The project work I have engaged in draws on an affection for all of the ways in which people express who they are. I have an increasing interest in the crafts – there is something of the ‘handmade’ in all of the work that I produce – and in finding ways to encourage new makers and audiences to the arts. I have yet to find a way of describing this work. The American term Animating Democracy doesn’t quiet translate and Darren O’Donnell’s Social Acupuncture feels too particular. So these are projects that I care about which have the ambition of encouraging new makers and new audiences:
house is an attempt to help artists make a living from the things they make. Essentially it is a programming initiative that now works with well over 190 venues across the east and south east of England to ensure a greater range of theatre gets to more people.
is a biennial 3 day showcase of new English performance at the Brighton Festival supported by British Council, ACE, Brighton and Hove CC, UKTI, Visiting Arts and others. The event features up to 25 companies and over 60 international festival programmers and producers. this has now evolved into a whole strand of work including programmes of exchange with South Korea and Canada as well as showcases in Shanghai and Vancouver
things to do before we die
one of the things that exasperate me the most is the empty rhetoric spoken by many in power about changing the ways things are without recognising that the very thing that needs to change is often themselves. ‘things to do before we die’ is one small attempt to encourage and share practical steps that might shift the status quo in terms of the audience and makers of art
this is the realisation of a long held ambition to champion the truth that it is possible to make theatre that is both popular and contemporary. ironically it is not a new idea but follows in the steps of John McGrath and his call to create ‘good nights out’. heaven knows we need to connect to a broader audience if we are to rediscover our usefulness
two minutes of silence
farnham hosted the first two minute silence, certainly in europe, and perhaps the world on 10th May 1916 at the bottom of Castle street before a red cross fair. It felt like a moment worth marking. the army got involved and where great to work with. there was a commission of a new piece of military music. church bells rang.
perhaps my favorite project to have come out of Farnham Maltings. We kind of stumbled into the idea of hosting a weekend for knitters and were bowled over by the enthusiasm, commitment and generosity of knitters. Now in its fourth year we attract a national and, latterly, international audience, commission new work and have a thoroughly good time.
Seven short plays about happiness
This was a collaboration with New writing South. The idea was to commission a series of short plays that might be shown as a group or prior to main house shows. A kind of B Movie concept. In the hope it would allow writers an opportunity to develop their craft. I always felt we could have done more with the idea. Pleasingly, all of the writers valued the process.