A new development programme for directors and producers from under-represented backgrounds is being launched in Wales.
Theatre company Fio and Wales Millennium Centre will pay 10 directors and 10 producers from across the country to attend monthly sessions over the course of a year.
Participants in Arise Wales Creatives will receive masterclasses from industry experts and mentorship, and will undertake two creative projects across the year.
These will be a site-specific audio drama, collaborating with students from Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, and a festival at the Weston Studio at Wales Millennium Centre.
Fio artistic director Sita Thomas, who previously led Tamasha’s pilot development programme for directors, said she wanted to provide career-development opportunities for emerging creatives within Wales so they would not have to leave the country to learn new skills.
Thomas told The Stage: "When I moved back home to Wales – I’m born and bred in Pembrokeshire and I’d been freelancing in London for the past nine years – I was meeting lots of theatremakers and artistic directors and I asked them: ‘Who are the Welsh Asian or black producers and directors I can collaborate with?’
"They couldn’t name more than one or two. I realised there was a need to initiate programmes that I’d benefited from, like the Young Vic Directors Program and Artistic Directors of the Future’s Up Next. Without those things I wouldn’t be an artistic director today."
Thomas said she had felt forced to moved away from Wales aged 16 to advance her career elsewhere due to a lack of opportunities in the country.
She added: "Although Fio is focused on improving opportunities for global-majority people, this programme is for anyone who feels they are currently under-represented in the Welsh cultural sector. That could be because of their race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender or disability, or if people identify as working class or are Welsh-language speakers."
The scheme is open to applications from artists of any age who are either living in Wales, or who are Welsh but living outside of the country.
The deadline for applications to the programme is April 4, and the programme will run from May 2022 to May 2023.
Arise Wales Creatives is funded by Fio and Wales Millennium Centre and supported by Stage Directors UK, Stage One, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and Buzz Culture.
Emma Evans, head of productions at Wales Millennium Centre, said: "We are delighted to be working with Sita, one of our creative associates, who has designed a programme that will support artists to find their voices and make space for them to explore their practice.
"We’re creating a cohort of individuals who, through learning and growing together, will be empowered to forge new and exciting futures."