State of Grace
Founded in 2013, State of Grace is a performance and dance-theatre collective based in North East England. We make work, train ourselves and others and develop dynamic, meaningful participation both in the UK and overseas – drawing strong creative, developmental and strategic relationships between different geographies, people who take part and audiences.
State of Grace creates thrilling, vivid, unforgettable performance. Our work attracts new, younger and diverse audiences whilst reaching deeply into diverse local, regional, national and international communities: we strive to develop meaningful, authentic, high-quality performance work that celebrates diversity, openness and inclusion.
The Company operates a Core Ensemble of emerging, early-career artists and works with a shifting group of expert, guest practitioners and people who have never practised formally – creating intense meeting-grounds of dignity and democracy, building bold processes of acculturation, artistic development and expression.
Our Core Artists come from backgrounds in theatre, dance, music, film, fine and digital arts, writing and inter-disciplinary performance. The Company grows as they grow – it is a distinct learning journey and an organisation with learning and opportunity at its heart: for our artists and all the people we work with.
State of Grace aims to:
- Continually evolve, deepen and widen our artistic, participation and audience development practices – further embedding and sharing our work within our professional/non-professional communities, including international communities.
- Through empathy and reciprocity, grow and share more widely high-quality work that gives dignity to different ways of living that exist in our diverse communities – encouraging interaction beyond cultural, racial, class or social origins.
- Stimulate and galvanise practice in high quality performance and performance-making, development, training and research.
- Increase the depth and quality of active participation in performance development/training, and the number of artists accessing development/training and sharing skills.
- Contribute to the growth of creative/learning-centred Digital Resources through the recording and sharing of training, making and participative process, building accessible Open Source material for the Creative and Learning industries.
- how did you begin– as an individual/as a group?
State of Grace launched at Northern Stage, Newcastle, in May 2014. Bringing together a diverse collective of 14 artists, we sought to define our creative rationale through training and the exploration of a film text through different lenses. We are now a Core Company of 11 artists from different creative backgrounds, but largely making what could be described as physical/dance-theatre.
- who gave you the first impulse, the necessity to do theatre?
Benedict Ayrton is the creative lead for the company and the initial impulses came from him – Ben has a 30-year history of making and developing work and training artists in the UK and overseas. Now, the impulse comes from the collective company – we are a highly democratised organisation.
- who would you identify as your master(s)?
So many, but to boil them down: Jerzy Grotowski, Włodzimierz Staniewski, Eugenio Barba and all at Odin Teatret, Gordon Vallins, Robert Lepage, Nigel Charnock, Kathryn Hunter, Anne Bogard, Augusto Boal, Stella Adler.
- why does theatre continue to be an imperative for you?
It’s just what we do: an innate need to bring people together to share ideas and experiences; the need to train and become freer, more impulsive, spontaneous and alive; and the need to travel and learn in order to be better citizens.