See HOME at home with new online commissions

Published: 23 March 2020
Reporter: David Chadderton

Manchester's HOME has announced Homemakers, a series of new commissions from artists including Bryony Kimmings, Theatre Ad Infinitum, Javaad Alipoor and Plaster Cast Theatre to be received by audiences in their homes.

The commissioned pieces may be live-streamed performance, video, audio, text, games, personal encounters or something completely different and will be made available on HOME’s web site on a ‘pay-what-you-decide’ basis.

HOME Associate Director Jude Christian, who created the project, said, “this project is a response to the immediate crisis facing artists, audiences and arts organisations. We want to provide artists with a platform to keep making the kind of brilliant, groundbreaking work that venues like HOME exist to programme, and to keep bringing our audiences the best of theatre and live art while our doors are closed.”

She added, “we are working with a ‘pay-what-you-decide’ model because we want to acknowledge the value of our artists’ work and give audiences a chance to support them by paying what they might expect to pay in a live venue. However, we don’t want to create any barriers to access and therefore this model provides everyone with the opportunity to engage with all of our work for free.”

Bryony Kimmings said, “I’m excited to see how I make work digitally, I’ve always focused on human bodies living, breathing and feeling all together in a room. What happens when you take that away? Is it possible to still create that connection remotely? Who knows? We’ll have a bash.”

George Mann, Co-Artistic Director of Ad Infinitum, said, “cancelling a performance is always devastating. Closing theatres seems unimaginable. But, having theatre as a concept cancelled for the foreseeable is just absolutely insane and forces you to ask existential questions that make your brain want to pop. It really hits home just how fragile our existence is. We’re trying to get to grips with an ever-changing situation, it's altered our future in ways we still don't understand, but we’re doing everything we can to protect the people we collaborate with.

“So, getting an e-mail from the team at HOME inviting us to be creative and to help make a challenging, uncertain time an opportunity to work with people we love, to collaborate, to stay human, it was really moving—and just what we all needed. We can’t wait to share what we come up with!”

The commissions are paid for by part of HOME’s Response Fund, set up to protect HOME’s financial stability following the closure of the venue amongst many other theatres across the country due to the coronavirus.

The aim is for the first work to be available in early April.