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People Power! (Your News)

People Power! (Your News)

Maverick launches London’s first People’s Theatre Company

New large-scale theatre production completely created by the community, with world-class help!

It’s the brainchild of Maverick’s Artistic Director, Nick Hennegan.

“It’s a new idea in creating theatre, with completely free access to anyone who wants to find out more and have a go, not just at acting, but sound, lights, directing, producing, set-painting, administration and everything and anything to do with creating a new theatre production,” said Hennegan.

“Maverick is all about access and with training in drama and the arts becoming ever more exclusive I think this will help. Participation is free and we are now Crowdfunding to pay top professionals from the world of theatre to come and tutor the company. We ran a similar production in Birmingham a few years ago and we had bar staff, baristas and barristers, young and old, from all backgrounds working together, and workshops from the likes of Barbara Houseman from the RSC.

Many people who were introduced to theatre by Maverick in the past have gone on to have successful careers in the arts. If this idea works as we expect it to in Hammersmith and Fulham we intend to roll the idea out nationally, using regional theatres as hubs and performance spaces.

But this is more than a traditional ‘community’ theatre experience. This is more in line with the ideas Joan Littlewood used to champion at the Theatre Royal, Stratford East, where the local community informs the theatre being created.”

Maverick has just returned from an acclaimed run at the Edinburgh Fringe with two working-class shows – a footballing Romeo and Juliet and a tragi-comedy written by Hennegan called P.A.L.S. (about four kids growing up on a council estate in Birmingham). Both shows transferred directly to London.

“Maverick is all about new audiences and practitioners,” said Chair, Kevin Grant. “And this is a highly unique way to attract new audiences and practitioners, with no bar to entrance or participation. Nick has further plans to develop the concept nationally. We hope other theatre and music practitioners will feel able to help and support us. Both Sir Derek Jacobi and Sheila Hancock have already been very encouraging.”

The company is fundraising now and Nick Hennegan is available for talks and workshops with community groups. It will begin rehearsals in the New Year, with the new productions at a Hammersmith and Fulham theatre in May 2020.

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Maverick is a registered charity, launched by the Lord Mayor of Birmingham in 1994. For nearly ten years it created and presented contemporary classics and new works at the Billesley Pub in Birmingham, attracting new audiences to the theatre, winning numerous arts awards and stimulating pub theatre in the city. It has toured the UK, Ireland and the USA and has presented a run of successful working-class productions at the Assembly Edinburgh Festival Fringe for the last two years, which are touring in 2020.

Nick Hennegan has an MA in Creative Producing for Theatre and Live Events and won a SOLT Stage One Bursary and top up.

He was nominated for Millennium Creative Briton and has written a number of acclaimed plays and won a Guinness Award through the Royal National Theatre.