance, theatre and anything that lies beyond. His work primarily focuses on the African and Caribbean diaspora and incorporates dance and literature. In addition, Sonny’s academic background in Psychology informs much of his work. He received dance training from authentic West African and dancehall teachers and has performed with numerous Afrobeats and dancehall artists working across the UK. In 2019 Sonny was awarded an Unlimited and Spirit of 2012 commission to create his first full length work entitled Saturn Returns. Other current works include Triple Threat (2019), Eve and Cain (2021) and (Re)Union (2021). Sonny is a published author (Saturn Returns 2021) and the founder of GatewayArts Productions.
Sonny says – “I’m very excited to join the Graeae family as an associate artist focusing on directing and devising. Trainee Leadership roles are rare and far between in the sector and I’m looking forward to this challenge at Graeae as I take the next steps in my career.”
Britny Virginia is a 24-year-old emerging director/producer of film, playwright, poet and self-published author. Born on the Caribbean island of St Lucia, much of her work is influenced by her heritage, her disability and her faith. She’s produced/directed several video productions with a poetic narrative, one of which was screened at Channel 4 headquarters and Hoxton Arches after being commissioned by 4Talent on a Content Production programme. She has most notably produced, devised and platformed creative events for Theatre Peckham as part of their Spring 2021 resident company NO TABLE. In 2020, Britny released her first poetry book titled, So, I’ll Stay, Sitting with You.
Britny says – “Graeae’s ethos is pivotal and essential to bettering society and I’m glad I am a part of the solution to help dispel the misconceptions of disability, to empower and amplify disabled voices and to create striking work that is sure to inspire for years to come!”
Kate Lovell is a disabled and neurodivergent writer, director, dramaturg, and theatre maker. She views her art practice as activism and is committed to making work with, for and about marginalised people and shining a light on less explored subjects. Kate was awarded a Testing Ground commission by the New Wolsey Theatre in 2020 to develop a new play for theatre entitled Zero. Her short play, Selfie, was showcased as part of Graeae’s Crips with Chips at Home in 2021 and she is currently working as dramaturg and writer on the disabled-led project Define Your Journey, an Arts Council funded online interactive experience. Kate was co-artistic director of Bread and Goose theatre for ten years during which time she worked as writer, director, and facilitator on numerous site-specific performances, engaging the local community alongside professional theatre makers. Most recently she developed Our Memory Store in collaboration with Supersum, creating in-home artistic experiences for people with dementia during lockdown. She spent five years working as an Agent for Change at Theatre Royal Stratford East as part of the national Ramps on the Moon project, working to create a step-change in the industry for both deaf and disabled creatives and audiences.
Kate says – “I am thrilled to be taking up the role of Associate Artist and to become a part of the pioneering force for change and artistic innovation that is Graeae Theatre. I am excited to meet and work with the deaf and disabled theatre makers of the future.”
Robyn Bowyer is an accomplished, highly experienced, and dynamic creative project manager. A graduate of the Graeae development programme, Beyond, she has until recently been the programme co-ordinator for Wire Aerial Theatre. Her other experience includes Marketing and Events Lead at Blackburne House / School of Entrepeneurs and Marketing and Events Co-ordinator at Constellations / Hinterlands
Robyn says – “Producing for Graeae, a theatre company that perfectly aligns with my values is a dream come true, learning from the trailblazers of our industry. Beyond excited to make change happen!”
Photo: Alison Baskerville