Aylesbury theatre group receives £160k funding for two grassroots projects

The group hopes to use the money to support more local actors and artists
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An Aylesbury-based theatre group has received substantial funding which will go towards two new projects.

Unbound has received a three-year funding grant from the Rothschild Foundation for £160,000.

The award-winning company performs and develops projects at Queens Park Arts Centre (QPAC) in Aylesbury.

Unbound at Aylesbury by the Sea last year, (Swale Photography)Unbound at Aylesbury by the Sea last year, (Swale Photography)
Unbound at Aylesbury by the Sea last year, (Swale Photography)

Two special projects will be developed using the additional money.

A new one-act play will be commissioned at QPAC each year, penned by an emerging local writer and performed by professional actors from the county.

The first production will debut at QPAC this autumn, but in future years these plays could be performed at multiple Buckinghamshire venues.

A callout for potential scripts in line with the project is planned for spring 2023.

Unbound's walking playUnbound's walking play
Unbound's walking play
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Unbound is also planning to gather an anthology of short stories from local community groups.

Chosen tales will be featured in a handmade book which will be put on show.

This project is scheduled to debut in Aylesbury in 2024, and another Bucks town the following year.

Retreat by Unbound at Queens Park Arts CentreRetreat by Unbound at Queens Park Arts Centre
Retreat by Unbound at Queens Park Arts Centre

Unbound will continue to offer dozens of projects across theatre, audio, and film every year, alongside the new schemes.

Typically, Unbound has produced shows that were created and performed by volunteers.

Since QPAC’s launch in 2014, Unbound has worked on over 100 projects.

As well as many performances at QPAC itself, the production company has taken shows to over dozen other Bucks venues, including many free-to-view performances at local events organised by Aylesbury Town Council and Buckinghamshire Council.

“The sheer magnitude – and quality – of what we’ve been able to achieve with Unbound has been awesome in every sense of the word,” says writer and director Dario Knight, who has led the project since its inception.

“With more than 100 volunteers working on-stage and off, the project has become a powerhouse of telling great stories, and it’s wonderful to have such generous support from the Rothschild Foundation to continue what we’re already doing, whilst developing new projects at the same time.”

Dario who has mainly worked with Unbound as a volunteer to become the paid creative producer of the company.

Unbound’s theatre work alone spans original writing, contemporary plays, Shakespeare, improv, sketch comedy, rehearsed readings, musical theatre, and

pantomime. While audio work includes literary adaptations, original series such as the award-winning Chronicles of Professor Chronomier, sitcom, and behind-the-scenes podcasts. Film work includes lockdown project As You Skype It, which was nominated for the 2021 Charity Film Awards.

“It’s been a privilege to work with so many talented local storytellers in the last eight

years,” says Dario. “For the running of Unbound to become my official job at Queens Park Arts Centre is a huge honour. It’s been a tough act juggling it on top of a previous full-time role at QPAC, so the extra time will be very welcome! Thanks to the Rothschild Foundation’s phenomenal support, we’ll be able to maintain the momentum of the last eight years and add even more great projects to our ever-expanding programme.”

Dario added: “These two new projects are a major step in making Buckinghamshire a hub for theatre makers to find work. There’s no shortage of talent here, and now we can give it a platform.”

More information is available on the QPAC and Unbound websites.