HighTide sweeps into town with plans for most easterly theatre festival
- Credit: Helen Maybanks
A new festival, offering a 'platform' for emerging artists, is set to be showcased in Lowestoft.
Theatre company HighTide has announced plans for further expansion, with the country's most easterly theatre festival to be staged in Lowestoft from 2021.
It comes after the company was awarded £40,000 from the Foyle Foundation to start work in the town and develop plans for the festival – which would become its fourth – alongside existing festivals in Aldeburgh, Walthamstow and Edinburgh, where it debuts this year.
Prior to the full festival, HighTide will bring Tallulah Brown's Songlines to the Seagull Theatre in Pakefield in August. Further work will be toured to the town, ahead of the planned full festival in 2021 with the £40,000 grant towards a two year programme of theatre performances and activities to develop audiences in the town.
Steven Atkinson, artistic director of HighTide, said: 'HighTide in Lowestoft will be a platform for local artists and venues working in the easternmost town of the UK.
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'Thanks to the Foyle Foundation, we will now start developing plans for HighTide Festival Lowestoft with local artists and audiences, and we will also start to regularly tour HighTide productions to Lowestoft, beginning with Tallulah Brown's Songlines to The Seagull this August.'
Emma Butler Smith, chief executive officer of the Marina Theatre, said: 'We're really excited to welcome HighTide to Lowestoft.
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'There's a real uplift in the cultural offer and activity for this area and HighTide will play a part in the renaissance of the town. As well as access to great new theatre on our doorstep, Lowestoft has a wealth of local talent and energy, which we're sure will get right behind – and into – HighTide In Lowestoft.'
Jayne Knight, arts development manager at Suffolk County Council, said: 'We are delighted that HighTide is developing its work in Lowestoft. The town has three theatres, one of the most successful cultural education partnerships in England, a rich cultural heritage and ambitious plans for the future. 'HighTide's work with the town will be part of these ambitions.'
HighTide's work in Lowestoft is supported by Arts Council England with further HighTide productions and other activities in Lowestoft to be announced throughout the next two years.
HighTide productions have helped launch the careers of writers including Ella Hickson, Nick Payne, Vinay Patel and Jack Thorne.
The HighTide Festival has been the launchpad for many acclaimed new plays, such as Al Smith's Harrogate, which recently transferred from their Aldeburgh festival to the Royal Court in London, and received an Evening Standard Award nomination.
Each HighTide festival showcases local artists and HighTide Festival Lowestoft is aiming to showcase the potential of emerging artists in Lowestoft and the surrounding area.
HighTide Festival Aldeburgh 2018 is headlined by Songlines, a new play by Aldeburgh resident Tallulah Brown.
HighTide's first production in Lowestoft will be at The Seagull Theatre in Pakefield on August 29, with this new song-laced coming of age tale performed. Set in Reydon, Songlines features live folk music from the award-winning band Trills.