The Associate Artist Residency Programme at The Old Church

Regular readers will know that as well as being the only surviving Elizabethan church in London, The Old Church in Stoke Newington is also a vibrant arts and performance venue, hosting a variety of music, art, dance, and performance events. Kaz recently had the pleasure of meeting artistic director Deborah Coughlin, who talked with her about their new Associate Artist Residency Programme and how it came about.

When Deborah took on the role of artistic director, one of the first things she did was to conduct an audit of the organisation in order to solidify its vision and purpose going forward. In looking at The Old Church’s long history of community engagement, as well as its engagement with the arts, it was clear that those two features were its heartbeat, and this sparked an idea. Why not create an artist residency programme that would support artists as well as enrich the community? And thus, the Associate Artist Residency Programme was brought into existence and will host and support six resident artists over the coming year.

Meet the artists
Claire Gaydon is a theatre-maker and performer blending live art, storytelling and multimedia. Recurring themes are social media, sex, nostalgia and vulnerability. Her part documentary, part live performance See-Through, examines identity, validation and narcissism through the journey of a wannabe YouTuber and was performed in July at The Old Church before heading to the /Edinburgh Fringe.

OperaUpClose is a touring opera company that produces innovative, unintimidating and affordable English chamber re-imaginings of well-known works as well as new operas. Their mission is to show opera as a vibrant, living art-form for everyone to enjoy and be inspired by. They will premiere a new English version of Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda in 2019 at The Old Church before taking it on tour throughout the UK.
Esmerealda Conde Ruiz is a choral conductor and composer with an array of film, theatre, art and architecture experience. She has collaborated with Yoko Ono, Nils Frahm and CocoRosie to name but a few, and her specialty is voice ensembles. She will be producing a massed performance of over 100 female singers in The Old Church cemetery in May 2019 and women are welcome join the project by emailing

Gobbledegook creates interactive experiences for family audiences and are interested in creating spaces for individual discovery. Their strategy is to enquire, give freedom to express and empower the participants to make up their own stories, adventures and journeys. Gobbledegook will be creating an interactive installation exploring the world of Victorian travelling menageries through the eyes of menagerie owner Frank C. Bostock.

As part of the band, Lone Taxidermist, Natalie Sharpe’s malicious metier lurks somewhere between the eldritch diva manifestations of Diamanda Galas and the wry reflections of Victoria Wood, yet equally driven by a magpie spirit and conceptual chutzpah. Lone Taxidermist will debut BodyVice at The Old Church, a multi-sensory, ever expanding live performance art & audio visual project, based around the body as a device.

Tej Adeleye is a writer, researcher, facilitator and programmer and is currently doing research with the Stuart Hall Foundation and working at the George Padmore Institute, exploring 50 years of Black and Asian British cultural activism. She also hosts the radio show, Floating Roofs, every Sunday morning at 10 on NTS Radio. Tej will be using The Old Church space to devise a sound installation showing in Summer 2019. The installation will use music and storytelling to build on some of the research she currently working on.

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The Old Church
Stoke Newington Church Street, Hackney, N16 9ES