Click here to read / download this D&D Satellite report (.pdf)

On Thursday 25th February 2021, Improbable supported Northern Stage, Live Theatre, Theatre Royal Newcastle, Alphabetti and ARC Stockton to co-host an online Open Space Forum to discuss the question: What is the future of theatre talent development in the North East? The question was posed by Natalie Ibu, new Artistic Director of Northern Stage, with the hope of identifying and assessing the needs of the sector in a post-pandemic world. 186 people booked for this free event and a total of 27 sessions were called by those participants, showing a great eagerness and fervour for the subject of talent development in the North East.

From these 27 sessions, some key themes have become apparent:

  1. Valuing and caring for artists
    a. Living Wage/Pay
    b. Care and support
  2. Development that spans beyond “emerging” artists
    a. Development opportunities for artists at different stages of their careers
    b. Development opportunities for artists of different ages
    c. Support for artists looking to upscale their work
    d. Support for a wide range of disciplines from cabaret to audio
  3. Keeping artists in the region
    a. Why do artists have to leave the region to progress?
    b. Local recruitment and opportunities

This report is made up of the notes taken by the participants during each session. The words have not been edited in any way. We hope that this event, and the conversations it sparked, are the start of a wider conversation about Talent Development in the North East and how we can support one another, collaborate and create together.

Report Titles

  • Living Wage for Culture Sector Workers
  • Working with Venues - How can they see us as emerging talent
  • Serving diverse local, national and international talent & stories. E.g. Newcastle Chinatown; mainland Chinese & Hong Kong-ers etc in the North East; transnational storytelling
  • Longer term artist development - How do artists get the best support throughout all stages of their career?
  • Is there a collective conversation we can have about the training offer in the region, and how to make those offers as accessible as possible?
  • How do we support cabaret work in the region? Can we reclaim the title entertainer!
  • How can established venues and companies support more emerging companies and artists coming out of the pandemic for the North East
  • What is needed and How do we better integrate access for Deaf & Disabled artists, makers and audiences?
  • Valuing Artists
  • How to navigate the region without representation? Very similar vein to the Glass Ceiling conversation
  • How do we nurture working with Young People to ensure the continued flow of Talent and Interest in the Arts?
  • Where does the talent go?
  • Big stages! How can NE artists and writers get a shot at the region's big stages?
  • Imagine We Could Start Again: What talent development programmes should we build?
  • Is there a cut-off age for talent development? Are older artists underused or underrepresented?
  • Audio - talent development, skills and opportunities
  • Committed Open Hire and Paid Work Experience
  • London - Our region and our relationship with other cities
  • (Smaller) companies - how can we/they collaborate to maximise resource and avoid duplication and unnecessary competition in relation to talent development?
  • Given the economic downturn and empty shop units across the region, how can arts organisations (large, small, independent, funded or not) use these spaces for cultural exchanges/training & development / installations?
  • Talent Development Shopping List
  • How do we as individuals and organisations support emerging talent within the community (particularly vulnerable people) who have accessed creative arts programmes to develop their talents further and to have access to further development opportunities
  • How do we use an abundant mindset as a strategy to develop talent in the North East?
  • How do small organisations develop talent when there are no routes of progression?
  • Merging Sectors
  • Other training opportunities, Similar to rep style training
  • Blurring the lines - breaking the glass ceiling for local talent