The Ecology
- Are we too reliant on big organisations to get our work produced in Northants? Should we explode the ways we work, and 'go it alone' without the need of these organisations. Big organisations need to take greater responsibility when local artists end up leaving the area - what more could the organisation have done to keep developing them?
- There's a deep mythology in Northants generally that we're not as important as surrounding areas. This has seeped into the psyche of local artists and smaller organisations. How can the arts change that?
- As local artists we should value our collective voice, take over an abandoned building and make work happen regardless. Examples of this were listed, such as Arts Admin or ArtReach.
- Why are In Good Company not connected to Royal & Derngate? As artists we see our peers throughout the East Midlands getting LOADS of support throughout the year - why not us? (There was generally a lot of jealousy about Derby Theatre's commitment to local artists - Northants is East Midlands too!). The opportunities in Northants seem to be a couple a year.
- Some members of the Young Company see their guest facilitators and companies come in from primarily outside Northants. The knock on effect of this is that the members feel they have to be from somewhere else to be taken seriously, or travel somewhere else to get work. Why don't the Young Company know about all the great local talent?
- We need to get stately homes and charities more involved in the arts. They've got money to support projects! Britain's Best Surprise etc...
- Discussions of making a better network and visibility for the work going on in Northants. A positive example was cited as 'Spud Collective' in Lincolnshire.
- 'The NN Hub' already exists in Northants, and could provide a digital platform for engaging with each other.
- Are we making work for ourselves as artists, or for audiences? What's the sustainability?
- The community / amateur scene in Northants is particularly vibrant and visible - but this has a knock on effect for emerging professional artists whose work isn't seen as professional to audiences unless its in a reputable theatre. Do we put too much emphasis on exposure, and on the quality of the work?
- Red Table Theatre's 'Open Book' was cited as a positive model that could work well in Northants.
- '60 Miles by Road or Rail' brought together new local artists and played to 400 local people for one night in September. There is an appetite for collaboration and new work, particularly in the current political climate, and we need to strike whilst the iron is hot.

What do we want?
- To create a new arts venue in Northants, for small scale studio work, comedy, and touring work. Northants is a black hole for touring work, and the losers of this are artists nationally, artists locally, and audiences who aren't offered this scale of work on a regular basis. Royal & Derngate's studio space is largely unavailable for local artists. It is essential that Royal & Derngate support this new space, and don't see it as a rival but a partner organisation that they can promote and nurture.
- To create new work in abandoned spaces throughout Northants.
- To be able to develop as artists in Northants. Not to feel we do 1 project then have to leave to progress. Northants artists want to stay in Northants - organisations need to take a greater responsibility for the long term conversation.

Immediate Next Steps
- Set up email contact list. Tell each other what's happening! (if you would like to be added to this list contact [email protected]hotmail.co.uk)
- Establish a hub meeting place where we can have regular updates
- Create an events calendar of the work going on

Later Next Steps
- Capture Northants on film more. This can be more widely distributed and get our work shown to a wider pool.
- Use the momentum of the 60 Miles by Road or Rail project, and the commitment of its established audience, as a foundation to create more work by local artists. Develop a heritage strand for this, whereby local artists can contribute. You can find out more about this at www.60milesbyroadorrail.co.uk
- Set up a CIO focused on Northants artists and projects


Upcoming Northants Events and Northants Groups
- New Monthly Writing Nights at Dapper Sandwich. 21st Feb. Email [email protected] for more information.
- Armed with Crayon
- 'Body, Breath and Story: Building a Contemporary Storytelling Practice' Email [email protected] for more information.
- Junction dance
- 'Duchess of Malfi' by Masque Theatre. 1st April.
- The Wheels on Debussy - 'Festival on the Close' 23rd - 28th June. 'Edinburgh Preview Season' 28th June - 14th July. Have space - need people!