After reaching audiences of 20,000 at the Culture Catwalk stage at Bullring, Birmingham, Southside Producers are set to go from strength to strength. In April 2018, it will become one of the core programmes of Free Radical (part of the Beatfreeks Collective) as the company becomes a National Portfolio Organisation.
Southside Producers is a professional development programme for young, diverse producers who want to build skills, confidence and networks and develop careers in the creative industries. Southside Producers has been supported through Arts Connect West Midland’s Partnership Investment Fund over the last 18 months, and delivered by Free Radical in partnership with Old Rep Theatre in association with MAIA Creatives.
The Southside area has emerged as a distinctive quarter within Birmingham’s expanding city centre and Southside Producers aim to continue to grow engagement within the area, and across the wider city region. With a waiting list already growing, the year long development programme will launch with a new cohort of young people aged 16 - 30 in April 2018. The group will have an opportunity to produce an event in-house, work on a commission, and develop their own project.
Southside Producers have had 37 members aged 16 - 27 take part in the programme over the last 18 months, working with over 80 artists in the city to produce 7 events such as Culture Catwalk, YAY16 and B-Side Festival. Caroline Davis, Executive Producer of Birmingham Weekender, says:
“Programmes like Southside Producers are vital to the future development of producers and arts sector in the city, particularly gaining skills in outdoor events and transferable skills in stage management.”.
A former member of Southside Producers, Claire Woolard, says “I am now in full time employment producing a festival as part of a team that works across three UK cities and several cities in Europe. Without my experiences at Southside Producers I would not have had the confidence to apply for the job, nor the experience to gain the employment.”
“We have been proud as a theatre to see the development of so many young people. We look forward to supporting Beatfreeks in the next chapter of Southside Producers’ development and seeing the impact it will have on more young people within this city.” said Michael Penn, Executive Director of Old Rep Theatre.
“In acknowledging the wealth of knowledge, ideas and resources already existing across the underbelly of the city, I set up the Producers of Colour Network (POC) to find more efficient ways of connecting, collaborating, championing, supporting and developing the ethnically diverse talent of the city that is often ignored, marginalised and forced to work independently, or appears to only be understood in the context of race.
It’s important that Southside Producers, the POC Network and any other network that prides itself on supporting practitioners in non-exploitative ways are able to co-exist and build better infrastructure for the future of Birmingham.” Amahra Spence, Founder of MAIA Creatives.
You can find out about Southside Producers plans and how to join the next cohort at www.beatfreeks.com/southside-producers. For all other enquiries, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note Southside Producers are not accepting commissions at this time.
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About Free Radical
Free Radical is a part of the Beatfreeks Collective, a group of people and companies using creativity for good. Free Radical creates space, mentally, digitally and physically, for young people to tell stories about themselves and the world. Through spoken word, music and digital media, Free Radical is an ‘art activism platform’ enabling young people to develop the skills, confidence and networks they need to use their art for change.