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Genesis Foundation (arts charity)

The Genesis Foundation is an arts project based in the United Kingdom and the principal activity of The Studs Trust, a registered charity.

Established by John Studzinski in 2001, the Genesis Foundation works in partnership with the leaders of UK arts organisations including LAMDA, the National Theatre, Royal Court, The Sixteen and the Young Vic. Its largest funding commitment is to programmes that support directors, playwrights, actors and musicians in the early stages of their professional lives.

The theme of art & faith increasingly characterises aspects of the Foundation’s work with choral commissions including James MacMillan’s Stabat mater [1] and the sponsorship of the British Museum’s Living with Gods exhibition.[2][3]



The Genesis Foundation was founded in January 2001 by investment banker and arts patron John J. Studzinski, CBE.[4]

Since then it has donated over £13 million primarily to its partner organisations to develop and mentor artistic talent from diverse backgrounds. The Foundation spends up to £1 million annually on its ongoing programmes with its partner organisations, all of which operate under the leadership of inspired artistic directors.

In October 2017 John Studzinski received the 2017 UK Montblanc de la Culture Arts Patronage Award for his work with the Genesis Foundation and its support of young artistic talent through long-term partnerships with artistic leaders. Others receiving the annual award include the Prince of Wales, Lord Rothschild, Sir Simon Rattle, Renzo Piano and Yoko Ono.

Partner organisationsEdit

London Academy of Dramatic ArtEdit

25 students have been awarded Genesis scholarships over the past 20 years at LAMDA, the oldest drama school in the United Kingdom. Past LAMDA scholars include Samuel Barnett, Tom Riley and Ben Aldridge.

In 2017 the scholarship programme was replaced by the Genesis Network which provides mentoring to LAMDA final year students by pairing them with a graduate mentor to support them as they complete their training and enter the industry.[5]

The SixteenEdit

Since 2010, the Genesis Foundation has collaborated with British chamber choir The Sixteen and funded Genesis Sixteen, the annual free young artists’ scheme for 18-23 year old ensemble singers. Genesis Sixteen provides group tuition, individual mentoring and masterclasses run by vocal experts.

The Genesis Foundation also commissions new choral pieces from leading and emerging composers, which are then premiered and recorded by Harry Christophers and The Sixteen for their record label CORO. The world premiere of James MacMillan’s Stabat mater, a 60-minute work for choir and string orchestra commissioned by the Genesis Foundation, was given its UK premiere by Harry Christophers, The Sixteen and Britten Sinfonia at the Barbican Centre, London in October 2016.[6] Its recording was favourably reviewed, and it won numerous awards.[7] In April 2018 it became the first concert to be live-streamed from the Sistine Chapel.[8][9]

In May 2018, four new commissions led by Sir James MacMillan were premiered at Eton College Chapel and live-streamed. The commissions were all based on texts from the Eton Choirbook and were performed alongside works from the Choirbook.[10]

Past commissions include Spirit, Strength & Sorrow, three new Stabat Mater pieces by three leading composers Alissa Firsova, Tõnu Kõrvits and Matthew Martin; O Guiding Night,[11] music to poetry of the Spanish Mystics St. Teresa of Ávila and St. John of the Cross by Ruth Byrchmore, Tarik O'Regan and Roderick Williams; settings of Padre Pio’s Prayer by James MacMillan, Roxanna Panufnik and Will Todd; and Will Todd’s Among Angels,[12] dedicated to John Studzinski on the occasion of his 50th birthday.[13]

On Tuesday 9 February 2016 the Genesis Foundation, in collaboration with the Choral Foundation, brought together leaders of the Catholic Church and the Church of England for the first service according to the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church to be celebrated since the 1550s at Hampton Court Palace’s Chapel Royal.

The Vespers’ service was performed by Harry Christophers, The Sixteen and Genesis Sixteen. The ensembles sang Thomas Tallis’s Magnificat, William Cornysh's Salve Regina and John Taverner’s ‘Leroy’ Kyrie. Members of the public were offered the chance to attend the service through a free ballot hosted by Classic FM.

