We are delighted to announce, through the generous funding of the Victoria Wood Foundation, this year’s recipients of the bursary awards specifically for the North of England. As part of JMK Trust’s National Programme, Laura May Brunk and Zoe Lack have joined the teams to Royal Exchange Manchester and Leeds Playhouse.
Zoe Lack will assist Amy Leach on her production of Lord of the Flies.
Zoe is a theatre facilitator, director and proud disabled creative. Formerly Creative Learning Assistant at Derby Theatre, where she was Assistant Director on a number of youth shows, Zoe is a passionate advocate for everyone’s right to artistic expression. Keen to make rich, robust, socially engaged theatre, she is delighted to be supported by the JMK Trust and Victoria Wood Foundation to work on her first professional productions at Leeds Playhouse.
Laura May Brunk will be assisting Roy Alexander Weise MBE, a previous beneficiary of the JMK Trust himself, on his upcoming production of A Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at Manchester Royal Exchange.
Laura is a director and facilitator from Charlottesville, Virginia. She has worked as a director on productions of How My Light is Spent and As You Like It and as an assistant director on Crybaby and Peter and the Starcatcher. She has also co-created a short documentary to be screened at Manchester Museum and chaired the Women’s Theatre Society at The University of Manchester. As a facilitator she works with community groups who have been historically excluded from the arts, as well as within prison and probation settings.
These bursary awards give emerging directors engaged in with JMK Trust’s National programme their first step to practical and paid experience by assisting on a production at their local venue. They are unique opportunities which are funded on a case by case basis. The work is designed to prevent talented artists from disengaging with the arts and create a sense of community in a profession which can feel isolating.
Catherine Edis of the Victoria Wood Foundation said, ‘The Victoria Wood Foundation is proud to support Laura May Brunk and Zoe Lack as they start their professional careers as theatre directors at the Royal Exchange and Leeds Theatre respectively.’
Stephen Fewell, Chair of the JMK Trust, commented, ‘Thanks to the support of the Victoria Wood Foundation, we’re delighted that Zoe and Laura will get the chance to work and learn on these two exciting theatre productions, alongside directors approaching familiar texts in new, relevant ways. Victoria Wood blazed a trail for women in the entertainment industry, and it’s great to recognise the potential of two Northern based directors in her memory.’
Lord of the Flies opens at Leeds Playhouse on 18th March 2023
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof opens at Manchester Royal Exchange on 24th March 2023