In November 2020, we launched a brand new artist development programme – Live Lab. Now, we’re here to announce the six fantastic artists who over the course of four months will work to develop as directors, strengthen their artistic style and work on a fresh new idea, with financial support.
This year’s Live Lab artists are: Abigail Sewell, Ameera Conrad, Calum Perrin, Dora Lynn, ShayShay Konno and Yami Löfvenberg.
“I am so thrilled we have been able to bring together a group of exceptional artists, all of whom will learn from each other, and other brilliant artists who work in theatre. At The Yard we’re excited to explore what a director is now; that is why we have brought together artists who come from a range of different artistic backgrounds, from drag, to music composition to dance. We don’t yet know what this program will yield in the future, but we aim to support those artists whom we think will be defining what theatre is the coming years ahead. Watch this space.” – Artistic Director, Jay Miller
The programme kicked off with three weeks of teaching from world renowned director Katie Mitchell. Following which, the six artists will receive masterclasses from some of the UK’s leading practitioners, leaders and artists including Bijan Sheibani, Natalie Ibu, Nickie Miles-Wildin, Omar Elerian, Rachael Young, Richard Eyre, Lanre Malaolu, Tarik Elmoutawakil and The Yard’s Artistic Director Jay Miller. Additionally, they will receive mentoring and support from The Yard’s Associate Directors Anthony Simpson-Pike and Cheryl Gallacher alongside The Yard’s producing and technical team.
At the end of the programme these six artists will have the opportunity to showcase their ideas on The Yard’s stage, following a week’s funded research and development
Live Lab is dedicated to the memory of theatre director Howard Davies CBE. This programme takes inspiration from Howard’s fierce determination, astounding work and his generous spirit towards all.
And here we are, the Live Lab artists of 2021:
Abigail is a film and theatre director and a founding director of Uproot Productions. Abigail’s work is driven by the transformative power of storytelling and reaching new audiences with untold stories that reflect and challenge society.
Abigail Sewell is a film and theatre director and a founding director of Uproot Productions.
Abigail’s work is driven by the transformative power of storytelling. Her passion lies in reaching new audiences with untold stories that reflect and challenge society. She is motivated by art’s potential for collective healing and specialises in working with young people and community groups as a drama facilitator.
Director credits include: Crown by Thara Popoola (London Short Film Festival), This Is Black 2.0 the Online Experience (Uproot Productions), Put Me On by Lauren Marshall (music video), I AM [NOT] KANYE WEST by Natasha Brown (Bunker Theatre), PYNEAPPLE by Chantelle Alle and Melissa Saint (Bunker Theatre), The Lost Ones by Amina Koroma (Ovalhouse Theatre), Never Forget by Kaleya Baxe (Tristan Bates Theatre), Heard by Winnie Imara and Tamsin Newlands (Camden People’s Theatre).
As assistant director, Abigail has worked with organisations including Royal Shakespeare Company, Royal Court and Young Vic Theatre.
Abigail is an Education Associate Practitioner at RSC, an Associate Artist at National Youth Theatre and a Trustee at Young Vic and Represent Theatre. She recently trained on Edinburgh TV Festival’s The Network Talent Scheme.
Ameera is a theatre maker and performer born in Cape Town, South Africa. She has won numerous awards including (but not limited to) the Fleur du Cap Encore, Scotsman Fringe First and The Stage’s Edinburgh Award and was nominated for the Amnesty International Freedom of Speech Award.
Ameera Conrad is a London based theatre maker and performer born in Cape Town, South Africa. Her directing and assisting credits include In These Four Walls, Totally Over You, Kate Spencer Did A Good Thing (all ArtsEd, London), Pipeline (Assistant; Arcola Theatre, London), The Royale (Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London), co-curating The Fall during its 2017-2018 tour (Edinburgh International Festival Fringe, Royal Court, St. Ann’s Warehouse, South African State Theatre, Galway International Arts Festival, Melbourne Arts Centre, Festival Arts Bordeaux, and Studio Theatre), Towers (Guildhall School of Music and Drama), and Reparation (South African National Arts Festival).
She is an alumnus of the 2017 Lincoln Center Theater Director’s Lab, and a recipient of the Theatre Arts Admin Collective’s Emerging Theatre Director Bursary. She has won a Fleur du Cap Encore Award, Scotsman Fringe First Award, The Stage Edinburgh Award, and was nominated for the Amnesty International Freedom of Speech Award as well as a Helen Hayes award for The Fall. She has also won the Filipa Bragança award for best emerging solo performer at the Edinburgh Fringe (2019) and the Western Cape Department of Sports and Culture award for her contributions to theatre in South Africa (2018).
Calum is a theatre maker and sound artist, whose work explores themes of disability, sensoriality and domesticity and has created work for BBC Radio 4, Arts Council Wales, Bodleian Libraries and more. They are also the co-founder of an autistic-led theatre + arts company, Good Behaviour.
Calum Perrin is a theatre maker and sound artist, whose work explores themes of disability, sensoriality and domesticity.
They have created work for organisations including BBC Radio 4, Arts Council Wales, Bodleian Libraries, the Prague Quadrennial, Filmpro and HearSay International Audio Arts Festival.
