Image: Laura Ryder (left) and Emily Robertson (right).

As part of our wider activity, Little Earthquake runs East Meets West, a network which aims to reduce barriers and encourage collaboration between and within the East and West Midlands’ independent theatre-making communities.

One strand of the network is the Easties Meet Westies Buddy Scheme which brings together artists, companies and other theatre people who are working at a similar level or scale on either side of the Midlands divide, in order to establish some new relationships and to provide some essential peer support.

One of our first buddy scheme pairings was Laura Ryder (physical theatre-maker based in Derby) and Emily Robertson (dancer based in Coventry). You can find out what happened when Laura met Emily below.

If you’d like to apply for your very own buddy, a second round of the scheme has just opened! You have until 5pm on Friday 12th April to apply. For all the details visit: www.eastmeetswest.org.uk/buddies.

Laura on Emily

Where did your date take place?
City of Culture! Coventry.

What were you hoping for?
To meet another movement artist working in the Midlands and go see a fab show at Warwick Arts Centre.

First impressions?
Super friendly and cool — also had an excellent taste in coffee shops.

What did you talk about?
What didn’t we talk about? We chatted about each other’s work, making work as freelance artists, shows we’d loved, theatre across the Midlands, the show we went to see.

What new thing have you learned or discovered?
It was great to hear more about work being made in the West Midlands and learn about the companies Emily is involved in.

Any awkward moments?
None that I can think of.

Best thing about Emily?
She’s part of some really exciting work and was really great to chat to. We had loads in common.

Would you introduce Emily to your friends?
Yes, definitely.

Describe Emily in three words.
Friendly — interesting — great chat.

What do you think Emily made of you?
Not sure, hopefully friendly.

If you could change one thing about the date, what would it be?
I can’t think of anything I would have changed. Perhaps slightly nicer weather for waiting for buses?

Will you meet up again?
Yes, I said I’d keep a look out for dance work in the East Midlands for us to see together and we’re hopefully going to see a show in Derby together this month!

Emily on Laura

Where did your date take place?
Coventry.

What were you hoping for?
To meet a creative kindred spirit and find out what’s happening in the East Midlands!

First impressions?
I thought Laura was smiley and lovely.

What did you talk about?
Everything! We spoke lots about our work, creative process and environmentally minded theatre/dance.

What new thing have you learned or discovered?
Finding out more about Deda and what’s happening in Derby — it sounds awesome!

Any awkward moments?
Nope, felt like I’d known her for ages.

Best thing about Laura?
She’s friendly and her work sounds really interesting!

Would you introduce Laura to your friends?
Yes!

Describe Laura in three words.
Bubbly — creative — warm.

What do you think Laura made of you?
Hopefully that I’m nice and that we had some good conversations!

If you could change one thing about the date, what would it be?
Nothing I can think of.

Will you meet up again?
Yes, I’m going to visit the East Midlands!