TS Eliot US/UK Exchange is back to inspire

Old Vic New Voices is returning with their inspiring transatlantic project, the TS Eliot US/UK Exchange, and organisers are on the lookout for enthusiastic artists to join forces with them.

Applications have now opened for the second year of this extraordinary project. 100 emerging actors, writers, directors and producers aged 21-30 years old will be selected to develop new skills abroad, showcase their talents and expand their creative networks.

The TS Eliot US/UK Exchange is a joint venture between Old Vic New Voices, the online creative network IdeasTap and the TS Eliot estate.

Phil Matthews (right) and fellow actors in New York. Photo: Peter Jacobsen.

The project ran for the first time last year and was a resounding success. Over 700 artists applied with selections made by transatlantic panels of senior industry practitioners. Throughout the week-long exchange, artists participated in a challenging mix of master classes, networking opportunities, rehearsals, meetings with senior industry representatives and theatre trips, as well as having the opportunity to create new work with their peers.

Participants also met senior representatives from the host city’s major producing organisations:  in London, this included The Old Vic, National Theatre, Soho Theatre, the Bush Theatre and Hampstead Theatre; and in New York, this included MTC, Lincoln Center, MCC and New Dramatists.

This is a  project where organisers acknowledge the need to form creative relationships, in this case transatlantic ones

Phil Matthews, actor and Fourthwall’s Editorial Director, was one of the 29 UK actors involved last year. He found the event “extremely motivating” and recommends it “wholeheartedly”.

“Without doubt, this was the career highlight of 2010,” admits Matthews. “I felt privileged to be working with such talented fellow artists, some of the best stateside theatre companies and practitioners. This is a  project where organisers acknowledge the need to form creative relationships, in this case transatlantic ones.

“Since the exchange I have worked with one of the directors again, which was a total joy. I’m convinced other projects will come from those valuable connections.”

Artistic Director at the Old Vic Kevin Spacey (right), who led a workshop with the US actors last year, agreed that this shows the theatre’s “dedication to transatlantic collaboration” and that the aim was “to find another 100 very talented young artists to forge lasting creative partnerships across the Atlantic”.

Steve Winter, Director of Old Vic New Voices at The Old Vic said he was “thrilled” to see how last year’s event made such an impact. “Many of these artists are now working transatlantically, and we know the same will hold true for 2011’s company.”

The 50 British artists will travel to New York in early May, with the US artists leg of the project arriving in London at the end of May.

Further information and application details are available via www.ideastap.com – Simply click on the Old Vic New Voices logo. IdeasTap is a creative online network and funding body for emerging artists which offers members a platform to showcase their work.

Deadlines for applications is Friday 18th February.


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