Calum is a co-founder of Good Behaviour, an autistic-led theatre and arts company, and campaigns for the rights of artists as an active member of Artists’ Union England and Equity.
Dora is a theatre maker and performer and one third of the company IN BED WITH MY BROTHER. She makes work that critiques power and inequality and kicks off about the state of the world (so loudly that it’ll hurt your earholes). Her work is messy, anarchic, angry and a massive laugh.
Dora Lynn is a theatre maker and performer. Dora makes work that critiques power and inequality and kicks off about the state of the world. It’s so loud it hurts your earholes. It’s messy, anarchic, angry and a massive laugh.
She is one-third of company, IN BED WITH MY BROTHER and has created multi award-winning shows, WE ARE IAN “a fiercely imaginative, defiant production” (Three Weeks) and TRICKY SECOND ALBUM “a brilliantly confrontational shock of a show” (Guardian), the latter winning the Total Theatre Award for Innovation, Experimentation and Playing with Form (2019).
IN BED WITH MY BROTHER are the recipients of the Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust Award 2020, which will see them premiere a new show at the Barbican in the Covid-dependant future.
Dora has toured shows across the UK to venues including HOME Manchester, Bristol Old Vic and Cambridge Junction and internationally including Fringe World Perth, Adelaide Festival Fringe and Let’s Be Together Arts Festival, Hong Kong.
Shay Shay Konno
ShayShay is a nightlife producer, drag artist, writer and director and one of the founders of Pan-Asian cabaret collective, The Bitten Peach. They are dedicated to raising marginalised voices and empowering London’s queer community through entertainment and education
ShayShay (they/them) is a half-Irish half-Japanese non-binary nightlife producer, drag artist, writer and director working to empower London’s queer community through entertainment and education. They are dedicated to raising marginalised voices, creating platforms for diverse representation and educating children and families.
ShayShay is one of the founders of the Pan-Asian cabaret collective The Bitten Peach, whose mission is to empower the queer Asian community by providing safe spaces, diversifying Asian representation, and educating non-Asians on racial issues. ShayShay has produced and directed shows with the Bitten Peach at The Royal Vauxhall Tavern, The National Theatre, and the Underbelly Festival.
Work written and directed by ShayShay includes The Vault’s ★★★★★ “Aladdin and the Feast of Wonders” in 2019, and “Quest for the Treasure Chest” at the Southbank Centre in 2020.
ShayShay has produced programming for children and families with the Southbank Centre, Hackney City Council, Fringe Queer Film & Arts Fest, the Place, and National Maritime Museum. These works explore issues of gender and racial identity in a child-focused context.
ShayShay also regularly works with Fringe Queer Film & Arts Fest, Asia-Arts-Activism, The Vaults and is a recipient of the Glory’s Artist Support Programme.
Yami is a multidisciplinary artist working between the intersection of movement and theatre. She creates work with playfulness at the heart and explores new takes on theatre and dance while confronting preconceptions, stigmas and stereotypes.
Yami Löfvenberg is a multidisciplinary artist working between the intersection of movement and theatre. Between her own work, Yami mentors, creates and delivers workshops across the UK and Internationally.
She devises with playfulness at the heart and challenges participants to explore a new take on theatre, dance, and stories whilst confronting preconceptions, stigmas, stereotypes. Her skill of working with cross-art forms has seen her collaborate with a multitude of diverse artists and organisations throughout her career.
Using her background and knowledge of Hip-Hop Culture and Dance, her work is rooted in combining storytelling using intention, comedy, physical expression, spoken word, sound, and design, and is not afraid to push outspokenness and rawness within her and others work. Underpinning her aesthetic are her core values and mission, and often highlight subjects such as; racism; social/political structures, and equity.
She also tirelessly advocates for the Hip Hop Dance community and its culture and intersectional female empowerment.
As Movement Director, theatre includes Breakin’ Convention (Sadler’s Wells); Talawa TYPT 2017 (Hackney Showrooms); Boat (BAC); Fuck You Pay Me (Bunker).
As a Director, theatre includes Kind of Woman (Camden People’s); Afroabelhas (Roundhouse/British Council Brazil/Tempo Festival, Brazil).
As Assistant Director/Choreographer, theatre includes Hive City Legacy 2018 & 2019 (Roundhouse/Quiet Riot).
She is a British Council and Arts Council England recipient, One Dance UK DAD Trailblazer Fellow, Marion North Recipient, and Talawa Make Artist. She was also on the creative choreographic team for the 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony and is a member of performance collective Hot Brown Honey.
She has a collaborative company, Passion & Purpose, that focuses on dance management, creative projects, and artist progression.
Live Lab is generously supported by:
Cockayne – Grants For The Arts, Garrick Charitable Trust, The Leche Trust, The London Community Foundation, Maria Björnson Memorial Fund and individual patrons: Andrew Upton & Cate Blanchett, Manny and Lani Azenberg, Hugh Bonneville, Matt Charman, Dame Judi Dench, Marianne Elliott, Lesley Manville, Tim Hatley, Zoë Wanamaker & Gawn Grainger, and those who wish to remain anonymous.