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In September 2020, in an empty auditorium, Unity spoke with fifteen Liverpool-based creatives about freelancing in a pandemic, the future of the arts industry, making work in a post-pandemic world, and what the word unity means to them.
The artists featured, like the many we work alongside each year, reflect the breadth of creativity, character and talent of both the city and it’s people. These artists are distinct in what they offer, both through the work they create and the ideas they communicate. As we collectively continue to navigate a pandemic that has left some in the creative industries without adequate support, together we will continue to push forward, creating a future that is fair, accessible, representative and supportive of artists, audiences and communities alike.
This small interview series, commissioned to mark Unity’s 40th anniversary, is a physical affirmation of our wholehearted commitment to creative people.
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“Everything we’ve known sort of collapsed and I don’t think we should go back to the way it was. I think we’ve now got an exciting opportunity to rebuild in a way that’s much more inclusive, much more exciting, much more innovative”.
Paislie Reid is a Liverpool actor. Find out more here.
“We need to lean into what Liverpool has and challenge and stimulate those things, force them to look outwards and have conversations. If we can empower artists working in the city to do that it not only leads to artistic excellence but relevant conversations.”
Luke Barnes is a Liverpool playwright, performer and theatre maker. @lukeybarnsey. Find out more here.
“The Liverpool creative community means a lot to me. There is such a generous and tight community here. It makes it feel much more possible and safer. My hope is that the work that I do and make is always challenging.”
Tammy Reynolds is a Liverpool-based performer and playwright @midgittebardot. Find out more here.
“We have a responsibility not just to create work but to make choices for the creative community of Liverpool. It’s really important that young people of marginalised communities see that there is someone making choices from a community that looks like them.”
Amina Atiq is a Yemeni-Scouse writer, activist, performer and poet. @AminaAtiqpoetry. Find out more here.
“I think the pandemic, for all its horribleness, has had to shake the industry & stop people thinking that top theatre only belongs in a building…I’d like for the industry to come back stronger. For people to realise what they’ve missed”.
TurnTable are an immersive theatre company with an electronic heartbeat, based in Liverpool. This interview features Co-Artistic Director’s Chris Tomlinson and Matt Rutter. Find out more here.
“There’s a really amazing physical community in Liverpool and I think you can tell that artists in Liverpool are all emotion and feel really deeply. I think that comes across in all the work that is made here.”
“Theatre is such an important art form. It’s an art form that moves with the times and reflects the times. It is able to comment on society and so it would be a poorer society without it.”
“I hope the creative community of Liverpool come together to find a way to still be able to offer theatre and services to the young people of our city..my hope is for more opportunities for young people, to improve mental health through theatre”.
Kitchen Sink Live are a Liverpool Youth Movement empowering people to tell real stories and challenge current perception through theatre and film. They are lead by Co-Artisticc Director’s Bradley Thompson and Abby Melia. Find out more here
“What Black Lives Matter has held up to us is a mirror that says ‘be more inclusive’. I hope that we all walk into rooms and if we don’t see representation, it just feels off and wrong, and then all of us collectively go – no, I don’t want to work in this room”.
Saphena Aziz is a writer, theatre producer, dramaturg, choir lead and singer from Liverpool. Find out more about Saphena here.
“My first hope for the future is a more inclusive, diverse theatre space. But I also hope that everything that has been learnt in quarantine hasn’t been forgotten. People are now learning new ways to adapt and I don’t think that should be lost.”
Dorcas Seb is a Liverpool actor, vocalist and writer @DorcasSeb. You can find out more about Dorcas and her work here.
“As artists we are really dependant on places to perform, too dependant sometimes. The power needs to go back to the people that make the work, to the people that create. Without them, this doesn’t exist.”
Elinor Randle is a director and movement director from Liverpol. Eli is the Artistic Director of Tmsesis Theatre and Physical Fest. You can find out more about Eli’s projects here.
“I’d like to see the Liverpool scene fighting back, coming back together to be stronger than the individual organisations. I think that’s happening already and the city is doing what it does best – utilising it’s community, working together to take risks.”
Ciarán Hodgers is a poet, performer and project manager at Writing on the Wall in Liverpool. @CiaranHodgers Find out more here.