The service was celebrated byCardinal Vincent Nichols and included a sermon from Richard Chartres, KCVO, Bishop of London and Dean of Her Majesty’s Chapels Royal – Vespers was dedicated to John the Baptist. Prior to the service, the Cardinal and Dean were in conversation under the heading Faith and the Crown in Hampton Court Palace’s Great Hall. Their discussion addressed the relationship between the two churches and the monarchy.

Young VicEdit

From 2003-2009, the Genesis Foundation funded the Directors program at the Young Vic, supported and mentored by the Young Vic's previous artistic director David Lan. This programme provided support for professional directors at the early stages of their career.[14] Rufus Norris, Artistic Director of the National Theatre was the first Genesis Young Director.

As of 2018 the Genesis Foundation funds the one-year Genesis Fellowship[15] (holder Nadia Latif),[16] the Genesis Directors Network and two Genesis Future Directors awards per year (holders John Wilkinson and Debbie Hannan).[17][18]

Past Genesis Fellows include: Gbolahan Obisesan (Cuttin’ It and Sus),[19][20] Natalie Abrahami (Wings, Happy Days and Ah, Wilderness!),[21] Joe Hill-Gibbins (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Measure for Measure)[22] and Carrie Cracknell (Macbeth, co-directed with Lucy Guerin).[23][24]

Past Genesis Future Directors include: Ben Kidd,[25] Matthew Xia,[26] Tinuke Craig,[27] Ola Ince,[28] Lucy J. Skillbeck,[29] Nancy Medina,.[30]

National TheatreEdit

In 2017 the Genesis Foundation started a partnership with the Royal National Theatre supporting its artistic director Rufus Norris in the development of new forms of music theatre work in the UK.[31][32] The Genesis Music Theatre Group is part of the National’s New Work Department.

The Foundation’s support of Rufus Norris dates back to 2003 when he was the first Genesis Director at the Young Vic.[33]


Stella caeli – Marco Galvani

O virgo prudentissimaJames MacMillan

Ave Maria, Mater Dei – Phillip Cooke

Nesciens MaterJoseph Phibbs

HallowedStephen Hough

Stabat Mater 2016James MacMillan

Whisper Him My Name – Will Todd[34]

Stabat Mater 2014: Spirit, Strength & Sorrow – Tõnu Kõrvits,[35] Alissa Firsova,[36] Matthew Martin,[37] James MacMillan[38]

The Sun Stands StillNaomi Alderman[39]

A Very Tricky and Crafty Contrivance – Greta Alfaro[40]

Spanish Mystics – Ruth Byrchmore,[41] Tarik O'Regan,[42] Roderick Williams[43]

Padre PioJames MacMillan, Roxanna Panufnik, Will Todd

LightChris Levine

Westminster MassRoxanna Panufnik[44]

Among Angels – Will Todd[45]

Zora DIsidora Žebeljan

Song of a Traveller in the NightIsidora Žebeljan[46]

Minstrel’s DanceIsidora Žebeljan

Genesis PrizeEdit

In 2012 the Genesis Foundation launched the Genesis Prize, a £25,000 prize awarded to a mentor of young artistic talent whose work has effected real change in the practice and careers of arts professionals or graduates.[47] The first recipient was Hamish Dunbar, Artistic Director of Café Oto, in 2012. The 2014 recipient was Polly Staple, director of London’s Chisenhale Gallery. The 2016 winner was Hadrian Garrard,[48] director of Create London for his young curator’s programme. The 2018 winners are Joe Robertson and Joe Murphy, artistic directors of Good Chance Theatre.[49]

The Royal CourtEdit

For over 20 years, John Studzinski and later the Genesis Foundation supported the Royal Court’s International Playwrights’ programme for emerging international playwrights. Over the years the theatre’s International Department held dialogue with hundreds of playwrights and theatre-makers around the world.[50]


