Half Moon has always invested in the development of artists, offering routes into the industry for young people from diverse backgrounds and opportunities for early and mid-career artists to create boundary-pushing performances for young audiences. Below we profile three important programmes from Half Moon’s history of Artist Development, focusing on training courses for facilitators and technicians from the 1980s & 1990s and a 2001 conference about accessible theatre-making. We also detail Half Moon’s flagship artform development programme, Exchange for Change, from 2004 to the present day and all the performances that we created as part of it.
Half Moon’s artform development and producing platform, Exchange for Change, aims to support artists developing new, diverse and challenging work for young audiences and encourage debate within the young people’s and wider theatre sectors. Exchange For Change began in 2004 when Half Moon successfully launched an initiative to give a supported space for companies and individuals to create a new piece of professional theatre for the TYP sector. In 2009, with generous support from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Half Moon launched a three-year programme; each year focusing on creating theatre for a different age group and a new body of work to better reflect our diverse society and develop artists underrepresented in the sector. The programme also aims to encourage experienced writers to write for young audiences for the first time. The ‘scratch’ performances produced were the product of months of research and development, working in partnership with groups of young people in sessions in schools and community settings. The ethos for exchange continues through collaborations (including work with Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance since 2012), conferences and scratch performances that provoke conversation and make a significant contribution to the arts ecology through radical artform development and script development.
Selina Jeremiah participated in Workbound, a training programme for workshop facilitators at Half Moon Theatre on White Horse Road in the 1990s. She talks about how this gave her a life-changing opportunity. Interviewed by Toni Tsaera.
Academic, Martin Heaney worked on a number of participatory projects at Half Moon Theatre in White Horse Road in the late 1990s and early 2000s. He talks about the company’s contribution to the career development of theatre professionals. Interviewed by Alexia-Pyrrha Ashford.
As a teenager Cyd Folan was a youth theatre member and an usher with Half Moon Theatre in the 2000s. She credits these experiences with shaping her career in theatre. Interviewed by Rio Puffett.
Youth Theatre member Chrystal Vidal was an usher at Half Moon Theatre, where she had the opportunity of watching lots of productions. Here she talks about the influence of Half Moon Theatre on her decision to teach children in early years. Interviewed by Cara Smith
I earned my first ever money as a writer from the Half Moon Theatre! £30. Rehearsed reading. Happiest day ever.
I kept the £30 framed for years then got hungry and stupidly cashed it. Kevin Whatley (Morse) was in my play!
That little space is very close to my heart – it gave me the confidence to be a writer.