Funky with Space – companies, artists promoters coming together to share knowledge of non-traditional and flexible spaces 

Convener(s): Rebecca Manson Jones

Participants: Kate Hall, Sarah Sansome, Tamsin, Scarlett Flouviez Comnas, Christine Elliot

The title for this session came from a satellite D&D at the end of last year convened by Fuel on touring.

In a session, Sarah Sansome came up with expression Funky with Space as the name of a potential group of artists suggested I think by Simon from Brighton, who might be able to share knowledge of Spaces where the management are prepared and excited about changing the space for touring work or knowledge about non-traditional spaces might be shared to enable more work of this type to tour and to make it easier for venues to sell….


The Pop up network of shops was suggested as one route

Slack Space  - there is a conference about this @ The Firstsite gallery in Colchester in a couple of weeks time.

Sheltered housing schemes, schools, hospitals and churches were suggested as places where space may be available, barriers are money and isolation – even within their own networks they don’t always talk to each other.


Suggestion that in order for visiting companies to persuade a venue to look into non-traditional spaces they’d have to be even more convinced about the quality of the work to take the extra risk and do the extra work involved.


Arts Centres are likely to be the best bet

Concrete examples of agencies and companies with experience were:

  • Eastern Angles, Peterborough and Eastern Region
  • Rural Touring Networks
  • Greenwich and Docklands Festivals
  • Pulse – Ipswich
  • Plymouth – Hidden City
  • Bristol Ferment and May Fest
  • Stockton
  • National Trust Properties

Could there be a mapping exercise to get this information available to companies and artists and what would it serve?

Importance of this mapping exercise being in the context of the wider sector:

Dance, Music, Arts, Exhibitions, Museums and Galleries

A combined arts project…


Could be venues and spaces which have experience and generally understand that you aren’t going to burn their building down, break the exhibits of desecrate their sacred space.


The intention would be to create a resource based on experience. Everyone’s success will be based on their response to the space, the audience it can serve and the relationship with the promoter (as it does with other work but is more marked when going outside the comfort zone of producing/presenting in own space)

What does your project offer, theme, expansion of reach, building on  audience development strategy…

Why does your show need to be site-specific, responsive, generic? 

Lots of people say yes to site-specific, recording what the experience was like for “you” so that a resource offers an outline of what might be possible in a certain place when thinking about touring. 


Turn to promoters for help when you can, bringing in an established venue may build their qdos and can save a lot of leg work re marketing, box office etc.


In terms of touring, the show may change and adapt to the space, so essentially the same idea responds dynamically and changes to fit each space to which it might tour.


 We explored an understanding that site specific shows often take a long time to make and have a limited audience which may be what some theatre makers intend. Others would like to be able to take it more than one location so that more people can experience it. For audiences outside main centres to be offered work of this type (massive assumption that this isn’t happening already – apologies to everyone who is incensed by that last thought).


Parabola Arts in Cheltenham suggested as space that might be prepared to play – flexible space

And Lakeside Colchester.


Summary of discussion, conclusions and/or recommendations: 

Set up the mapping exercise – RMJ happy to start with new “basecamp” technology that she just learned about from Phelim


Rebeccca Manson Jones  [email protected]

Christina Elliot


Are starting a network of artists, companies and promoters who are interested in sharing knowledge and experience of being Funky with Space. If you’d like to join, please email Rebecca