The Big Idea: The Makers' Picnic

The Big Idea: The Makers' Picnic Top / Details
Sat 01 Jun 2019

Join Selina Thompson on the set of salt. as she hosts a picnic with her fellow theatre makers and performers, discussing how they put their lives and minds on stage.

Guests include Alexandrina Hemsley, Matilda Ibini, Jamila Johnson-Small, Cheryl Martin, Demi Nandhra and Winsome Pinnock.

Bring a picnic and join the conversation. Picnic snacks will be available in the bar, or you can bring your own.

Alexandrina Hemsley

Alexandrina has been performing and choreographing in London internationally since 2009. They believes in dance & the body as a site for expressing felt & embodied politics.

They make dances, videos, self-produce and write. They are interested in liminal spaces, connectivity, fracturing, displacement and emotionality. They are continually attempting to conjure intersecting, gentle noise amidst oppressive silencing.

Engaging with the wider concern of bringing attention to subjectivity and multiplicity over objectification, their practice voices their experiences through an interdisciplinary process of attempting to undo structural and internalised marginalisation and colonialism. It is a life long project.

The forms their artistic work takes frequently morph in order to present their concerns within shifting frames and contexts. Alexandrina’s works have intercepted live art, dance, dance for camera, dance criticism and visual art.

They collaborate with Jamila Johnson-Small as part of Project O (2011 onwards), Rosie Heafford and Helena Webb (2012-2018) on Dad Dancing and Seke Chimutengwende (2016 onwards) on a new piece of work Black Holes. Their work has been commissioned by and presented at Sadler’s Wells, Battersea Arts Centre, Southbank Centre and The Yard Theatre amongst others.


Matilda Ibini

Matilda was awarded a scholarship from BAFTA and Warner Brothers to study a Masters in Playwriting & Screenwriting at City University. She holds a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing from London Metropolitan University. Her work has been shortlisted for awards such as the Soho Young Writers Award, the Alfred Fagon Award and has been supported by the Peggy Ramsay Foundation. Matilda was part of the Royal Court Writers Program, Soho Theatre’s Writers’ Lab, Bryony Kimmings week-long Live Art course, Criterion Theatre’s New Writing Program, Arcola Theatre’s ‘Voices from the Future’ scheme, ThinkBIGGER: Writers’ Cramp Screenwriting Course and the Eastenders E20 Writers’ School.

She was Soho Theatre’s writer in residence for the BBC Writersroom 10 scheme and was a member of Soho Theatre’s Writers’ Alumni Group. Her debut play Muscovado was produced by BurntOut Theatre company, and premiered in October 2014 and then went on tour across the UK in 2015 starting with a run at Theatre503. Muscovado also co-won the Alfred Fagon Audience Award 2015. She has short plays on at the National Theatre Shed, St James Theatre, Birmingham Rep, Hackney Showroom, Arcola Theatre and Paines Plough Roundabout Edinburgh.

She recently completed a yearlong residency at Graeae Theatre Company (17/18), an attachment at the National Theatre Studio and the Channel 4 Screenwriting course.


Jamila Johnson-Small

Last Yearz Interesting Negro is the performance project of London based artist and dancer Jamila Johnson-Small. LYIN works with dramaturgies of sculpture, electronic music, overwhelm, syncopation, poetry, internal narratives, video, texture, intensities, trance states, a public and always dancing, to build atmospheric landscapes through the live unfolding of the tensions between things that produce meaning.  Resultant choreographies are stage/dreamspace/battleground, working through questions of entanglement, alienation and sensation. Their genre-disobedient practice moves across various spaces, contexts, roles and collaborations, working regularly with Alexandrina Hemsley (Project O), Phoebe Collings-James, Fernanda Muñoz-Newome and Shelley Parker.


Cheryl Martin

Cheryl was Guest Curator for Liverpool’s Homotopia 2018, the UK’s largest LGBTQ+ festival.  A Co-Artistic Director of Manchester’s Black Gold Arts Festival, Cheryl’s worked as a poet, playwright and director, and was a former Associate Director, New Writing/New Work at Contact and Director-in-Residence at Edinburgh’s Traverse.

