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  • Writer's pictureClaire Venus

You're invited to; The Grow Development Programme

Paid consultation opportunities in Newcastle and Northumberland and an online survey. Guest blog by Louise Taylor-Asheg, Participation Producer from Northumberland based theatre company and Arts Council National Portfolio Organisation November Club.

November Club is theatre company with an ambition to create exceptional and remarkable theatre in unusual places from our home in Northumberland. We do this by telling stories through performance, working in unusual places and spaces, supporting talent development, and developing models of working with communities and partners.

Some of our recent work has included The Unlocked Door, an immersive journey through 300 years of history at Seaton Delaval Hall, Walk in Your Shoes, a 126 mile walk across beautiful Northumberland taking Doorstep Theatre to rural communities, and Repeat Signal, a piece of digital site-specific theatre staged at Woodhorn Museum.

Our team at November Club is passionate about supporting a flourishing, representative workforce for theatre in Northumberland and the North East.

When we’re in production our small core team can double, triple and even quadruple in size with freelance professionals. From performers to production managers, directors to designers and stage managers to sound designers, all bring skills, experience and perspectives that are integral to how we make our work, and how we connect with communities across Northumberland.

Quite simply, we can’t achieve our artistic ambitions without you!

We know that starting, developing and sustaining a freelance career can be a rollercoaster of highs and lows, which have been exacerbated by COVID-19 and the cost-of-living crisis. So, we want to renew our commitment to and strengthen the support we offer our freelance colleagues.

Going forward, we’re going to be taking a structured approach to talent development with our new programme, GROW.

We’re still in the process of shaping GROW opportunities, but we know we want to:

- Support individuals at all stages of their career;

- View talent in its broadest sense, encompassing all roles within theatre-making;

- Integrate opportunities into our artistic programme;

- Support individuals and small companies towards achieving their own goals.

We have some ideas on how we might go about this, but to ensure the programme is relevant and meaningful we would like to hear from you, about what types of opportunities would best support you at your stage of career.

To do this we’ve put together a freelance workforce survey. We’d like to hear from anyone who has previously been freelance, is currently freelance or thinking about going freelance, from those just starting out through to seasoned professionals, and from individuals working in all roles across creative and production teams.

We have two surveys that will be open from Thursday 23 February – Sunday 12 March, each taking around 5 minutes to complete:

· If you live and work in the North East, this is the survey for you.

· If you have connections to the North East – you may have grown up and/or studied here – and are living and working elsewhere in the UK, this survey is for you.

We’re also

holding two paid focus groups on Thursday 23 March in Newcastle and Monday 27 March in Alnwick.

The latter will be co-hosted by Culture Northumberland as part of their monthly cultural co-working day.

For more information about the focus groups (including access information) and to register interest in attending, visit

What next?

We’ll be sharing our key findings in April via our website and social media, and hope to announce more details about GROW during May.

If you’d like us to keep you updated about the programme, you can sign up to our GROW mailing list to get direct emails about opportunities.

Thank you in advance to everyone who connects with our surveys and focus groups. We’re really excited about having these conversations and shaping GROW in a way that supports the wonderful freelance workforce here in the North East!

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