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Well written plays or big elephants?

Issue: Well written plays or big elephants

Convener(s): andy barrett

Participants: about twelve of us

Four years ago someone working at EM ACE was asked ‘what can be the East Midlands version of The Sultan’s Elephant’.
The differences between this form of spectacle and walkabout theatre are more apparent than the similarities.
Derby Live can only use its funding to produce work and not to bring in companies (local or otherwise), FESTE – which always has successful funding applications – mainly brings in companies – and many of these are international. There is a contradiction here.
Is this all about the numbers game? Stick a big thing on the street and rack up the audience numbers (or even worse, participants).
Who sets the agenda creatively? Why do we want this stuff? It’s great but who decided we wanted it instead of plays? With this logic ACE should have funded the Royal Wedding.

HOW DO WE GET THE FUNDING BACK INTO CREATING NEW PLAYS THAT HAS BEEN LOST?
Is there a clear distinction between theatre and spectacle that is useful?
There is a battle for people’s attention, time and money. Is putting big stuff out there a sign of defeat, a cop out. Does it show a lack of confidence?

IS IT A POLITICAL FIX?
We need to play to out strengths in the region – we have THEATRE spaces, stages with auditoriums.
ACE and local authorities are shrinking. The strategic infrastructure is collapsing. The catalyst for successful new work is being plugged when it is most needed.
In times of famine do you take the firework or the calor gas stove?

JOIN EMTAC
CAN TWP SEND OUT EMTAC CONTACT DETAILS WITH THIS – visit http://emtac.wordpress.com/
If people are arguing that trains need to be made regionally then why not theatre?
We have to develop partnerships in this situation. The buildings cannot be too competitive.
A theatre based building needs to think of itself like a school or a hospital. It is a community resource. It is the glue and the manure.

MORE COHERENCE LESS COMPETITION
Can ACE be honest about – the commitments they have from the buildings on new writing and their commitment to new work / elephants.
We need to challenge the existing practice between venues for programming productions from the region, from neighbouring counties, and follow the model of rural touring.

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