Artistic Directors of the Future’s revolutionary Up Next leadership initiative catapults six extraordinary ADF members, from a wide range of culturally diverse backgrounds, into positions of leadership to create tomorrow’s arts and culture landscape. This no hand-holding initiative presents a one of a kind opportunity for ADF members to take the keys, take the budgets, take the space and change the game.
Artistic Directors of the Future (ADF) launched their revolutionary leadership programme Up Next, in partnership with Battersea Arts Centre and Bush Theatre, supported by Arts Council England Sustained Theatre Fund.
UP NEXT is a takeover initiative designed to catapult visionary BAMER artists into leadership roles in the UK’s theatre industry, funded by the Arts Council England Sustained Theatre grant. Since July 2017 five directors have taken on artistic directorship at Battersea Arts Centre and Bush Theatre. They have each responded widely different ways, exploring themes of identity, representation, community and collaboration.
At Battersea Arts Centre, Saad-Eddine Said curates Homegrown Festival: Occupy (18 March 2019 – 12 April 2019), an invitation for young artists, collectives, entrepreneurs, activists and local communities to occupy BAC over the period that the UK may exit the EU.
The month will feature interactive and gig theatre, live games, virtual experiences, opera, hip-hop, and installations. There will be new shows by Sounds Like Chaos, Conrad Murray and a BAC co-production with Contact Theatre Manchester. Other artists include opera composer Alex Mills, BAC Phoenix Award winner Amy Leon, dancer and performer Akeim Toussaint Buck and many others. Occupy builds on BAC’s annual Homegrown Festival of young voices and emerging talent, and is produced in association with Tarek Iskander.
Bush Theatre’s UP NEXT cohort present BABYLON Festival (4 – 16 February 2019) – a two-week festival celebrating the contemporary global influences and experiences of Black and Brown people. BABYLON Festival sees the Bush Theatre host a series of music gigs, queer cabaret, live podcast shows, workshops, including modern media disrupters galdem leading a talk on London activism and Our Naked Truths running an art therapy workshop for elder women of colour.
Pioneering international event BABYLON: Beyond Borders will feature a simultaneously live-streamed collaboration between four theatres, in four cities across four continents – each theatre deeply rooted in its own community. Artists at Bush Theatre, Harlem Stage (NYC, USA), Pequeno Ato (São Paulo, Brazil) and Market Theatre (Johannesburg, South Africa) will all explore their relationship to Babylon, in relation to land, exile, migration and language.
UP NEXT responds to the needs of ADF members in giving them practical leadership experience across a range of disciplines including artistic direction, producing, programming, fundraising, marketing and production and the opportunity to become part of a network of BAMER leaders going through a similar experience who can share learning and support each other.
What is the timing of the current pilot?
It will take place between 2017-2019. Since June 2017 the artistic directors have been working part-time at the Bush Theatre or Battersea Arts Centre: collaborating with staff, meeting Trustees, becoming embedded into the two organisations and planning change. During 2018, the time commitment has increased as each team of artistic directors shapes and plans its programme for a takeover season which will take place between November 2018 and April 2019.
The Up Next Team
Founder/Artistic Director at ADF and designer of the Up Next Programme
Artistic Director at Battersea Arts Centre
Former Artists Director at Bush Theatre
Battersea Art Centre
Blade of Grass