RISE TO VERTEX, OUR JOURNEY
Posted on 19 Mar 2016
We are two graduates of Leeds Beckett University, where we met studying BA Performance. After two years studying and collaborating with peers, in our third year we were given the task of creating a final performance for the Leeds Beckett Lift Off Festival. This was the moment we began working together. We started by having conversations about the kind of work we were interested in making and the existing companies whose work inspired us. Eventually, we pieced together a show which we called Rise to Vertex, which was born from conversations we had about the journey of the hero. After almost a year since we first presented the piece in a studio at university, we are still working together, and we have opportunities to present the piece nationally and internationally.
Pretty soon after we graduated, we learnt that we had received the Lift Off and Transform award, a new initiative for promising artists graduating from Leeds Beckett. This now means we will be presenting the show at Transform 16 in Leeds this April. We’ll also be travelling to London in May, presenting Rise to Vertex alongside other Leeds based artists at the Battersea Arts Centre in London at a Transform Takeover (part of A Nations Theatre Festival).
From the first time we performed Rise to Vertex together at University, we were blown away by the experience and knew that we had to keep working together. When we graduated, we decided the best way to do this was to establish a company, and continue making work in Leeds.
We have named our two-person collaboration, Stitch Theatre. For us, the name reflects our desire as performers and creators to weave different ideas and contexts together in order to create theatre experiences. Already, various exciting opportunities have arisen for us and we’re embracing each one. As well as performing in Leeds and London, we’ve been invited to present Rise to Vertex at the Dionysus Festival in Croatia this week. This is a great opportunity for us to show the work to an international audience and give a taster of the vibrant work that’s coming out of Leeds.
Our advice to anyone who is graduating from a performance course is to find whatever ways you can to carry on making and presenting work. Trust yourselves, and hold steady in the face of your challenges. Believe the people who tell you that your work is good or holds potential. Go to scratch nights, ask for advice and support when you need it. Meet the people in your city who are already making work and if you can, get involved with what they’re doing. With support and people you trust around you, you’ll learn to navigate yourself through any uncertainties.
Rise to Vertex will be performed as part of Dionysus Festival, Croatia on the 18 March, as part of Transform 16 on 22 April at Live Art Bistro, and as part of A Nations Theatre Festival (Transform Takeover at Battersea Arts Centre) on Saturday 21 May.
Stitch Theatre is made up of Martyna Kozanecka and James Rowling. In 2015 they were awarded the Lift Off & Transform Award, a partnership between Transform and Leeds Beckett University for promising graduate artists.