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Moving Roots announces national cast of 21 working class artists for RENT PARTY

Moving Roots, a creative touring network led by Battersea Arts Centre with producing partners Lyrici Arts (Medway), Jumped Up Theatre (Peterborough), Common Wealth (East Cardiff) and The Old Courts (Wigan), today announce the launch of RENT PARTY. The first of three collaborative touring productions, Rent Party is a show made with, by, and for the local community with world-class artist Darren Pritchard (Rent Party, Mother of the House of Flava, House of Ghetto). Each partner is re-imagining Darren’s unanimously critically acclaimed hit show with a local cast throughout 2021; passing the mic around the working class communities themselves and platforming the incredible talents of professional, often unheard artists in their local areas.

Each Rent Party production showcases the voices, lives and skills of artists from each of these places, some of whom have never performed in a traditional theatre setting. In a mighty retort to Arts Council England’s reports that these have long been areas with low arts engagement, these highly skilled performers from each town make up the 21-strong national cast. Telling their own stories of who they are and what their community has faced, they create an authentic, captivating and dazzling map of their lives through devised performances across styles such as Hip-Hop & Trap music, fire dancing, spoken word, ventriloquism and opera. Weaving a vibrant tapestry of humanity, the shows are shaped by the unique experiences and talents of each cast, who give a distinct shape to the challenges and triumphs of their communities and their lives.

Medway cast includes Nigel Adams, Emily Clare, Lexi Maize, Ian Norsworthy, Chris Stein, andDenise Wilton. Peterborough cast includes Alexa Vox, Charley Genever, Mark McCredie, Summer Abraham and Teddi the Drag Queen. East Cardiff cast includes Yasmin Gould (Yasmin Annie), Jamee Summers (The Honest Poet), Jude Thoburn-Price (The Cult of Doris), Darnell Williams (DFlexXx) and Emilie. Wigan cast includes Shaun Fallows, Sarah Hardman, Jamie Lee, Alice Mae and Zha Olu.

Rhiannon White, Co-Artistic Director of Common Wealth (East Cardiff), says:
“Rent Party feels like the start of something… Perhaps a cultural working-class revolution? But most definitely a creative movement. It’s incredible to watch our community coming together to imagine, make and share all its wealth.”

Kate Hall, Creative Producer, Jumped Up Theatre
“There is a change coming in theatre, and some of the most exciting shifts are coming from the artists and audiences based in places like the homes of the Moving Roots network. To be able to work with such a generous, insightful and radical artist like Darren Pritchard accelerates that change, disrupting whose stories can be placed centre stage, raising the expectation of audience, and creating national opportunities for exceptional local talent.”

The tour kicked off yesterday with a digital screening by the Medway cast. It continues with in-person performances by the Peterborough cast (Jumped Up Theatre) on 1 & 2 July, followed by further digital screenings of the Medway cast on 8 & 22 July via In Autumn 2021, the East Cardiff (Common Wealth) performances will take place in September, and the Wigan cast (The Old Courts) will perform on 29-30 October. Further details to be announced.

Keely Augustus, Artistic Director of Lyrici Arts (Medway), says:
“Rent Party Medway places true experiences at the heart of the show and portrays the essence of human strength to overcome adversity and celebrate all that connects us. Using Lyrici Arts’ passion for lyrical theatre, this remixed and reimagined digital version is told through a spectrum of monologues, songs, dance, visual arts and spoken word. We’re so proud to be able to showcase the wealth of Medway’s local talent.”