  1. ^ "James MacMillan - Stabat Mater". Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  2. ^ "Living with gods: peoples, places and worlds beyond at the British Museum". Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  3. ^ "Living with gods". British Museum. Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  4. ^ "John Studzinski". Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  5. ^ "Genesis LAMDA Network | LAMDA". Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  6. ^ "Reviews for James MacMillan Stabat Mater". Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  7. ^ "Reviews for James MacMillan: Stabat Mater recording". Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  8. ^ "Stabat mater". Retrieved 2018-05-22.
  9. ^ "The Vatican premiere of Stabat mater in the Sistine Chapel". Retrieved 2018-05-22.
  10. ^ "THE ETON CHOIRBOOK AND ITS LEGACY OF SACRED MUSIC A new work by Sir James MacMillan CBE And three other new Genesis Foundation commissions from Philip Cooke, Marco Galvani & Joseph Phibbs". Retrieved 2018-05-22.
  11. ^ "Critical acclaim for 'O Guiding Night' – The Sixteen's second collaboration with the Genesis Foundation". Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  12. ^ "Angels in Salzburg". Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  13. ^ "Commissions". Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  14. ^ "Young Vic". Retrieved 2018-06-26.
  15. ^ "Genesis Fellowship". Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  16. ^ "Writer and Director Nadia Latif is named Genesis Fellow at the Young Vic". Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  17. ^ "In conversation with John Wilkinson, Genesis Future Directors Award winner 2018". Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  18. ^ "Debbie Hannan wins the Young Vic's Genesis Future Directors Award". Retrieved 2018-06-26.
  19. ^ "Young Vic awards Genesis Fellowship to theatre director and playwright Gbolahan Obisesan". Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  20. ^ "Genesis Fellow Gbolahan Obisesan directs Cuttin' It at the Young Vic". Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  21. ^ "Genesis Fellow Natalie Abrahami directs Beckett at the Young Vic". Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  22. ^ "Joe Hill-Gibbins appointed first Genesis Fellow at the Young Vic". Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  23. ^ "Genesis Fellow Carrie Cracknell directs Ibsen at the Young Vic". Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  24. ^ "Rave reviews for Carrie Cracknell's Medea at the National Theatre". Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  25. ^ "Ben Kidd receives new Genesis Future Directors Award". Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  26. ^ "Matthew Xia on the Genesis Future Directors Award". Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  27. ^ "Tinuke Craig wins 2014 Genesis Future Directors Award at the Young Vic". Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  28. ^ "Genesis Future Directors Award winners for 2016 announced". Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  29. ^ "Genesis Future Directors Award winners for 2017 announced". Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  30. ^ "Genesis Future Directors Award winner Nancy Medina brings a Pulitzer Prize nominated play to the Young Vic Theatre". Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  31. ^ "National Theatre". Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  32. ^ "Trusts: Genesis Foundation | National Theatre". Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  33. ^ "How the Genesis Foundation is expanding in the face of austerity | Features | The Stage". The Stage. 2015-05-16. Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  34. ^ "New Tyalgum titles | Will Todd". Retrieved 2018-05-22.
  35. ^ "Tõnu Kõrvits". Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  36. ^ "Alissa Firsova". Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  37. ^ "Matthew Martin". Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  38. ^ "James MacMillan". Retrieved 2018-06-26.
  39. ^ "Naomi Alderman". Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  40. ^ "Greta Alfaro". Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  41. ^ "Ruth Byrchmore". Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  42. ^ "Tarik O'Regan". Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  43. ^ "Roderick Williams". Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  44. ^ "Roxanna Panufnik". Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  45. ^ "Will Todd". Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  46. ^ "Isidora Žebeljan". Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  47. ^ "The Genesis Prize". Retrieved 2018-06-26.
  48. ^ "Hadrian Garrard, director of Create London, is awarded the biennial Genesis Prize recognising an outstanding mentor of artistic talent". Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  49. ^ "The 2018 Genesis Prize is awarded to Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson, directors of Good Chance Theatre, for their work with refugees in Calais and London". Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  50. ^ "Royal Court Theatre". Retrieved 2018-06-19.

External linksEdit