Is it more sensible for a Plymouth based artist to stay or leave/ As a freelance artist how do I sustain my work

Ruth Mitchell, 17 July 2012

Hannah Silva & Ruth Mitchell with David (Theatre R), Ray (Freelancer Curator), Alexander (Burn the Curtain), Paul (freelance technician and Exeter city councillor), Mark (Beaford Arts)

Are artists here because they have to be? 3 of these practitioners are in SW because of their partners work.

Should there be a compromise (Hannah) of say half a year in London and half in Plymouth.

Is the networking the problem for lack of making work here? is the only opportunity to do it yourself? Should there be a network of freelancers?

Hannah has the funding but only needs rehearsal space but finding it difficult to get that through NPO organisations. Therefore should we budget and apply for space hire


Mark asked why Hannah wanted to leave when she knew she had an audience and it was only a matter of space.

Maybe the infrastructure is there and we don't know where it is.

Is the door shut in Plymouth (Ruth) is there anyone within the council with a cultural hat on? Paul is also an Exeter councillor and very refreshing to hear him talk.

Burn the Curtain theatre co have used natural spaces and mainly do outdoor work, also developed their idea with Beaford Arts (Mark)

Ray mentioned working in Newcastle and the use of empty buildings for artists.

Spaces here - council don't own many any more, have sold off and the ones they have need serious risk assessments.

Paul said Exeter now trying to help the local artists so maybe Plymouth based artists have to go to Exeter to work. Paul also said that audiences want a Theatre Royal in Exeter. The Plymouth based artists said that the elephant in the room was the Theatre Royal - council and city feel that they don't need anything else or that's the feeling the freelancers get (Ruth).

The Plymouth Culture board has very little freelancers represented on it - there's a feeling that the opportunities and funds just get spread across the NPO's. Do the NPO's feel threatened by new artists?

Summary - You have to make your own work or find the relevant networks and organisations who support.

Should grow the freelance network although the NPO's should have a remit for supporting and developing local talent - The more artists talk about this need, the more likely it is that the remit will change…


freelance artist, outdoor work, rehearsal space, Culture board, plymouth, Theatre

Royal, Plymouth