Maverick to create work for West London communities

Published: 15 November 2019
Reporter: Steve Orme

A theatre company is looking to create a large-scale play with music written, performed and produced by the communities of Hammersmith and Fulham, West London.

It is the brainchild of Nick Hennegan, artistic director of Maverick who set up the company in Birmingham in 1994.

He said, “it's a new idea in creating theatre, with completely free access to anyone who wants to find out more and have a go—not just at acting but sound, lights, directing, producing, set-painting, administration and anything to do with creating a new theatre production.

“Maverick is all about access and with training in drama and the arts becoming ever more exclusive, I think this will help.

“Participation is free and we’re crowdfunding to pay top professionals from the world of theatre to come and tutor the company.

“We ran a similar production in Birmingham a few years ago and we had bar staff, baristas and barristers, young and old, from all backgrounds working together and workshops from the likes of Barbara Houseman from the RSC.

“Many people who were introduced to theatre by Maverick in the past have gone on to have successful careers in the arts.

“If this idea works, as we expect it to, in Hammersmith and Fulham, we intend to roll the idea out nationally, using regional theatres as hubs and performance spaces.

“This is more than a traditional 'community' theatre experience. This is more in line with the ideas Joan Littlewood used at the Theatre Royal, Stratford East where the local community informs the theatre being created.”

Maverick took two shows to the Edinburgh Fringe, a tragi-comedy written by Hennegan called P.A.L.S. about four children growing up on a council estate in Birmingham, and a new version of Romeo and Juliet which looked at the rivalry between football teams Birmingham City and Aston Villa. Both shows transferred to the Tabard Theatre, London.

Rehearsals will begin early in 2020, with the new play being staged at a theatre in May.