The 2018 Leverhulme Scholarship recipients announced

28 Feb 2018

Bristol Old Vic have today announced the latest recipients of The Leverhulme Arts Scholarships for 2018-19. Bristol Old Vic’s Ferment initiative has once again partnered with The Leverhulme Trust to offer exceptional local artists; Emma Callander, Laila DialloJulia Head, Jo Hellier and Kid Carpet (aka Ed Patrick), a year-long opportunity to explore their practice.

Over the course of the year, the Scholarships will enable these exciting artists to receive support from the Ferment team, encouraging the artists to think about their own creative and professional development. They will also have the opportunity to share work-in-progress during Bristol Old Vic’s scratch festival, Ferment Fortnight, and explore how this support from Ferment can enable them to experiment and try out new ideas.

Ferment Producer Emma Bettridge said:

"Following on from the brilliant group of Leverhulme scholars we've had with us since March 2017, I feel we are in an even better place to support this new group of wonderful artists. This type of support is so rare – someone once described it as allowing artists to 'breathe in' and I think that is perfect. We are so used to watching as they breathe out, we don’t ever fully address the importance of that in-breath. That time. That space. That reflection. This award is truly unique and I feel so very excited to be working closely with these artists."
Emma Bettridge, Ferment Producer. Photo: Jack Offord


Emma Callander

Emma is an award-winning director, Associate Artist for the Traverse Theatre, Co-Artistic Director of Theatre Uncut and Creative Director of the Birth Debate for the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester. Her work for the Traverse includes Cuckooed by Mark Thomas (winner of Fringe First and Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award).

Emma has commissioned and directed Theatre Uncut's work by writers including Mark Ravenhill, Tanika Gupta, David Greig and Sabrina Mahfouz at the Young Vic, Bristol Old Vic and Traverse Theatre winning two Fringe Firsts, the Herald Angel and Spirit of the Fringe Award.

In Bristol Emma has directed Banksy: The Room in the Elephant and Digitsfor the Tobacco Factory Theatre and the Truth About Youth Princes Trust project with Travelling Light.

She trained at the National Theatre of Scotland under the Regional Theatre Young Directors Scheme assisting Vicky Featherstone and John Tiffany. Emma also co-directed the Arcadia Spectacular show at Glastonbury Festival in 2011.

A photo of Laila Diallo

Laila Diallo 

Laila is a Canadian-born dance maker based in Bristol. A recipient of a Rayne Fellowship for Choreographers in 2006, Laila also was an Associate Artist at ROH2, Royal Opera House, between 2009 and 2012. Recent works include Edge and Shore, a collaboration with visual artist Helen Carnac commissioned by Siobhan Davies Dance; Countless Yellow Chairs with composer/songwriter Jules Maxwell and Something About Wilderness and Several Attempts at Taming Beauty, co-created with Mélanie Demers for Skanes Dansteater, Sweden.

Alongside independently and collaboratively devising work for live performance, Laila works as a movement director in theatre and opera. Credits include, amongst others: Aïda and War and Peace (Canadian Opera Company); Thérèse Raquin and All’s Well That Ends Well (National Theatre); The Prince of Homburg (Donmar); Tis Pity She’s a Whore (West Yorkshire Playhouse); Otello and Unballo in maschera (Opera North). Laila also frequently works within the university and vocational sectors, with children, youth and community groups as well as with emerging artists and peers, through commissioned work and the delivery of workshops, classes, public talks and mentoring.

Jo Hellier

Jo is a performance-maker working with choreography, installation and voice. At the moment, her areas of interested are ceremony, magic and symbolism, in particular the power of practicing creativity together and what happens when people share intentions and make something happen. For the last four years she has been making work about climate change - trying to find different ways of thinking and talking about the future. This work stems from a fascination and love of the natural world and our ability to change how we relate to it. She studied theatre and choreography at Dartington College of Arts, graduating in 2010 and her work has been shown nationally and internationally and has been supported by Arts Council England and commissioned by Arts Admin, Bristol Biennial, IBT, Spill and The Yard.

Julia Head

Julia is a Bristol-based theatre maker and director who works extensively with Bristol Old Vic’s Engagement department. She is part of the Bristol Old Vic Young Directors scheme, an Associate Artist of Fen, Propolis, Twisted Theatre and Sharp Teeth Theatre and recently received The Henry Augustine Forse Award for her exceptional contribution to Engagement. She was the Assistant Director on Bristol Old Vic Young Company's summer show T***k you and is currently working as a director in collaboration with Headlong Theatre.

Ed Patrick (Kid Carpet) 

Many moons ago Ed visited a local car boot sale and returned with a plastic guitar, a child’s keyboard and a toy tape deck. He put his name into an online anagram generating machine and Kid Carpet was born.

He began making music with old keyboards, toys, computers, a sellotaped up broken electric guitar and a punk rock DIY attitude. Over the last 15 years he has picked up an international reputation as a pioneer of catchy, lo-fi electro-pop music. In that time he also went on to have a family, watching “family shows” and mostly finding them to be twee, sweet, wholesome and safe, not reflective of the creative chaos of family life. So he began making theatre gigs for young audiences and families. Part storytelling, part gig, these performances keep the same punk DIY attitude at the heart of them.

Since 2011 he has successfully made and repeatedly toured numerous family theatre shows, (Kid Carpet & The Noisy Animals, Blast Off!, Noisy Neighbours, Noisy Nativity, Super Mega Rockin’ Rock Show, Snow Globe and Noisy Holiday). He has also collaborated with actor Vic Llewellyn, to create The Castle Builder, a show about Outsider Art, madness and the urge to create things. This ran at Edinburgh Fringe in 2016 and they continue to perform the show.

He has been supported to develop and make work in the South West, with shows commissioned, produced and co-produced by Theatre Bristol, Tobacco Factory Theatres, the egg theatre Bath and Bristol Old Vic. Kid Carpet is an associate company of the egg theatre, Bath and Nuffield Southampton Theatres.

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Bristol Old Vic is the longest continuously running theatre in the UK, and celebrated its 250th anniversary in 2016. Under Artistic Director Tom Morris and Chief Executive Emma Stenning, the historic playhouse aims to inspire audiences with its own original productions, both at home and on tour, whilst nurturing the next generation of artists, whether that be through their 350-strong Young Company, their many outreach and education projects or their trailblazing artist development programme, Bristol Ferment.

They use their funding to support experiment and innovation, to allow access to their programme for people who would not otherwise encounter it, or be able to afford it, and to keep their extraordinary heritage alive and animated.

Since 2016, while the theatre continues to present work, it has simultaneously been undergoing a multi-million pound redevelopment project to transform its front of house space into a warm and welcoming public building for all of Bristol to enjoy, create a new studio theatre and open up its unique theatrical heritage to the public for the first time. The project is due to be completed in autumn 2018.

The Leverhulme Trust was established by the Will of William Hesketh Lever, the founder of Lever Brothers. Since 1925 the Trust has provided grants and scholarships for research and education. Today, it is one of the largest all-subject providers of research funding in the UK, distributing approximately £80m a year. For more information about the Trust, please visit: