Scotland’s New LGBTQIA+ Arts Organisation Sanctuary Queer Arts Launches

Scotland’s newest LGBTQIA+ arts organisation – Sanctuary Queer Arts – launched on 21st September.Sanctuary is a year-long programme of activity, running a National Queer Young Company a Newer Artist Development Programme, the occasional one-off events and a culminating Festival Weekend of performances, workshops, talks, film screenings and visual arts.

The hunt is now on for 10 LGBTQIA+ identifying artists, from across Scotland aged 18-25 to form a brand-new National Queer Young Company, and two LGBTQIA+ identifying newer artists across Scotland from many performance disciplines to take part in the Newer Artists Development Programmes.

The first Sanctuary Festival will take place at Platform, Easterhouse in Summer 2021.

Sanctuary Queer Arts is committed to removing as many barriers to participation as possible, providing access support including BSL and transcription and funding to support digital access. 

Application details are online: https://www.sanctuaryqueerarts.com/

The chief principal of Sanctuary is development from the ground up – the Sanctuary directors believe that to truly enact change, confidence must be cultivated in a younger generation, whilst existing queer voices are nurtured. 

The Sanctuary Co-Directors are Annabel Cooper, Drew Taylor-Wilson and Fraser MacLeod. Ink Asher Hemp and Nima Séne are Creative Consultants and Birds of Paradise’s Robert Softley Gale will join the selection panel. Matt Addicott, Programme Lead at Platform Easterhouse is the venue partner.

Annabel Cooper, Sanctuary Co-Director, said: “We are over the rainbow to be launching Sanctuary Queer Arts and to spread the word about our exciting and much needed artistic development opportunities specifically for LGBTQIA+ artists – the national Young Company and Newer Artists development programme.

“Our hope for Sanctuary Queer Arts is to add solace, stimulation and safety for queer people and allies in Scotland…and to have a lot of fun doing it!”

National Queer Young Company 

From September 2020 to February 2021 the programme will engage with 10 LGBTQIA+ identifying artists, from across Scotland aged 18-25 to begin to creatively explore what ‘sanctuary’ means to them today. The Young Company will be initially led by experienced theatre artist Fraser MacLeod. The artists will be provided with provocations to generate creative responses to develop their practice. All artists will come together digitally to build their national network of peers, share ideas and present their work as it develops. This will happen monthly between October 2020 and February 2021. 

Fraser MacLeod, Sanctuary co-director and Young Company lead said: “We want queer young voices to feel empowered, queer experiences to be showcased loudly, vibrantly and authentically. 

“We want to create artistic spaces where LGBTQIA+ 18-25 year-olds are in the majority, developing high quality theatre, facilitated by the very best from the performance industry”.

Application details are online: https://www.sanctuaryqueerarts.com/youngcompany

National Queer Young Company application deadline 23.59 11.10.2020

Newer Artists Development Programme

From September 2020 to February 2021 the programme will nurture two newer artists, mentored by experienced artistic development specialist Drew Taylor-Wilson, with input from Sanctuary Queer Arts co-directors and other noted theatre professionals. This first six months of the programme is designed to encourage newer artists to create a first-draft version of a brand-new performance, showcasing extract of the production at The Sanctuary Gathering at Platform Easterhouse in February 2021. The Gathering will bring together all the artists Sanctuary Queer Arts will be working with. Funding dependent, we want to help nurture the work to full scale performance as part of the Sanctuary Festival in July 2021.

Drew Taylor-Wilson, Sanctuary co-director and Newer Artists lead said: “Recognising there is little-to-no queer artistic development programmes in Scotland, we felt it was important to implement a scheme that allowed newer artists [not “emerging” artists – that term generally implies an age restriction] to grow their artistry, creating a new small-scale, tour ready production.”

Application details are online: https://www.sanctuaryqueerarts.com/newerartists

Newer Artists Development Programme application deadline 23.59 18.10.2020

Sanctuary Queer Arts is supported by Creative Scotland’s Open Fund: Sustaining Creative Development and produced in association with Platform, Easterhouse who have supported the project since its inception and will host the first festival in 2021.

Matt Addicott, Platform Programme Lead said: “Now, perhaps more than ever there is a clear and immediate need to connect with those across the city and further afield that feel isolated and unheard. We’re delighted to be working with the Sanctuary Queer Arts team and cannot wait to get started.”

Jim Welsh

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