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Funding development and research

Issue: Funding development and research

Convener(s): Tanya

Participants: Chris, Darren, Rhiannon, Jules, Dominic

Summary of discussion, conclusions and/or recommendations:

Chris and Darren from ‘4 Front Theatre Co’ in Lincoln posing question: How does a young theatre company just starting up get funding?  ‘4 Front’ is 2 years old – and caught in the chicken and egg syndrome. They have been given rehearsal space at the Drill Hall in Lincoln in response to their successful unfunded shows performed there.
Tanya from Meeting Ground Theatre co in Nottingham. Meeting ground is 27 yrs old! We are asking if there is arts funding to ‘develop and extend ‘theatre language’ research’ on play about Dementia- (commissioned by Nottingham University research department) we want to develop music score, choreographic notation, and also need to re –launch MG company image/profile and extend creative team.
Oldies need new vamp!
Rhiannon suggests organization ‘Cultivate’ is recommended for this. (This has recently lost its funding though).

New and old – Two ends of the spectrum!

Joined by Jules (writer) and lecturer Nott/Trent University speaking about the importance of EMTAC – East Midlands Theatre Artists Collective/ importance of sharing resources. Jules lending resources and enabling artists: We are actors, lighting designers, writers, dancers, directors etc. Significance and power of EMTAC’s collective voice. E.g. EMTAC’s recent meeting with the Arts Council asking them to respond to questions about current funding decisions and to explain changes of practice. EMTAC’s representatives were taken seriously. Jules explains East Midlands Arts Council (regional office) has been challenged to show it is backing ‘talent development ‘in the area. EMTAC is growing. Members continue to join and engage with website. More people are coming from wider field – Mansfield, Leicester – hopefully Lincoln? A flexible forum to share and show work, concerns and offer solidarity of voice in social debate.

Joined by Rhiannon from Inde Network – in Derby – innovative sharing resources and skills ‘In Kind’ – they enable artists to access each other and resources on a points system. Their mutual give and take is worth £ thousands in ‘In Kind’. Rhiannon shared worry – that diminishing funds can diminish quality of work – by reducing ability to employ experienced talent.

Joined by Dominic from Urban Angels – funded by ESF European Social Fund. They receive personal development funding and focus on highly experimental, digital, site specific work. He would love to be funded to make theatre based on ideas, for the sake of theatre, without having to always be targeting social justification. They get funding in a chunk to finance whole project. They travel to ‘cold areas’ or ‘hot spots’ – Arts/ Socially/ culturally underserved deprived areas/communities.

Joined by? (Sorry didn’t write down lovely young lady’s name) from ‘First Floor’ in Nottingham.  They received Big Lottery Money for working with ‘refugees’ project. They received a -‘stand alone’ -Awards For All Grant – which enables them to deliver – a film – but this film is their ‘research’ which will enable them to go the next step of the journey and help them apply for the next stage of development.
Their Funding is perceived in building blocks.

Focus of discussion on supporting new company:
Make friends. Break isolation. Make contact in own community with studio, theatre, venues etc. have cups of coffee. Discuss ideas. Ask for help. Engage one to one. A face to the Arts council seems to have disappeared – but need to see beyond a piece of paper.
Be as prepared and passionate about our work as possible. Identify as clearly as we can – what we ‘want’ or need: And why. Be bold.
Make the work.
For Chris and Darren we all agree Lincoln is a ‘cold spot’. They can be confident that this is a priority area for potential funding!
BIG FINAL QUESTION:  IS THERE ANY MONEY TO SUPPORT ARTS EXPERIMENTATION?

Great discussion! Thanks everyone! Great generosity of spirit in discussion – apologies for all that’s missed out. Got wrapped up in discussion, couldn’t remember everything – Please feel free to add what’s omitted

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