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Writers, actors and creatives come to Coventry

Arts Council England has awarded Theatre Absolute a £96,000 National Lottery grant for a three-year project which includes eight new commissions and encompasses Coventry City of Culture in 2021.

Humanistan is an ambitious series taking inspiration from the musings on nation and society from writers Benjamin Zephaniah, Francois Matarasso and Ben Okri, and will discuss an array of topics ranging from climate change to democracy.

Humanistan – Image by Chris O'Connell 2019

Coming from the suffix ‘stan’, meaning ‘place of’ or ‘country’, Humanistan will take place in Theatre Absolute’s Shop Front Theatre - a former fish and chip restaurant in Coventry’s City Arcade, which celebrates its 10th birthday this year. The project will engage with writers, directors, actors, producers, technicians, students, schools, interns, volunteers and non-arts organisations, considering the social and political systems that define our experiences of being human.

Peter Knott, Area Director for Arts Council England, recently said:

“Coventry has a long tradition as a centre of creativity and its people are famous the world over for making things - and for making things happen.

“As Coventry 2021 approaches, we are pleased to be continuing our support for the city with this National Lottery investment in Theatre Absolute’s Humanistan, which promises to ask important questions, bring communities together and create great opportunities for local people and visitors to experience ground-breaking work.”

Inflation Tangled Feet. Shop Front Festival 2018. Pic by Andrew Moore.

The first show in Humanistan is a piece from artist and producer Amahra Spence which plays with the idea of absurdity in everyday life, taking place on 6 November. Future commissions include a collaboration with three international break dancers, a new performance from Sharron Devine, and a new written piece by project artistic director Chris O’Connell.

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