Two brand-new digital works by Hot Brown Honey and Esosa Ighodaro will be available this Thursday, 11 February, via HOME’s website, homemcr.org.

The works are part of HOME’s Homemakers series, launched in April last year, which commissions theatre and live art markers to create work at home, for an audience who are also at home.

The Manchester arts centre are also launching five open-call commissions for the series, with £1,000 plus a split of the box office income available to each successful artist.

Don’t Touch My Hair is a five-minute flashback to one of the finest moments from Hot Brown Honey, the extraordinary stageshow created by director Lisa Fa’alafi and musical director Kim ‘Busty Beatz’ Bowers, blending together clips from performances across the world to create a defiant musical blast that’s equal parts social activism and earworm and entirely what the world needs right now.

Hot Brown Honey said: “Don't Touch My Hair is a reality that many Honeys around the globe have had to deal with. Hot Brown Honey have been performing Don't Touch My Hair live since 2014 and decided here in the new normal, we have the opportunity to show our live performance in a new artistic way, adding collective voices from authors Emma Dabiri, Phoebe Robinson, Jessica Williams and Sharee Miller to artists Solange and FUPU. Our Hair is personal. Our Hair is political. Our Hair is powerful. Do Not Touch Our Hair. Repetition is key!”

In Esosa Ighodaro’s Dear People of No Colour, commissioned by the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, a woman prepares for a performance that cannot happen. The work has dried up. There’s nothing for anyone to succeed or fail at; there’s no need to be competitive. But this doesn’t mean that suddenly the playing field is a level one. 

Esosa is an emerging writer who has been working professionally as an actor since 2014, with roles in film, TV as well as theatre. She secured Screen Ireland funding as part of their Actor as Creator scheme 2020, to turn her script, Round Boxes into a short film. Esosa created and wrote Believe, a ten-part sitcom for Grand Explorer Studios, set to go into production in 2021.

A sharp reflection on race and identity, Dear People of No Colour imagines a space where we can breathe together. 

Esosa said: “Dear People of No Colour came about as a result of feeling like my viewpoint never got to be expressed in an Irish context. Instead of complaining about not being represented, I decided it was time to represent myself. In creating the piece I wanted to show a unity between people, and at the same time highlight that it has taken a global pandemic for people of no colour to experience what it feels like as a POC when you are treated like an outsider.”

Over 30 Homemakers works now available

More than 30 new Homemakers works have been commissioned since the series was launched. These include David Ellington’s poignant and political BSL poem, Liberty, captured on film, Matty Gurney’s Dr Voxoff’s Sign Language School for Hearing Children, a dark, acerbic and witty dystopian vision of a world in which the roles are reversed – where hearing people are a minority, and Hester Chillingworth’s Them’s The Rules, a twenty-minute film that pushes to the edges of the new truth that, often, the only way to see a loved one is on a screen.

Hester says: “Them’s The Rules is a piece which absolutely comes from this new landscape of isolation and distance we’re in due to Covid - it was written during Lockdown 1 and made during Lockdown 2. But it also speaks more widely into life, asking questions about loss, the need for connection and the ways we process some of the core things about being human. I was super keen to work with Peter and Nicki on this, because siblings performing together opens up a really unique space, I think. There is an instant and irreplicable intimacy and shared history that holds everything, beyond the reaches of language and the usual negotiations of relationships between people.”

The series has received a swathe of four-and-five start reviews, with critics describing the shows as “audacious”, “frightening and funny in equal measure” and “a glorious antidote for our current terrifying and dull moment.”

Open call for new commissions

In addition to the new works, HOME are looking for five North West-based theatre or live-art makes to take on Homemakers commissions.

Jennie McCusker, Head of Talent Development at HOME, said: “We are delighted to be able to launch five more Homemakers commissions at the start of 2021 for North West artists to make some new projects and to connect with new audiences in new ways. The pandemic has been devastating for the freelance artistic community so we continue with our commitment to support artists by making as many opportunities available as we can to make and present work during these turbulent times.”

The selected artists will receive a fee of £1000, support from the team at HOME and a split of the box office income. The work needs to be new to the public, and will be made available online to audience’s via HOME’s website.

The commissioning process will follow HOME’s new application process, developed with the National Freelance Taskforce. The two-step process will require only a brief initial expression of interest for the first stage, with shortlisted applicants given financial and administrative support from HOME’s Talent Development team. The final works will be chosen by an independent panel of artists who are paid for their time, and all shortlisted applicants will receive detailed feedback from the panel.

Applications will open on February 11, with additional information available on HOME’s website, homemcr.org  

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