From a long list of 121 nominations, Theatre Centre, with Theatre503, has been announced as the National Showcase Organisation for London for this year’s Achates Philanthropy Prize.
The 2020 Achates Philanthropy Prize shines a light into the role of the cultural sector during the Covid-19 pandemic, celebrating how cultural organisations across the country have responded to the challenges of 2020, despite themselves being under threat. This important prize shows the value and power of culture and how arts organisations across the country have stepped up to support their communities.
During the pandemic, Theatre Centre, in collaboration with Theatre503, commissioned 19 of the UK’s most exciting playwrights, including Jon Brittain, Nessah Muthy, Amy Ng and Roy Williams OBE, to write a series of short pieces for the nation. This project culminated in a festival broadcasting a digital patchwork of the recorded submissions from across the country to share a multitude of voices.
Highlighting the connective power of storytelling at a time when we have been so isolated, the project showed the talent, creativity, diversity and breadth of the nation. The resulting digital festival embodied a sense of community and shared experience.
Theatre Centre’s very ethos aims to use theatre to empower children and young people, using their voices and ideas to make change in themselves and the world around them. Diversity and inclusion are core to their practice so that they can best reflect and relate to the experience of children and young people today. This diversity was reflected in the 160+ submissions from people across the UK.
Rob Watt, Artistic Director of Theatre Centre said: “This prize is testament to everyone who took part in the project in such challenging times, from the 500+ people from across the UK who submitted films, the 19 writers who wrote such brilliant stories, many freelancers and the team from Theatre503 and Theatre Centre. We are delighted that ImagiNation has been awarded the Achates Philanthropy 2020 prize with seven other awesome and important projects from across the nation.”
Emma Rees, Executive Director of Theatre Centre added: “It’s an honour to be selected from such an incredible list of projects. We’re very proud that our national work has been recognised in this way.”
Lisa Spirling, Theatre503’s Artistic Director commented: “For Theatre503, getting the chance to work with Theatre Centre on the ImagiNation project was a much needed light in a dark time. It gave brilliant writers work, brought together friends, families and peers in a creative adventure. This recognition is the icing on the cake.”