on the road to nowhere

March 8, 2016

Last week we ran an event called ‘I liked it but I couldn’t book it’ as part of the Guardian and BACs series of conversations called A Nations Theatre led by Lyn Gardner – who has written a blog about the event here. The focus of that particular conversation was how we might ensure contemporary theatre thrives in our rural communities. In thinking what I might say before the event I decided that the one notion I wanted to challenge was that of ‘taking the audience on a …

things to do before we die

October 5, 2015

we have been asked to organise a series of events that explore what the arts might do to shift some uncomfortable truths around the narrowness of the audience and the workforce of the arts – particularly across the south east of England. I don’t entirely know why we have been asked but there you have it. Having been asked we are determined to run the best events that we can.
in planning the first event i stumbled upon this uncomfortable observation about most events organised around diversity. ‘that entail grabbing every …

the threat of the ‘greater south east’

April 21, 2015

I am constantly being reminded that it’s not so much the election that we should be mindful about but the following three months that lead up to a Comprehensive Spending Review in the autumn – assuming we have a government by then – (but thats another matter.) We will need well rehearsed arguments for the usefulness of the arts. Ones that go past ‘we cant take another cut’. All the more so if DCMS goes and with UK Theatre suggesting that theatre production has actually grown in the …

small victories

March 2, 2015

my friend Catherine told me a story today about a moment of everyday drama from the door of a supermarket. which may be why i noticed this…..
later i ended up in Sainsbury’s walking down the middle aisle before you get to the eggs. Where two parents were hectoring a boy of no more than five for ‘not behaving responsibly’ and telling him ‘that he should know to stay close by’.
i assume that they had temporary lost him and, in reuniting, were expressing their relief. but there was something …

in praise of Stuart Bennett

February 10, 2015

Some people leave a mark on you. Stuart Bennett was one of those people for me. He founded the community theatre arts course at Rose Bruford College in the late 1970s which did so much to fuel the rise of a vibrant alternative theatre scene in the 80s and 90s.  Stuart was one of the key movers and shakers in the Theatre-in-Education movement, with a career spanning Belgrade TIE, Cockpit TIE and others. I was auditioned by Stuart as an awkward young man in the 1980s and he …

artists beware

January 24, 2015

There has been a debate raging of late about how much artists are subsidising the arts through unpaid work. Firstly, its worth saying that many of the people working to make the buildings vibrant are equally contributing way past what they are paid for. Nobody gets up in the morning thinking ‘how can i make the world worse’ but sometimes, out of anxiety or pressure to balance books or to ‘minimise risk’ apparently logical decisions are made that do much to undermine the ambitions of us all.
Mark Makin, …

get rid of the exclusion clause

July 23, 2014

From a venues contract in 2014 – A £250 fine for every breach of an exclusion clause!
“The Producer confirms and agrees that the performer is not committed to appear, and will not enter into a commitment to appear, at a venue within 20 miles of the Venue (XXX Borough Council) or at any of the following venues, within the period of eight weeks before and four weeks after the date of the performance. In the event of a breach, £250 will be deducted from the payment due to …

United England

March 2, 2014

The great thing about having your own place to post opinion is that its your space to rehearse ideas. So i am going to try out a few thoughts that i might not fully agree with. I am writing them here to test what i really think about the conversations raging as a result of the Rebalancing the Cultural Capital – IE that a disproportionate amount of money is going into London. I have heard all sorts of arguments so i am going to revisit some of them …

in it together

December 1, 2013

There is a story told, i think, about Sibelius in which he was asked ‘How come all your friends are bankers and financiers rather than artists’ Sibelius thought for a second and then replied ‘because bankers talk less about money than artists’  I guess when you have money its easy to not talk about it. The fact that there is a much welcomed discussion that started with money is a reflection of the state we are in.
It’s hard to disagree with many of the perspectives that have been …


October 21, 2013

‘You can tell the health of a community by the stories it tells to itself’
One challenge theatre makers and programmers face, especially with arts investment under pressure, is how to create work that is contemporary, relevant and popular. How to retain existing and build new audiences at the same time. Greenhouse is a new three-year initiative that seeks to involve venues and local communities in early conversations about the work that theatre makers are thinking of creating.  To contribute to the process, create curiosity and connect with that …