Jeremy Weller has become the leading exponent in the area of inclusive, person-centered and immersive theatre/film, in which people with no previous experience of performance get the opportunity to work alongside professional actors. As the Artistic Director of the renowned Grassmarket Project (GMP), Jeremy began making drama projects in Edinburgh some 20 years ago with plays performed by minority groups, using Radical Drama as a social intervention process.
Jeremy is at the heart of drama-based art and social-healing methods, recognizing that so-called ordinary lives can have the power of Greek tragedy. Since its inception, GMP has continued to push the boundaries of community and site-specific theatre in the UK as well as in Gaza, Belfast, Kosovo, and Brazil. Jeremy plans to open a Theatre and Film Academy that will teach GMP methods to former prisoners, at-risk youth, and members of society for whom traditional routes to art and theatre are not possible.
Jeremy's collaborations include Susan Sarandon, Lars Von Trier, David Harewood, Nimbus Films and Betty Nansen Theatre.
Jeremy recently finished a second film commission for the (DFI) Danish Film Institute, Denmark, for whom he wrote, devised and directed a new Documentary-Fiction Film CHANCEN (previously titled Here & Now).
Jeremy is the current Artist in Residence for Artlink Central Scotland and Artist in Residence to Scottish Prisons working with women. During commission, Jeremy is devising theatre and film work with inmates from Cornton Vale. A Life in Wallace was the first theatre work devised with the inmates from Cornton Vale Women's Prison in Stirling, Scotland. As part of the commission Jeremey is also creating and running a weekly drama club, Night Drama, in Wallace House at Cornton Vale. Currently, he is preparing a devised film with inmates from Cornton Vale, IRON INN.
In 2014, Jeremy was commissioned by Creative Scotland and Fife College to devise and direct 2 new productions, Home - A Philosophy of Violence with inmates from Polmont Young Offenders Institution, premiering June 2014 and IN THIS LIFE with women from HMP Edinburgh, which premiered October 2014.
Sarah Kane (playwright) said that seeing Jeremy Weller's work changed her life. Sarah was asked: How much influence do your think your plays can have in terms of changing society's perceptions and actions? Her answer:
"I've seen one piece of theatre that changed my life - Jeremy Weller's Mad. It changed my life because it changed me - the way I think, the way I behave or try to behave. If theatre can change lives, then by implication it can change society, since we're all part of it. I also think it's important to remember that theatre is not an external force action on society, it's part of it, a reflection of the way people within that society view the world. Slasher movies don't create a violent society (though they may well perpetuate it), they're a product of that society. Films, books, theatre, they all represent something which already exists, even if only in someone's head and through that representation they can change or reinforce what they describe"
(Sarah Kane quoted in Stephenson and Langridge, 1997:133). Stephenson, H and Langridge, N. (1997) Rage And Reason: Women Playrights on Playwriting. Bloomsbury, London.)
Lars Von Trier wrote after seeing rehearsals of LIMBOLAND, Jeremy Weller's first film commissioned by DFI, Zentropa and DR1 and Winner of a Robert Prize for fiction (2011)
"Watching the actors was like seeing fragments of their lives being recreated before my eyes. Limboland is one of the most exciting projects that Zentropa has produced for many years; I have never seen performances like it; they achieved a raw truth and raw anger that was deeply shocking. Weller's work deals with the world of the other in a new and terrifying way. His Art creates a way to expose and express the experiences of the world's underclass."