Her new solo show One Woman, R&D-commissioned by Made at HOME, has just won an Unlimited Wellcome Collection Partnership Award main commission. It’s planned to premiere at Manchester’s HOME during Mental Health Awareness week, May 2020.

Cheryl’s Homotopia-commissioned show Rent Party, co-written with Darren Pritchard, was Sheffield Crucible’s 2017 alternative Christmas show, four 5-star reviews inc. The Stage, Gay Times, & Gay UK, still touring nationally this Spring 2019.  Plus Cheryl was commissioned by Contact to write a new work on HIV, I Am Because We Are, which toured October 2018, and will return in 2020 for a national and international tour.

Cheryl’s first solo stage show Alaska featured twice at Contact’s Flying Solo Festival before a national tour including 2016’s A Nation’s Theatre and still touring – headed for the 2019 Summerhall Edinburgh Fringe.

A Manchester Evening News Theatre Award winner as both writer [musical Heart and Soul, Oldham Coliseum Theatre] and director [Iron by Rona Munro, Contact]. She co-produced and directed an Edinburgh Fringe First winner for the Traverse [The World Is Too Much].  Not to mention directing and devising Community Arts Northwest’s demanding immersive refugee shows Another Country [Z-Arts/Decibel], Heart’s Core [Z-arts], and Lloyd’s Regional Award-winning Rule 35 about Yarls Wood detention centre [Z-arts].  Commonword /Crocus Books published her first solo collection of poetry, Alaska, [longlisted for the 2015 Polari Prize].   And Cheryl’s second solo show Who Wants To Live Forever? premiered at HOME Manchester’s 2017 PUSH Festival/BGAF 2017 at Contact, and toured nationally.


Demi Nandhra

Demi Nandhra is an interdisciplinary artist from Birmingham who makes solo performance, live art, theatre and sociopolitical enquiries. Her work explores Mental Health through examining collective sadness, vulnerability and cultural binaries. Her work is performed in theatres, galleries and beds.

Demi approaches making as a feminist, with queer and postcolonial perspective. Her current practice is an ongoing series of works surrounding Mental Health. The project began with Life is No Laughing Matter, an autobiographical exploration of mental illness, medical treatment and the culture of fast-fix. The second strand Oil and Water, goes beyond the personal narrative, exploring the intersections of gender, culture, religion and wellbeing. The third strand I’m Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired investigates the historical and contemporary sociopolitical landscape and the impact projects of failed liberation have on our collective mental health.

Demi has been programmed by Buzzcut Festival, Fierce Festival, Warwick Arts Centre, LADA, Battersea Arts Centre, mac Birmingham, REP, Normal? Festival, Bedlam Mental Health Festival and Month of Performance Art – Berlin


Winsome Pinnock

Winsome Pinnock is an award winning writer for stage, radio, and television. Winsome was the winner of the prestigious Alfred Fagon Award 2018. Most recently a revival of her 1987 play Leave Taking played at the Bush Theatre to critical and commercial success.  She is also the recipient of the Pearson Plays on Stage Award, the Unity Theatre Trust Award, the George Devine Award, and the Special Commendation Susan Smith Blackburn Prize.

Theatre includes LEAVE TAKING, THE PRINCIPLES OF CARTOGRAPHY (Bush Theatre), GLUTATHIONE (Young Vic), TITUBA (Hampstead Theatre), CLEANING UP (Clean Break), TAKEN (Soho Theatre), IDP, ONE UNDER, WATER (Kiln Theatre), THE STOWAWAY (Plymouth Theatre), MULES (Royal Court/ Ahmanson Theatre (LA)/ Magic Theatre (San Francisco)/ Young Vic), CAN YOU KEEP A SECRET (National Theatre), TALKING IN TONGUES, A HEROES WELCOME, A ROCK IN WATER (Royal Court), LEAVE TAKING (Liverpool Playhouse / National Theatre), THE WIND OF CHANGE (Half Moon Theatre) and PICTURE PLACE (Sphinx Theatre).



Jerwood Theatre Upstairs

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