Convener(s): William Bock

Participants: Laura McDermot
Michael Twaits
Richard Hayhow
Oliver Senton

Summary of discussion, conclusions and/or recommendations:

My question came out of the feeling that sense of community in the city was .John Fox recently announced that he was leaving his position as artistic director of the Welfare state theatre company saying that there was no space in the current social climate to create ‘theatre as a way of life’. I was concerned about the state of theatre and the disparate nature of the arts generally in London. I want to see if it is possible to create a sustainable creative community to share and inspire new work.

Our Problems: what is happening and what is wrong:

England not a supportive place for create communities.

‘Theatre has lost its location’ theatre institutions not as in touch with the locals living around them. More ‘venues’ but could be anywhere. All the same - homogenus

Criticised BAC for sometimes not being relevant to the local community. Blamed funding cut. But also a very social place – bar gives audience opportunity to meet performers. Not all bad!!

De La Warr Pavillion – Refurbished becoming figure head for contemporary art in SW England except in doing so alienating its older audiences not sympathetic to locals tastes Was variety venue now more of a bleak white art gallery?

Education doesn’t offer basic skills of self publicising yourself essential if you are making theatre more a way of life.

Ideas for improvement of situation and Solutions:

Theatres need to take responsibility to make contact with colleges, institutions to bring new talent to work in every area.

Finding a neutral space to meet - a hub where contacts can be recorded and serve as a data base.

Open west end theatres after their opening times and allow more use of their spaces to the public.

The Insomniacs café ……… an open house open 24 hours a day work a week at a time? Library, work studio, living room. Venue - as well as meeting place.
Is it practical or too idealistic?

The general consensus was that theatre is more than a profession.