Does Exeter need to compete with Plymouth? Surely it's better to collaborate?

Paul Bull, 2 September 2012

who called the sesion?

paul bull

who attended the session?

Cecilia, Kate, and many bees and buttrerflies including Phil, Emily, Kelly and others


This is a repeat of the question I asked at the Plymouth DandDR.

There Plymouth artists seemed envious of then vibrant theatre ecology that they see here in Exeter - and the wealth of opportunities that appear to be denied to them at the other end of the A38.

Yet Kate still gets asked “why don't you programme what happens in Plymouth?”

Emily commented that in the early days of Wide Awake Devon she thought that Plymouth seemed to be better facilitated with a vast pool of experienced practitioners, yet Exeter events were better attended, albeit by grassroots newcomers.

Cecilia put forward the view that from a Torquay perspective, many people there are envious of both Exeter and Plymouth - she both having FLAGSHIP theatre and travel

more to Exeter because of the more convenient travel nertwork.

South West Arts board used to co-ordinate a booking conference - similar to the NRTF's menu sessions.

Wide Awake Devon have tried organising venue meetings but Cecila thought that Brixham weren't invited - where the correct people invited? Hopefully the next set of meetings will have a better invite list!

ACE, South West no longer have th remit to promote artists/companies wishing to tour into the South West region.

Kate said many informal chats DO happen over programming and she tries to ensure that companies don't bouce around the country but visit Devon - and the South West - in as co-ordinated fashion as possible.

We need to learn form each other. Plymouth - as a unitary authority - had co-ordinated major projects such as WIRED and The World At Your Feet

Paul mentioned as part of Exeter City Council's development of a cultural strategy for the city, councillors are planning to visit Plymouth and talk to senior councillors there as well as visit the Theatre Royal and TR2.

The Extreme Imagination project was referenced, along with a hope that Exeter City Councikl could help facilitate resources, influence, and advocate as well as direct cash funding.

Wide Awake Devon could - with other development agencies across the SW as partners - be seen to act to develop agencies across the South West to initiate a producers forum and maybe act as brokers for product wishing to tour into the SW region.

To conclude, Kate mentioned that many companies touring into the Exeter Northcott get biggeer audiences here in Exeter than they do elsewhere in the country.

Forty years ago, after the old Theatre Royal burnt down in the city centre, the powers that be decided - for whatever reason - to build the new theatre here on the University campus. Lets celebrate that decision rather than wish for something else in its place.


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