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The Nexus Laboratory

The Nexus Laboratory
Written by West Yorkshire Theatre Network  29/05/2014

Nicki Davy of West Yorkshire Theatre Networks invites artists to get involved in the upcoming Nexus Laboratory.

"Theatres. Art Galleries. Museums. You don’t need to go too far to find cultural and creative inspiration in Leeds. 

But aside from touring productions and professional exhibitions, there are at any one time dozens of unsung artists honing their skills and developing their craft away from the public eye. These artists are often working in isolation, without funding, professional support or opportunities to take their art to the next level.  Well – we say that this just isn’t good enough. 

Here at WYTN, we are constantly looking for new ways to connect the lovely creative community of Yorkshire. For the last 4 years, we have worked tirelessly to build bridges between creative types and provide platforms for emerging artists to showcase their work. We run monthly socials; we publicise employment and casting opportunities; we connect with industry professionals. Generally, we just do what we can to help artists progress and succeed in the ever-changing Arts industry.

Typically, though, we weren’t content to stop there…In 2013, we began putting together a pioneering project that would promote everything that WYTN stands for. Following an intense planning period, The Nexus Laboratory was born. 

The first rule of N Lab? There are no rules

Well, actually there’s just one rule: work collaboratively with other artists to create an original piece of art. 

Oh, and the final piece must be created within a timescale. And within a budget. And the artists will be from different backgrounds.

Several rules, then. But none as important as the first.

When we embarked on the pilot round of the N Lab in February, we knew that it was, in essence, an experiment. Our role was purely to facilitate the process, not to influence it. This was not always easy, especially when the inevitable problems arose; but the very nature of an experiment is that the outcome is unpredictable. This is what makes the N Lab so exciting. 

The pilot round of the N Lab came to an end at The Tetley in April. NEXUS was a fantastic day of networking, performance and discussion, designed to give N Labbers a platform upon which to showcase the fruits of their collective labours. The final product, entitled ‘Alter-Ego’, was a beautiful union of visual arts and music, writing and performance, beanbags and postcards, sculpture and split personalities… The people of Leeds came in their droves to see what the N Lab had to offer, and they weren’t disappointed. 

And so we breathed a collective sigh of relief. The project was a resounding success. 

Now, the N Lab is back – and it’s bigger and bolder than ever before. With a little financial help from Arts Council England, we are hugely proud to offer the opportunity to take part in the next round of the project, due to start in June. As well as offering rehearsal space and budget, we’ll be hosting professional masterclasses from practitioners including John Britton, Steve Huison, Anamaria Wills and Blast Theory. Alongside mentoring from Iain Bloomfield (of Bradford’s Theatre in the Mill) the WYTN team will also be there every step of the way to provide support, a sounding board or a punching bag as necessary.  

Do we know what’s going to happen? Absolutely not.

Does this scare us? A little.  Are we excited? Unbelievably. 

This is a truly unique opportunity for emerging artists to come together and create something beautiful. We can’t wait. 

Tempted? Then we’d love to hear from you. 

Full details and application form available at http://www.wytn.co.uk/n-lab.html The deadline is 5pm, Friday 6th June. You can read all about the pilot project here: http://www.wytn.co.uk/the-pilot.html "

@WYTN

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