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  • Writer's pictureSTEVE COOKE AATA

Pride Stages Bursary launched by Greater Manchester LGBTQ+ Arts and Culture Network

By Steve Cooke

I am delighted to see yet another encouraging collaborative response to Covid-19 restrictions by the creative community. As well as providing an opportunity for a local creative organisation it gives us all a chance once again be part of an audience.

Greater Manchester LGBTQ+ Arts and Culture Network has launched this new opportunity for an LGBTQ+ performer/company based in Greater Manchester to develop a new performance to be showcased as part of Pride celebrations in 2021.

Following a successful Pilot in 2019-20, the Pride Stages Bursary offer is part of a new 18-month programme of activity led by LGBT Foundation and supported by Arts Council England - the Greater Manchester LGBTQ+ Arts and Culture Network - providing support, training and development for over 20 cultural organisations in the region working with LGBTQ+ communities and creating opportunities for LGBTQ+ creatives across Greater Manchester.

Supported by four Network member venues (The Met, Waterside Arts, The Lowry, Oldham Coliseum Theatre), the Pride Stages Bursary will include a cash grant of £1000, access to rehearsal space, and tailored development support from partner venues to create an exciting new performance celebrating LGBTQ+ communities.

Working within local COVID-19 guidance, the hope is that the performance will be showcased to socially distanced audiences at events in Bury, Trafford, Salford, and Oldham in the summer, or if that’s not possible, as part of digital programmes celebrating Pride across the region.

Artists are encouraged to submit Expressions of Interest by Fri 29 January, 5pm.

To find out more, including how to apply, please go to:

Paul Martin OBE, CEO of LGBT Foundation said: “After the amazing success of the Pilot programme, I’m thrilled that Arts Council England are supporting the next Phase of the Greater Manchester LGBTQ+ Arts and Culture Network. Alongside the great events, training, and opportunities we’ve got planned, I’m really looking forward to working with cultural leaders across Greater Manchester to see how we can improve access and inclusion for LGBT people, particularly in light of the impact of COVID-19.”

Chris Lawson, Artistic Director, Oldham Coliseum Theatre said: “Pride Stages is a fantastic opportunity for an LGBTQ+ artist/company to share their creativity and talent with communities across Greater Manchester. The pandemic has had a devastating effect on the careers and livelihoods of performers, and we’re thrilled to be a part of this collaborative project with our Greater Manchester LGBTQ+ Arts and Culture Network partners in Bury, Salford and Trafford supporting and sharing this work.”

Victoria Robinson, Chief Executive, The Met said: “We're thrilled to be working in partnership as part of the Greater Manchester LGTBTQ+ Arts and Culture Network to create something for Bury Pride. 2020 had its challenges, which we continue to feel the impact of, but we're excited to look forward to this positive initiative”

Matthew Eames, Senior Programmer/Producer, The Lowry said: “The Lowry is proud to be a committed partner in the Network and excited to support new artworks through the Pride Stages Bursary. We’re looking forward to initiating new relationships with LGBTQ+ artists, audiences and organisations in our community as well as building upon existing ones.”

Darren Adams, Arts Centre Manager, Waterside Arts said: “As a founding member of the Network, we’ve seen first hand the positive outcomes of supporting the creation of new work by and for LGBTQ+ people. At a time where the sector faces enormous challenges, we are proud to be able to provide meaningful support and opportunities to queer artists in Greater Manchester.”

Matt Fenton, Artistic Director, Contact said: “Contact has a long tradition of supporting LGBTQ+ arts and culture through its annual Queer Contact Festival and a wide range of participation programmes addressing stigma and championing diversity. Contact’s delighted to be taking part in the Greater Manchester LGBTQ+ Arts and Culture Network to learn, share and celebrate the great work happening in the region.”

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