Are the Ardent8 stars of the future – and what is RETHINK?

Theatre is a profession with massive inequalities of access. These inequalities – of location, class and financial background – cause many aspiring young actors to fall at the very first hurdle. One company is challenging this shocking betrayal of talent- and doing something practical about it.

Ardent Theatre Company, formed in 2014 by co-Creative Directors Mark Sands and Andrew Muir, focused on this, with their stated aim of “Bringing Outsiders In”.

The Ardent8 project was launched in Dorset in 2016 and the inaugural group’s production SACRIFICE was staged to acclaim at the Soho Theatre, London and the Jellicoe Theatre, Poole in 2018. From this promising beginning, the programme is now being expanded across the country with partners currently including Manchester Metropolitan University and Leicester De Montfort University.

The aim of Ardent8 is to provide eight creatives a taste of life as an actor in London and benefit from opportunities within the industry from which they have otherwise been alienated but which Ardent Theatre Company believe is no more than an equal opportunity. In doing so, they will develop their skills further in a professional context that also introduces them to key industry practitioners. The programme includes acting workshops led by industry professionals, ongoing advice and mentorship, a week’s professional performance at a London theatre (paid at Equity rates), and all travel, subsistence and accommodation costs. A new intake of 8 creatives will benefit from this programme each year.

To finance this huge undertaking, finance expert Mark Sands is actively engaged in fundraising and grant-applying all year round, culminating with a spot in the prestigious Big Give Xmas fundraising project, where public donations are doubled by philanthropic gifts.

One of the great things about the project is that the play they feature in is written especially for them by co-Creative Director Andrew Muir, who is also an award-winning playwright. Muir also directs the work.

This week the Ardent8 appear at London’s Union Theatre in RETHINK, a timely piece about the inequality of opportunities to breaking into a career in theatre, exacerbated and magnified by the disruption to the arts of the global pandemic.

RETHINK is set in the aftermath of that sunny July 2020, when six graduates from a performing arts course on the south coast of England are encouraged to reconsider their careers, in the wake of theatre closures and lack of opportunity. According to a government-backed advertising campaign, their next job could be in cyber, they just don’t know if yet. What choice do they have?

RETHINK opens today, 26th October and runs until Saturday October 30th at 7.30 each evening with matinees on Thursday and Saturday at 3.00pm. Do get along and support this chance to see potential stars of the future if you can. And it’s even cheaper with the discount code below!

SPECIAL DISCOUNT CODE – Quote ARDENT5 at checkout to get your tickets for just £5 (£4 plus £1 booking fee). Subject to availability.

To book your tickets, click here


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