New Genesis Kickstart Fund grants offer financial support to over 190 Creative Freelancers

13 September 2021

Images: Tangram, Acme Artist Studios cr. Michelle Ussher, The Gesualdo Six cr. Patrick Allen, James Cousins Company

19 projects announced in the second phase of funding, following first round in May

Projects span multiple genres and reach all the nations of the UK

The Genesis Foundation has announced 19 new recipients of Genesis Kickstart Fund grants for arts projects run by creative freelancers throughout the UK. The grants have been allocated from the £1m Genesis Kickstart Fund, rolled out on the Foundation’s 20th anniversary with the aim of enabling outstanding freelance talent to produce future-facing arts projects.

The majority of the second batch of Kickstart recipients will receive £10,000, along with mentoring to support them as creative freelancers in an environment transformed by Covid-19. In total, the projects will involve over 190 freelance professionals, and 100% of the projects will target new audiences for their art form or genre.  The grant recipients include projects run by Genesis partners, The Sixteen and the Almeida (the Genesis Kickstart Fund has supported Josh Azouz on the development of  ‘Once Upon a Time in Nazi Occupied Tunisia’ which is on at the Almeida until 18 September).

Of the 19 projects:

  • 58% of projects include theatre, spoken word or poetry and 21% of projects include digital arts (most of the projects span multiple arts forms).
  • Over 50% of projects are available online.
  • The projects cover England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Freelancers in the arts have suffered particularly during the Covid period. It is estimated that, pre-Covid, freelancers formed at least 50% of the UK’s theatre workforce.

Among the projects to be supported by the Genesis Kickstart Fund are:

  • Acme Artist Studios Ltd. – A partnership between Acme and the Genesis Foundation to develop three new six-month, early-career awards for artists from underrepresented backgrounds, taking place in mid-late 2022 as part of Acme’s 50th anniversary celebration. This project has been created in response to the urgent need to address widening inequalities in the contemporary art field, ensuring future generations of artists benefit from a diversity of backgrounds, experiences, and voices.
  • National Theatre Immersive Storytelling Studio – A large-scale art exhibition, combining installation, sculpture, and VR. INSIDE will allow Director Sacha Wares, designer Ultz and a number of professional and non-professional participants to test the boundaries of how virtual reality can be used to tell stories.
  • Tangram – A concert experience that explores the richness of silence, by music collective Tangram, who comprise researchers, composers and performers of Chinese and western instruments. The heart of ‘Our Silences Are Your Silences’ will be the reimagination of John Cage’s seminal 4’33’’ on 22 August 2022, which is the piece’s 70th anniversary. The reimagination by Reylon Yount will be staged for solo yangqin (Chinese hammered dulcimer) in counterpoint to the 1952 premiere’s solo piano.
  • Tyne Coast Arts Collective – A new opera written for and by the community of North Shields, exploring what ‘home’ means through spoken word, song, dance and music. The project culminates with two performances of HOME in Parks Leisure Centre, North Shields in July 2022.
  • Viviana Durante Company – A production inspired by dance innovator Isadora Duncan, her refusal of the conventions and gendered roles of ballet and insistence on a woman’s right to express herself physically on her own terms. ‘Isadora Now’ premiered at the Barbican Theatre in February 2020 to unanimous critical and audience success. The Genesis Kickstart funding will enable the Viviana Durante Company to tour the show to new audiences.

The £1m Genesis Kickstart Fund was announced last October by the Genesis Foundation, in advance of its 20th anniversary this year. The project has a prestigious Advisory Council of 30 leading figures from the arts, which includes Barbara Broccoli, Benedict Cumberbatch and Grayson Perry. Members of the Advisory Council were invited to nominate artists and organisations to apply, and subsequently reviewed grant applications in accordance with specific objectives and criteria.

John Studzinski CBE, Founder and Chairman of the Genesis Foundation, said:

“We are delighted to announce 19 new Genesis Kickstart projects, covering all arts forms and all four nations of the UK. On reading the proposals, we were inspired by the quality, creativity and scope of the projects. We now look forward to seeing what they can achieve. The onset of Covid-19 has been such a challenging time for arts freelancers but, at the same time, I think our projects are a sign of an upsurge of creative energy which is taking place in the UK. I am pleased that we are marking the 20th anniversary of our Foundation by playing a small role in catalysing this.”

Genesis Kickstart Fund Phase 2 Recipients

Organisation/Lead ArtistMain Art FormRegions
James Cousins CompanyDanceOnline, Scotland, London
Viviana Durante CompanyDanceUK, England, London, Touring
National Theatre Immersive Storytelling StudioDigital ArtOnline, UK, England, London, Regionally
HighRise TheatreTheatreOnline, UK, London
London Electronic OrchestraMusicOnline, UK, England, London, Touring
Peter BrathwaiteMusicOnline, UK, England, London
TangramMusicUK, England, London
The Gesualdo SixMusicOnline, UK, England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, London, Touring
The SixteenMusicEngland, London
Tyne Coast Arts CollectiveOperaUK, England, Regionally: North Shields, North Tyneside
London Alternative Photography Collective CIC (LAPC)PhotographyOnline, UK
Almeida TheatreTheatreLondon
Almeida TheatreTheatreLondon
Almeida TheatreTheatreLondon
Beyond Face CICTheatreUK, England, London, Regionally: Exeter & Plymouth
Acme Artist Studios Ltd.Visual ArtsLondon
Hussina RajaVisual ArtsOnline, England, London
Nadeem Din-GabisiVisual ArtsOnline, UK, England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, London, Regionally, Touring
Yinka Shonibare Foundation (Guest Projects)Visual ArtsOnline, UK, London

View the phase 1 Genesis Kickstart Fund recipients