Programmer at The Old Market Helen Jewell talks about the theatre’s ‘Reigning Women’ season

Returning with their spring season, The Old Market present ‘Reigning Women’, an online platform of work showcasing both established performers and rising stars. Fronting the season will be Pecho Mama with their digital album tour on Sunday 28th March, followed by ‘Phoenix from the Flames’ on Thursday 1st April, an eclectic evening of music and spoken word featuring performances from Alice Russell, Scarlett Fae, Jenny Foulds and Phonetic. Ahead of the season, TOM’s Programmer Helen Jewell tells us more about what to expect!Hi Helen, TOM will return this spring with Reigning Women, an online series of work. How are you feeling ahead of the launch?

After what has been an excruciating and debilitating year for the creative industries, it is incredibly exciting to put some shows on sale and to showcase some of the amazing artists we have in this city. Thanks to the success of our first application for the government’s cultural recovery fund, we have been able to invest in some streaming equipment, and will be using this to take this year’s RW Festival online. Whilst we, and many venues like us, are certainly not out of the woods after the devastation this pandemic has caused, we are very glad we are able to conspire on some brilliant creative activity!

Reigning Women is a mini series of work showcasing both established performers and rising stars. How have you approached programming the season?

With gratitude that we have such a plethora of incredibly talented performers to take to our stage. We are surrounded by brilliant artists and I only wish we had the resources to showcase all of them.
With work increasingly taking place online, how have TOM found adapting to this new normal?
We are very excited to launch our new streaming platform, which we hope will enable us to be even more accessible to audiences in the future. The online platform enables us to share our programme more extensively, and we hope to be incorporating high production value live streaming into our programme offer in the future. However, I am also so looking forward to gathering in spaces with other human beings again; to feel the collective energy in the room pulse with the power of a talented performer, and to share this experience with other people. It is a uniquely beautiful and transformative human experience that we miss so much.
In a challenging year for the theatre industry, what have you learned/taken away from this unique time?
That we desperately need the arts to keep us connected. The power and relevance of live venues like TOM is to bring people together to share our loves, losses, hopes, vulnerabilities and to remind us of our essential shared humanity, as well as to celebrate our differences. In an ever more fearful, fractured environment it is our belief that spaces like ours are absolutely crucial to our wellbeing and our sense of connection.
TOM have also supported local charities and good causes, including Brighton Women’s Centre, RISE and LEWES FC. What does it mean to have been able to have supported local communities during this time?
These charities are doing important work and at a very difficult time in history where their services are, sadly, needed more than ever. As is evident in what’s going on in the wider context right now, women’s voices need to be listened to, it is vital we create safe spaces where their voices can be heard more than ever.
What can viewers expect from the season?
Heart, power, energy and hope.
What would you like for viewers to take away from the season?

Inspiration, a sense of connection, and an enjoyment and appreciation of the incredible talent on our stage.

Questions by Lucy Basaba.
To find out more Reigning Women season, visit here…
To find out more about The Old Market’s current theatre programme, visit here…
To read our interview with soul singer Alice Russell about taking part in the Phoenix From the Flames event, visit here…
Written by Theatrefullstop