Acclaimed theatre company Ardent Theatre have taken their most recent, five-star reviewed show on the road. Co-devised by playwright Andrew Muir and the Ardent 8 actors, this show is about them – their hopes and dreams as young people emerging into the world, and their wants and needs. It speaks to all those aspiring to have a career they love and to find meaning in their contribution to the world.
The show, which had a London run in October 2021, now visits Poole this Friday February 4th and subsequently plays private performances for students in Leicester and Manchester.
Ardent Theatre Company presents RETHINK, a brand new production created and performed by Ardent8, a group of emerging young actors from outside London who face barriers to pursuing a career in theatre. Written with and directed by award-winning playwright Andrew Muir (Joint Creative Director of Ardent Theatre Company) the play highlights inequality of opportunities to break into a career in theatre, intensified by 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 is created and staged by the Ardent8 Ensemble, a group of Dorset-based young people brought together through Ardent Theatre Company’s scheme to rebalance inequality of access to a career in theatre. The project was born of a recognition that often the most talented of actors will have given up before they’ve even realised their full potential because they are unable to access other cities that provide greater employment and development opportunities.
Ardent8 was launched in Dorset in 2016 and the inaugural group’s production Sacrificewas staged to acclaim at Soho Theatre and Jellicoe Theatre, Poole in 2018. The programme is being expanded across the country with partners currently including Manchester Metropolitan University and Leicester De Montfort University.
The aim of Ardent8 is to provide 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.
Andrew Muir, playwright/director, Joint Creative Director of Ardent Theatre Company:
“It has been a joy to create RETHINK with such a talented and generous group of young people. The play gets to the heart of their own frustrations – feeling powerless confronted by a lack of opportunity to follow their dreams due to a lack of funds, knowledge, networks and stuck distanced from meaningful cultural offerings. From working class backgrounds, these young people are passionate about acting yet even considering a career in theatre was alien to them – even before Covid grounded them entirely. Through Ardent8 we hope to shift things in their favour, so that our theatre ecology can benefit from their talent and perspectives.”
RETHINK can be seen at The Lighthouse, Poole, Dorset on Friday 4th February at 8.00pm. Tickets here