SIAP 2015 In Focus: Stephen Beggs
A freelance actor, director, facilitator, writer and producer, Stephen received an Artists Career Enhancement Scheme (ACES) award from the Arts Council in 2014.
Formerly the manager of Bruiser Theatre Company for 12 years before leaving to go freelance at the end of 2013. Since then Stephen has worked with several of Northern Ireland's leading theatre companies as well as working on projects in both the education and healthcare sectors. Stephen took some time out to talk about his ACES award and what that meant to him along with his future plans as part of our ongoing Support for the Individial Artist Programme (SIAP 2015) promotion.
What did receiving the award from the Arts Council mean to you?
It was a very significant moment for me. I felt that the award from ACNI was a real vote of confidence in me as an artist and practitioner.
What impact did the award make on your professional/artistic development?
It has allowed me to develop my skills as a solo theatre maker – to have the space and support to explore and develop a project of my own making, which means a great deal to me. Young at Art have been my partner organisation and their support and guidance has been invaluable.
What advice would you give to other artists who are considering applying for the SIAP award from the Arts Council?
I would say that if you are planning to apply for an ACES award, make sure you have the right partner organisation supporting you – one that represents a good fit with you as an artist and the type of work you want to explore. Also to make sure you have a good chat with the appropriate Officer at the Arts Council about the application.
What projects are you currently working on?
Through my ACES award I have been working on a project called ‘Father Figures’. The aim is that eventually it will lead to a new piece of theatre for young audiences, looking at the role of Dads in kids’ lives; what it means to be a Dad and to have a Dad. This process has involved travelling to theatre festivals in Utrecht and Berlin to look at how artists outside the UK and Ireland are developing new work. It has also involved attending training courses and seminars, interviewing relevant practitioners, carrying out workshops with Dads and kids; and I am about to travel to Switzerland for the first of two week-long sessions working with a Director (Stefan Colombo) to start to assemble a work-in-progress version of my show. The second session will be in Belfast in October.
What are your hopes for the future?
I hope to be able to take ‘Father Figures’ through to a full production and to continue to work on interesting projects with good people, continuing to develop my practise and expand my horizons as I do so.
Individual Artists are now invited to apply to the Support for the Individual Artist Programme (SIAP). Applications will close on Thursday 30th July 2015. Guidance notes and application forms are now available here.