The inaugural Co:LAB festival took place in July 2017 and showcased 11 brand new pieces of work from Open Exchange members, alongside workshops, discussions and other events. From interactive adventure stories in the basement to vocal installations in the hall, the festival weekend saw the whole building taken over by local artists.
We want to make the 2018 festival even bigger. See below for how to get involved.
Co:LAB is a response to local artists who say that they need time, space and money to begin to explore ideas and collaborations. Open Exchange artists can apply for a small amount of funding (between £300-£2,000) to develop a scratch performance for a public audience. Whereas REACT is about exploring process risk-free, Co:LAB – or the Collision Laboratory – is a chance to test the work on a live audience.
The Festival aims to showcase theatre made in non-traditional ways with unexpected creative collisions and collaborations. As with all of our opportunities the festival has been curated via an open call out to Open Exchange members. In some cases, Co:LAB will further develop ideas which had their origin in REACT.
• A fee of £750 per group
• A rehearsal space for five days at the Exchange
• A small budget for props/hires
by Elmi Ali and Nuala Maguire
by James Monaghan and Christine FitzGerald
Written and performed by Ruth E. Cockburn - with Claire Walmsley Griffiths, Phil Ellis, Daniel Wallace & Will Lenton
by Take Back Theatre Collective
by Charlotte Maxwell and Marcela Hervia
by YesYesNoNo and Conan the Librarian
Written and performed by Testament
Directed by Collette Murray, Composed by Michael Betteridge and created by The Ensemble (Alex McCoy, Andy Pilkington, Barney Cooper, Charlotte Ashton, Elka Lee-Green, Katherine McDermott, Leni Murphy, Nicola O'Keeffe, Ryan Clayton, Sarah Coyne and Steff Riches)
by Knaïve Theatre and Tim Foley
by Amy Lawrence with Joe Whitmore, Vitaljia Glovackyte, Henrietta Phoebe Dunn, Nisa Cole & Lucie Browne Research Assistance: Tilda O’Grady & Jade Montserrat
“It was special - a game changer for the artists and a shift in the landscape of the city.” Piers Black-Hawkins, Ransack Theatre, Minus Touch
“Co:LAB is unquestionably one of the most exciting platforms for emerging artists in the UK and it is very exciting to be part of it. For us it is an opportunity to develop the immersive, game-based, science fiction ideas that we scratched for the REACT commission with Tim Foley. With the new title Power To The North we will be focusing on addressing the issues we found in our experiments last time, building on the successes, responding to the feedback we received and pushing ourselves further to create a wild, engaging, live and genuinely empowering theatrical experience. For us, it is incredible simply to have the opportunity to develop the idea, but to have the Royal Exchange guiding and seeing the development both times is invaluable!” Knaïve Theatre, Power to the North
“And thank you again for the opportunity to play and experiment. The tech team were just amazing as were you all. We felt so supported and encouraged and in a unique position of being able to experiment and fail quite dramatically without any concern. It really helped push our practice and we love what you are doing with Open Exchange!” Take Back Theatre, Shooting the Messenger
Open Exchange provides a series of developmental opportunities for emerging artists of all disciplines, rooted in the belief that collaboration creates great art and brilliant theatre doesn't always begin with a script. Sign up here for opportunities.