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Local artists find a home at Durham University

(4 September 2018)

Victoria Gimby and Sam Lupton

The University is to support two local artists by welcoming them to work from its theatre.

The University operates residency programmes at its historic Assembly Rooms Theatre, in Durham City, so that artists and writers have a base from which to develop their work and skills.

Currently, there are two theatre companies in residence: Durham Student Theatre and Elysium Theatre Company.

From this month, the programme will be extended to writer Victoria Gimby and theatre company Grim Up North Productions.

As The Assembly Rooms is currently undergoing a £2.4m refurbishment, the residency will begin with the University offering its two new partners marketing and box office support.

They will then work from the theatre once it reopens in summer 2019.

Local success stories

Victoria is a Durham-born writer and director, whose credits include being Associate Director on the UK tour of the musical Rock of Ages.

She spent a week working at The Assembly Rooms in July 2018

Victoria will be developing her theatre productions Trojan and Run whilst also offering workshops to members of Durham Student Theatre.

Grim Up North Productions specialises in immersive events and productions, and operates the Durham Escape Rooms.

The company director is Sam Lupton, a Durham-born actor whose credits include West End productions of the musicals Wicked and Avenue Q.

Sam and his colleagues will offer workshops specialising in musical theatre and the Meisner technique, an approach to acting developed by Sanford Meisner.

'Thrilled'

Kate Barton, Head of Durham Student Theatre, said: “We are thrilled to have Victoria and Sam join our residency programme.

“Victoria began working with us while on her week-long visit earlier this summer, and we are delighted to welcome her back for a longer-term partnership.

“Sam is an acclaimed West End artist and Grim Up North is an exciting local success story.”

Victoria Gimby said: “The support given by The Assembly Rooms will be instrumental in allowing me the freedom to test out ideas without worrying about meeting deadlines or budgetary constraints.

“Having grown up in Durham, I am thrilled to be reconnecting artistically with the City where I discovered my love for theatre. I can't wait to see what this residency will lead to.”

'Exciting partnership'

Sam Lupton said: “We are really pleased to be embarking on this exciting partnership with The Assembly Rooms Theatre. Durham is just a great City, with a culture scene that is growing year on year.

“We are thrilled to be able to bring exciting theatre work into the city and develop future work for the UK theatre scene that is born in Durham.”

Quentin Sloper, Director of Experience Durham, said: “The expansion of our artist in residency programme reflects our commitment as a University to support and nurture the cultural offer in Durham, and offer the highest quality theatre for all the City to enjoy.”