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Talent development

Issue: The Development of Talent

Convener(s): Esther Richardson

Participants:
Lesley: Mature actor – lack of opportunities
Ashley: 1 man theatre company
Esther: we’re rubbish at articulating the uniqueness of this area, a director
Beth: new director, where do you go for opportunities.
Anna: work for Em media, work with film interests, feel writers get more out of people who are developing theatre rather than people developing film. Film writers seem to cut their teeth in theatre and thinking about the relationship between film and theatre opportunities. Cross pollination. Funding is cut everywhere and wondering if there is a way of pooling resoucres.
Rick: Audio dramas. Want to engage in his local region and work more with local theatres.
Kate: Involved in developing talent and despite TWP closing wants to continue developing people in this region.
Rhiannon: looking at development A n individual rather than a company member. Feel loses sight of self and where you need to go. How do you develop an individual journey? Difficult to develop as a group. Awkward graphic the stage between being ‘new’ and not quite being ‘established’.
Chris: from New perspectives. Core part of the company’s relationship with the Arts Council and developing theatre-making in the region.
Ann: Look for new playwrights coming out of the region, new actors, like to mix practice new talent with seasoned professionals. Finding balance and making that a more structured part of their strategy. Looking at that
Trina: Freelance and work with Curve’s young company. Signposting opportunities.
Rick: Chair of TWP, work for Ignite. Link between exceptional creativity and talent. Revealing, discovering and nurturing.
Rachel: Opportunities for developing talent identified to be developed.
Gareth: Looking for primary children opportunities and a freelancer developing a new work community theatre group. Looking for emerging creatives.
Writer? Writing plays for 40 years and beginning to get the hang of it.
Dani: Royal and Derngate, how we as a venue support talent which is crucial to theatre’s future. Hard to develop talent. How do you do it with limited time, space and money? We don’t share how we support talent in the region together. Is there a way we can pool recourses to do this well?
Paul: From China Plate and Warwick Arts Centre. Hear to listen and learn. Running a number of talent programmes. Looking at scratch opportunities. How can we do this better – we’re part of the Arts Council ‘super region’

Issues Raised:
Development schemes are always capped by age rather than need or talent
Why isn’t provision made for everyone regardless of age?
Does this limit the types of stories and performances made?
A love affair with ‘young’.
Training Spaces
Age and Perceived Barriers
Our story as a region
Film and Crossover opportunities
How do you develop as an individual within a group?
Developing talent is not necessarily easy – time, space, money?
Working together?
Being a super-region.

WHAT HAVE WE GOT?
Royal and Derngate: Theatre Lab – every 3 months we provide a platform for emerging artists to test new ideas out. Anyone involved in creating theatre. Not quite cracked the model – making it open but also audience friendly so there is a selection process. Keen for this not to be just for Northampton. Need a broader theatre-making community. Not paid.
Less pressure to be constrained by the old ‘East-Midlands’ region.
New Perspectives: STEP UP, a talent development scheme: will mentor 1 emerging theatre company. A training ensemble with a dozen recent creative graduates: seminars, master-classes. They will create and then tour a piece of work. Marketing and management side of the office. A writing opportunity in the form of a competition. Step Up gets expenses. Target to get a certain number being employed by us.
Mine theatre in Leicester: once a month opportunity to show a 15 minute piece of work. Looking to extend that into a mentoring opportunity. There’s an application structure which is hugely over-subscribed.
Grant of £8,000 for young makers, pay for mentors. Raise the money outside of the Arts Council.
Warwick Arts Centre: Bite-size needed to define the ecology as a whole. How can we get the venues and companies working together? Artists said ‘buildings are closed’, venues said ‘it’s not good enough’. So sat in the middle of the conversation and brokered the issue. Scratch platforms. First bite. Present a 10 minute performed pitch, open application process. All scratch nights paid a small fee. Attracts companies outside the region – drives up the quality! 13 companies will present a scratch in front of a panel of producers including major theatres. 2 companies get commissioned. Development time make the piece properly funded and teaches artists how to do this. Dramaturgical support which brokers and manages the risk on both sides. Bite-size pieces then perform at the that festival, swap and perform in two regions alongside other companies. People will come see the headliners and then see new artists on the back of a reputation. Build a ladder. Half of the companies at First Bite should be companies he has never met.
Is there a way of doing that that involves an individual not just a group!
TWP did a young directors / writers workshop and think there is real mileage to do this again and develop it.
Something in Lincolnshire.

WHAT HAVEN’T WE GOT?
A super-region network (confusion of regions now beginning to disappear) – a way of seeing the ‘big picture’.
A way of moving those identified in scratch nights to being full-time professional artists.
A clear career structure for artists
Help artists understand how they can sustain a living.
A directors / individuals artists scheme.
Multidisciplinary labs.
A mid point: virtual and actual.

WHAT DO WE NEED?
A system for sharing opportunities and networking. A centre-point for accessing opportunities.
Multidisciplinary labs – PAL.
Opportunities for individuals: writers / directors? (Problematic and expensive, a response to the financial climate and also the way theatre-making has changed.)
A young directors scheme and a writers scheme. We need to to do that collectively. There is something important about individual’s voice.
Making things accessible geographically.
A midpoint for the region? A place on the web as well as meeting points.
Someone to coordinate pulling this together which might benefit everyone and works as a go-between the organisations.
Collective Commitment to action.
Something that is EAST-Midlands shaped not the same as the other regions. Needs to address the regions.

QUESTIONS?
At what point do people get PAID for the work they do?
How do we support negotiating self-employment e.g. Funding etc. Understanding how the job system works.
Ways to break down the ‘us and them’ relationship between buildings and individuals?
Schemes like young directors at Young Vic as a model?
(Unhealthy ‘us and them’ relationship with venues. Less of the division in Northampton. Derby has a lot of cross-pollination but a level of understanding in small city. Northampton similar so a community quite quickly. Nottingham has some strange divisions: NEAT helped break that down.)
There are some great things happening but we need MORE and we need to keep asking!
How can we build on what already is there?
What might there be money for?
Development of talent is now a gap in the region.
Do we need a coordinator to see the big picture? Someone who is a point for artists, career development and brokering relationships between venues and programmes and buildings. Ask for a collective commitment from organisations and buildings and individuals?
A need for somebody who cares about talent and can support those in a personal way. There needs to be a budget for this. Able to address some of the gaps?
Give an overview of the region and then illustrate the gaps then you can ask for funding.

ACTIONS:
First Bite would like a conversation about a way of exchanging artists in those schemes and developing talent. 07932 696879 paul@chinaplatetheatre.com
TWP can use some of their capacity to take a leadership role in formulating where this goes next both in discussion and practically.
There will be another ‘mid-point’ at some point. Paul will be available to have a discussion about how to do this well.

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