Future Stages is an ambitious new production company and performing arts charity established in 2017 by Gregory Batsleer, Fiona Stuart and Louis Hartshorn. Its purpose is to support the development of young performers across the UK by providing opportunities for them to further their talent and ambition.
Future Stages was born out of a hugely successful production of West Side Story at the Royal Northern College of Music in 2008, which involved 52 young people from Greater Manchester, all with little or no experience of the arts. Directed by the RNCM’s Director of Opera Studies, Stefan Janski, with dance by RNCM choreographer, Bethan Rhys Wiliam, the show had a considerable impact on everyone involved and an astonishing 87% of the young people involved are now working professionally in the performing arts. We were delighted that two of these original performers, Dominic Biddle and Daniel McDwyer joined Future Stages for our 10th year anniversary production, as Associate Director and Associate Musical Director.
Future Stages productions are unique. Following the model of the original West Side Story, they will see young artists at the start of their careers working alongside and mentoring young people from local schools. In addition, by working alongside professional theatres and orchestras we will provide a full-scale experience rarely available, even in the West End.
This peer support system nurtures ambition and fuels the development of everyone involved, aiming to break preconceived prejudices and demonstrate that participation in the performing arts can be for anyone who has the talent and aspiration. In addition, our young performers will work alongside some of the best creative talent in the UK, from Directors and Choreographers to Designers and Scriptwriters, meaning that not only are we training them in performance skills but providing opportunities to explore a variety of careers as well.
Through our philosophy of actively seeking to engage young people who are less likely to participate in high-quality arts activities, we hope to nurture their skills and spark a lifelong love of the arts.
West Side Story 2018 was the inaugural production for Future Stages. It will return with a new fully integrated production in Spring 2020 and will be holding workshops and development programmes in the interim year.