more thoughts on funding

June 23, 2010 at 6:27 pm | Posted in arts council, arts funding, arts promotion, Ensemble, Physical Theatre, Psychophysical Training, Theatre | Leave a comment
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It’s not unexpected, especially in the current climate, and I guess we are not the only people in the UK and beyond who will be feeling the absence of government support for things they once thought were important.

I need to be careful about how much we spend. Money will be found for the things that money must be found for and the project will happen – partly because that’s the commitment I originally made and partly because the team that has assembled, with or without government support, is exceptional.
One area I would appreciate help with is this. We need to promote the show to two distinct audiences:
the first is the sorts of people from the arts world who we want to come and see the show so that this type of work moves more onto the radar and they find it harder to turn us down if we apply for money in future. This includes promoters, critics, people from other companies, people from funding bodies, people who might be able to help in the careers of all or any of the participants etc etc etc. In other words the ‘movers and shakers’ from the arts world.
the second is the audience of people from around the country who are excited by this sort of work and might actually buy a ticket to see it. This includes friends and colleagues but also accessing the sorts of communities of interesting artists who might not otherwise hear about us.
It strikes me that one way of accessing both these communities is via social network sites – ‘facebook’ I guess. It’s a world that I know absolutely nothing about – I have to date always refused to register with any social networking site. Maybe it’s time I took the plunge. I’m talking about trying to set up some kind of structured campaign of promotion via such a site that could develop between now and september and perhaps remove the need to print publicity (which I always hate doing) and might even replace having to employ a publicist.
Does anyone on the team know about this sort of thing? Anyone willing to suggest how we might go about using social networks as a way of getting this show out to those people we want to get it out to. Ideally, I’d like to see some kind of ‘community’ building up not just round this show, but the idea of this sort of project created by a group such as we are.
I just returned from running a lovely performance and workshop week with Aliki in Thessaloniki. It was in part that experience that got me thinking about whether social networking might generate the sort of ‘community of people who are looking for something different in theatre’ that I so strongly experienced among participants and audience in Greece.
Any ideas?


June 23, 2010 at 11:29 am | Posted in arts council, arts funding, Ensemble, Physical Theatre, Psychophysical Training, Theatre | Leave a comment
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So. I applied for funding for the project from the Arts Council England. Only a bit of funding, as the majority of the cost of this project is met through the commitment of the participants to work unpaid. The Arts Council assessed the project as ‘a strong project’ which deserved funding. However, they have no money, so they rejected the application. It’s frustrating- even projects that meet all the criteria, are deemed strong and are only seeking a bit of marginal support to supplement a huge investment from the artists are unfundable because there is no money. Unless you are a bank. And bankers still seem surprised when people doubt that a meagre £1,000,000 bonus for their year’s work is justified….

On the other hand, the project goes ahead anyway. The money will be found because the project needs to happen and a lot of good people have committed themselves to it’s existence. We are free of having to justify ourselves to any government or bureaucracy and we are face to face with the reality of the new world we are all living in. We can justifiably claim that we pursue our vision and make the sacrifices necessary to achieve it, rather than only doing what the state permits through its largesse. On balance, that feels good. Good enough, at least.


June 12, 2010 at 5:36 pm | Posted in Ensemble, Physical Theatre, Psychophysical Training, Theatre | 2 Comments
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I had a quick look round Whitestone Arts where we’ll be residential for the first three weeks. It’s the first time I’ve seen it since it was finished. It is a beautiful place (which I already knew) and the studio is a really really beautiful space. Just standing in the barn, listening to the echo, made the whole old barn/new studio seem saturated with history and potential.I am hugely excited about how that space will transform for us during our time there, what gosts we can inject into the moor top farming menagerie that exist in there already?

Being up there on a bitterly cold (English) summer’s day also made me realise how three weeks of residence – working together, building understanding, eating together, getting closer, getting on each other’s nerves…. It will be a intense experience. If my experience of running residential workshops is anything to go by, the work will develop exponentially. We’ll start off wondering how we are going to get through three weeks, then things will snowball. Breakthroughs will build on breakthroughs. One person will find themselves inspired by another and the group will gradually or suddenly shift. It will be a time on the moors, of challenge and growth where the usual comforts of  life – the ability to run away and hide in our habits and technologies, will be removed.

I was hugely excited by the visit and a little daunted.

I hope the sun shines. When we are resident somewhere, it makes a real difference if the sun comes out…..

so, to begin…

June 6, 2010 at 4:33 pm | Posted in Ensemble, Physical Theatre, Psychophysical Training, Theatre | Leave a comment
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In July, ‘Duende’ will start a three month process of building an ensemble, exploring a new text (‘The Shattering Man’), developing physical and aural, visual and musical languages to bring that text to life. The process will culminate in September with two weeks of performances. The ensemble is international (from UK, Greece, Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada) and ranges in age from people in their twenties to those in their sixties. We are physical performers, musicians, dancers, actors, singers. We share a commitment to ensemble, to training and to creating truly excellent physical performance. We believe that art, live performed art is important – it always has been and nothing has changed in the last hundred years to change that.

The company is led by me – John Britton (  – and I will periodically write about the progress of the process on this blog. I hope other members of the ensemble wil do the same.

You can write comments, or email me directly at

so the adventure starts….

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