This spring, Newport’s Riverfront Theatre and Arts Centre launches a new Associate Artist relationship with Newport born actor and writer Connor Allen, who the venue has been working with since 2018.
As Associate Artist the venue will work closely with Connor, who will benefit from a package of bespoke support from this major Welsh venue. Support will include acting as an ongoing creative mentor, as well as more practical assistance such as help with funding applications, rehearsal space, production, technical and marketing support. The venue also hopes to learn from the expertise of the growing pool of associates. These relationships are intended to lead to a production or other programme of audience-engaged work so that the venue’s audiences benefit from this relationship.
The Riverfront is committed to supporting artists, particularly those based in South Wales and whose work they feel is important to their audiences, artistic programmes and priorities. The new Associate Artist relationship between The Riverfront and Connor Allen is just the first of many for the arts venue who are committing to a range of different partnerships a season in order to help support and nurture new artists in the arts industry.
The venue is also supporting Connor’s debut play, Working not Begging, which will be one highlight of their Spring season, and Connor’s first with the venue as Associate Artist.
On the Associate Artist relationship, Connor comments:
‘I’m just a kid from a council estate in Newport so I am beyond excited for this opportunity. The family at The Riverfront are such a welcoming and supportive bunch who not only bring the best out of me creatively but have supported and nurtured me for a long time now. I’m thrilled to collaborate my passion and engagement with the warmth and intensity of the arts family at The Riverfront.
“I’m super excited about the possibilities this position will offer and the opportunities that will present not only for myself, but for the team at The Riverfront and the community of Newport. I know what it means to other kids and artists in Newport to see someone like me in this position, and I hope it will inspire and nurture a new wave of talent to engage with the building and its team to bring Newport’s vast and diverse voices to centre stage.”
The Riverfront’s Programme Assistant Leah Roberts comments:
‘We are delighted to welcome Connor as the first of our new Associate Artists, and to make him part of the family here at The Riverfront.’
The performance of Working Not Begging poignantly tackles themes of homelessness, grief and hope and was inspired by a homeless woman Connor met on the streets of Newport City Centre. She was sat making loom bands with a sign which read ‘I’m working NOT begging’. She was a woman just trying to get by.
Inspired by this, the play follows Joanne, a homeless woman whose life is turned upside down as she contemplates a life changing decision, weighing up whether to leave what she calls home whilst coming to terms with the grief of losing her beloved gran.
Of the show, Leah Roberts says
“Since Connor first came here in 2018 with the first phase of development for Working not Begging, we’ve seen him grow so much as an artist. He has a unique, voice and we look forward to supporting him further and seeing the production come to life this Spring.”
Tickets for Working Not Begging, which takes to the stage on Tuesday 5 & Wednesday 6 May are available now from newportlive.co.uk/riverfront, or by calling 01633 656757.
Working Not Begging has been supported by Shelter Cymru, Pobl, The Wallich, Crisis (Swansea) and Edengate Newport, with thanks to funding from Arts Council Wales, The Carne Foundation, Dearborn Consulting Ltd and Transporter Productions.