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Frantic Assembly launches Ignition fundraising campaign

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Frantic Assembly has launched a new and urgent fundraising campaign today. Ignition, the ground-breaking theatre company’s nationwide free talent development programme for young people aged 16-24, is now at risk.

​As arts funding continues to be threatened by the economic impact of Covid-19, Frantic Assembly commissioned Ignition graduate and film-maker Michael Lynch to create a poignant and moving short film about the vital work and legacy already achieved by Ignition since it began in 2008. The film features Ignition graduates from all four nations of the UK.

It will be available to view here from 18:00 today, 19 November.

For the past twelve years Ignition has sought out talent in unexpected places; from sports groups to youth centres, connecting with hundreds of young people from areas of low artistic engagement across the country.

As we look to 2021 and beyond, Frantic asks which doors will be closed and whose voices will be silenced if Ignition can no longer take place?

Donations can be made via franticassembly.co.uk

Scott Graham, artistic director of Frantic Assembly, said: Ignition makes a difference; it has and continues to transform lives, open doors and allow young people to reach beyond what they thought they were capable of. It has sparked careers and creativity that are defining our artistic landscape. I could not be more proud of what we achieve together and could not be more convinced that Ignition needs to keep finding those voices.

Paapa Essiedu, Ignition graduate and actor, said “The ethos, soul and generosity of spirit at the heart of Frantic Assembly was probably the most crucial building block for me as I started my career as an actor. At 18, I’d never done a play. Never seen a Shakespeare. Didn’t know what drama school was. And yet, I knew I wanted to be an actor. Everything that I found initially alienating and unreachable about drama schools and the ‘business’, I found accepting, warm hearted and generous through Frantic. They allowed me to be myself and explore my instincts as a performer in a safe environment. Without doubt, this gave me the confidence I needed to go on and have a go of it in the industry. Forever grateful.

Each year Frantic brings together a diverse and dynamic group of participants, with a focus on ensuring access for those with social, financial, cultural and geographical barriers to the arts. Ignition seeks to unlock undiscovered creative potential and level up the future of British theatre.

The annual programme, which engages over 900 participants across the UK, sees twelve young men and twelve young women selected through taster and trial workshops, who are then invited to London where they spend a week making their own shows with theatre professionals, performed to a public audience. Throughout this period the 24 participants are pushed creatively and physically to understand the process of devising and creating work from scratch. The process is intense, the experience transformational and the effect lasting.

Ignition graduates have gone on to have successful careers with Frantic Assembly, the creative industries and other related fields. However, the programme’s legacy is not just one of vocational success, and this is reflected in Michael Lynch’s short film. Participants forge deep bonds, receive boosts to their confidence and self-esteem, and develop a stronger work ethic through the experience.

In 2019 alone Ignition worked with over 870 young people and in 2020 before the Covid-19 restrictions were introduced Frantic was about to run its first nationwide Ignition programme for women.

The Frantic team work with nine regional partners to deliver more than 50 workshops across the country each year. The partner venues are Leeds Playhouse, The Core (Corby), The Sherman Theatre (Cardiff), Dance Base (Edinburgh), Lyric Theatre (Belfast), Theatre Royal Plymouth, Theatre Royal Norwich, Old Rep Theatre (Birmingham) and Liverpool Everyman. These venues lead on recruiting young people, provide expert knowledge on their local areas and continue their engagement with individuals who did not progress to the Intensive stage in order to provide a sustainable and long term arts offer. Frantic also continues to support Ignition graduates. Through the Re:Ignite programme the participants continue to receive training, career development and employment opportunities after the Intensive residency.

Donations can be made on the WE ARE IGNITION page on the Frantic Assembly website: franticassembly.co.uk or by text:

To donate £5 text IGNITION 5 to 70085
To donate £10 text IGNITION 10 to 70085
To donate £20 text IGNITION 20 to 70085
Texts are charged at the cost of your donation plus a standard message rate.

Anyone interested in making a major donation to support Ignition can contact Frantic Assembly executive director Kerry Whelan kerry@franticassembly.co.uk