A unique new collaboration between Hope and the Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse theatres has been announced.
And the ‘one of a kind’ offering is being described as a ‘wonderful opportunity’ for students to make a real splash in the industry.
The partnership between Hope’s School of Creative and Performing Arts and one of the UK’s most vibrant theatre companies was unveiled at the launch of the Angel Field Festival.
Dr Stephe Harrop, Head of Dance, Drama & Performance at the University, says the historic link-up has been a year in the making.
And it’s not just one-of-a-kind in the UK, it’ll give students vital industry experience, too.
Dr Harrop explained: “A year ago, we invited key people from the Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse theatres to take part in a co-design event for our new Drama & Theatre curriculum.
“We thought about what our young people need, how we build pathways to industry and how we help those who come to study at Creative Campus to build the futures they want.
“We sat down with a blank piece of paper and together we started to build this new degree.
“This formed the start of an exciting conversation where we said, ‘We should build a formal relationship!’
“We’ve designed this shared venture from the ground up.
“No other university has a relationship like this - it’s bespoke, unique and aimed directly at students’ needs and aspirations.”
Dr Harrop says that for students themselves, the collaboration means arts practitioners from the Liverpool & Everyman will deliver sections of the degree course.
Theatre experts will talk to students about their career options while also giving ‘masterclasses’ in particular techniques.
Speaking at Hope’s Capstone Theatre, Dr Harrop adds: “Through the course of their degree, students will get assessment tasks that have been set by senior practitioners at the Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse, so the work they’re doing in the classroom directly reflects what’s happening in industry, at that very moment.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity.”
What’s more, students will also have the chance to compete for a set of placements at the Everyman & Playhouse each year, so they can work alongside professionals.
This year, there’s three placements on offer, which last for at least a week each.
Dr Harrop adds: “These are short, intense placements where you’re completely embedded within the team.
“It’s an opportunity not just to be on site, but to be designing programmes and events for the Everyman & Playhouse that will shape the future of their work.”
Gemma Bodinetz, Artistic Director of the Everyman & Playhouse, described the partnership as ‘historic, and a very beautiful thing’.
Addressing the Creative Campus, she added: “We’ll be listening to your students and we’ll be listening to you and your partners.
“It’s important that the art we create reflects real lives and that we’re helping young people in their creative process - whether that’s devising work, or asking them to come to us with their stories - and us helping their dreams to become real.
“It’s a profound pleasure for us to be in partnership together.”
In the past 12 years, the Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse has created more than 115 productions - including 43 world premières - with many produced by local writers.
Major highlights include Pete Postlethwaite’s King Lear, Kim Cattrall appearing in Antony and Cleopatra and David Morrissey starring in Macbeth.
Meanwhile other productions began life in Liverpool before going on to tour the UK or which ultimately transferred to London’s West End.
One such example is Ghost Stories, written by Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman, and which was adapted into a critically-acclaimed 2017 film starring Martin Freeman and Paul Whitehouse.
Hope’s Angel Field Festival runs until Friday 14th Feb and combines music, theatre, dance, film, visual art and story-telling.
The festival was opened Thursday with a performance from Drift Chamber, a group led by composer/arranger Joe Duddell and which wowed the crowd with its haunting, ambient classical and electronic music.
To see the full Angel Field Festival line-up, click here.