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Get to know: Magnetic North

Magnetic North

Magnetic North is an award-winning and much-loved theatre company based in Edinburgh. It was formed in 1999 by theatre and opera director Nicholas Bone, who now works alongside Producer Verity Leigh to generate ambitious artist-centred development and production in Scotland, the UK and internationally.

The company works with artists from many different art forms, including filmmakers, composers, choreographers, visual artists, theatre makers and more, to develop and sustain new ways of creative working.

Their mission as a company is to “create significant paid opportunities for diverse individual artists at different career stages, and produce a distinctive body of high quality work for audiences in Scotland, the UK and internationally.”

Watch a short video and find out more about their work below:

“If I was going to summarise Magnetic North in one sentence,” Bone says, “I would say that what's unique about us is we're a small, independent company that's able to understand and support individual artists, but also big enough to be able to develop and produce really major works of art, and have those seen around the country.”

Well-recieved productions

Past productions have included Walden (an adaptation of Henry David Thoreau’s novel); Pass the Spoon (a ‘sort of opera’ by composer David Fennessy, visual artist David Shrigley and Magnetic North’s Nicholas Bone); Sex and God (a lyrical play about four 20th century women from Linda McLean); and Our Fathers (a new play inspired by Father and Son, Edmund Posse’s Victorian memoir about growing up in an evangelical Christian family).

“As well as our production work,” Bone explains, “we also run quite a comprehensive programme of artist development work.”

Ongoing projects include Artist Attachment: a paid development opportunity for Scottish-based artists with a significant track record from any art form.

Developing artists and creativity

Rough Mix is two-week, multi-art form creative lab, which gives artists the opportunity to explore new creative work in a supportive, collaborative atmosphere.

"At a Rough Mix there might be a playwright, a choreographer, a composer, a visual artist, and each of them will have brought an idea for a new project, or a new way of working that they're interested in exploring, and we give them the opportunity to explore that in a low risk, supportive atmosphere," Bone explains.

Space/Time is a five-day creative retreat, which focuses on facilitated discussion and reflection. ‘We take a group of artists away from where they are usually working, and over the week, each of the artists brings a question they have, about how they can continue their development,” Bone says. “It's based around a broader question, which is 'how can an artist continue to develop?’”

Strategic planning as an RFO

With the RFO funding, Magnetic North are looking forward to developing, growing their strategy, and implementing forward planning.

“Being an RFO now gives us a fantastic opportunity because it brings us stability,” Bone says.

“It enables us to plan much further forward. To make commitments to being available, to be producing work in three years time.

“This RFO funding comes at a time when it's really useful for us to now be able to be much more strategic - to have that opportunity to talk to other companies and theatres and organisations, and be able to plan much further in advance, and be able to commit to something further in advance, and see how the work that we do can really develop over that time.”

Magnetic North is one of Creative Scotland's Regularly Funded Organisations for 2018-21.

Find out more about Magnetic North at magneticnorth.org.uk.

This article was published on 19 Sep 2018