News Story

Man smiles at the camera in a beige top and grey cardigan. He is stood in a theatre auditorium.
CJ Lloyd Webley Credit: Kris Askey

Midlands Arts Centre (MAC) is delighted to announce CJ Lloyd Webley, Birmingham theatre-maker, as the recipient of the MAC Theatre Commission Award 2024. Webley’s selected project explores the history of the former Lyndhurst Estate in Erdington, Birmingham, where he grew up.

The new Theatre Commission Award provides a £10,000 grant and 15 days of free studio space at MAC, and was created this year in response to the ongoing challenges facing the theatre sector. Audiences and artists alike have been deeply affected in the aftermath of the pandemic, and the current cost of living. This grant offers an opportunity to strengthen the resources available for local talent to develop and generate new partnerships and original work.

CJ Lloyd Webley is a multi-award-winning writer and social entrepreneur, with a career that spans across creative arts, business, and social justice initiatives.

CJ Lloyd Webley said, "I'm absolutely thrilled to have secured the MAC Theatre Commission for my Lyndhurst Memories project! This opportunity fills me with immense joy and inspiration. The project aims to explore and celebrate the rich history and stories of the formerly known Lyndhurst Estate in Erdington. Through immersive storytelling, VR and creative exploration, we'll delve into the memories, experiences, and legacy of this cherished community.

“Together with MAC's team, and the support of other Birmingham creatives, we'll weave together a narrative that deeply resonates with audiences, capturing the essence of Lyndhurst's past and present reality. I look forward to creating an unforgettable experience that celebrates the unique heritage of Birmingham, while engaging and inspiring our audience."

The project is managed by Jo Carr, MAC’s Performance Programmer, and will culminate in a performance or public sharing in 2025.

Jo Carr, MAC Performing Arts Programmer said, “MAC’s new Theatre Commission is a response to the limited opportunities for independent theatre-makers to make new work with adequate financial support – especially those with no regular funding. There is palpable concern in the sector about the future of new writing and contemporary theatre, as well as how to recapture audiences post-pandemic to see this work.”

The leading arts centre and charity hopes the Theatre Commission will be a stimulating process of learning and sharing ideas between MAC’s teams and the recipients, and go some way to supporting growth in the West Midlands theatre sector.

Jo continued, “We are thrilled that the first recipient will be writer, director and performer CJ Lloyd Webley, who will start work on Lyndhurst Memories - a theatre piece about the Lyndhurst Estate in Erdington where he grew up, its eventual decline and re-gentrification. We look forward to working with CJ over the coming year and seeing where his story goes.”

MAC is committed to providing an annual Theatre Commission for new projects over the next five years, to encourage theatre-makers to find stories in their communities for original work. This is one of the ways MAC aims to diversify their programme and give theatre-makers the chance to take risks and be experimental.

More information about CJ Lloyd Webley’s Theatre Commission Lyndhurst Memories will be released in the coming months.