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Rita Evans selected as second Stephen Cripps' Studio Award artist
The Brain Drain, plans for installation (partially realised)
The Brain Drain, plans for installation (partially realised)

Rita Evans has been selected for the 2014/15 Stephen Cripps’ Studio Award, an annual award for artists whose practice is rooted in sculpture which embraces elements of light, movement, machinery, sound or performance and is based at Acme Studios’ new-build studios at High House Production Park in Thurrock.

Rita Evans was selected by a panel comprising Anne Bean, artist; Jonathan Harvey, Chief Executive of Acme Studios; Ron Haselden, artist; and Mark Spink, Assistant Head of Scenic Art at the Royal Opera House. Speaking about the panel’s decision, Anne Bean said:

“What first struck me about Rita's work was its fearlessness about using wide-ranging technologies, combining the sophisticated with improvisatory and spontaneous practice. Her drawings showed a real similarity to the freedom, quirkiness, humour and enquiry intrinsic to Stephen Cripps' sketches.”

Rita plans to spend an increasing amount of time in the studio over the 12 months and will move into a work/live unit in the building in the second half of the residency. Rita explains that:

“The studio provision will be imagined as a nerve centre, with the upstairs work/live unit as a place for dreaming, thinking and conversation, with spontaneous sketches and plans emerging and developing from this engagement. The downstairs studio will act as the rest of the body, a kinaesthetic making space, where these plans will be transferred into time-based sensorial sculptures and performances.”

Panel member Ron Haselden comments:

“Rita stood out as an artist who was very motivated and spoke and illustrated a number of projects that were often ‘off the beaten track’. She already seemed to be wholeheartedly committed, with a number of engaging ideas, for projects that were well-orchestrated in her mind for Thurrock, the local environment and those who live and work there.”

The Stephen Cripps’ Studio Award programme consists of three one-year awards, providing a rent-free large ground-floor ‘production’ studio, a £10,000 bursary and £10,000 towards project realisation costs. Aaron Williamson was selected for the inaugural 2013-14 award. 


The Stephen Cripps’ Studio Award provides a resource and support structure from which artists can develop their practice and realise and present planned or new projects. The award, based at new-build, purpose-designed studios at High House Production Park, Thurrock, not only celebrates the work of Stephen Cripps (1952-1982), an important ‘pyrotechnic sculptor’, but also helps make manifest the vision for the Park and the potential for creative collaboration between its partners: High House Production Park Ltd, the Royal Opera House Bob and Tamar Manoukian Production Workshop, the National Skills Academy Creative & Cultural Backstage Training Centre and Acme Studios.

The Award is funded by Acme Studios, The Henry Moore Foundation, High House Production Park Ltd and Stephen Cripps' family. The second award runs for one year from 1 November 2014 to 31 October 2015 followed immediately by the third award.

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