How can we make theatre in empty and abandoned spaces possible?

Justin Palmer, 30 June 2012

Justin Palmer, Ali Campbell, Bob Havard, Tom Bailey, Kelly, Bea, Astrid, Hannah Drake

-Building insurance - has to be householder"s responsibility if anything goes wrong - they are liable.
- way of obtaining public liability insurance to cover this
-difficulties of healthy and safety issues in moving into a new and disused building -'Capacity' project in Bristol - under threat but used to provide emerging artists with access to disused buildings/spaces - need to petition the Council to reinstate the scheme - letter to Simon Cook

-Examples of work in unconventional spaces in Bristol - domestic violence project performed in a council house - warehouse show at the Paintworks ‘UND’ (Capacity project) -how do you get the audiences? how do you transport people there? where do you meet?

-stigma in some circles of artist's work ‘not being up to scratch’ if they cannot get into a theatre and are resigned to doing it anyway in a site-specific mode

-how the economic recession has an impact positively in allowing more buildings to be available, but has a negative impact when artists have trouble persuading landlords to open up their spaces to them when economic times are hard
BOV-how much have they followed through with their earlier principles of ‘opening up’ the theatre to local artists- open spaces scheme, ferment, etc. - what are the challenges?
-Ferment how it is for the artist - unsure as to what they want artistically? how to get funding from them? criticism of not much feedback
-what do we offer the landlords directly? an artistic hub? a longer project involving lots of companies using the space as a marketplace, rehearsal space, for workshops, r&d, etc. -need a venue that is central and is provided with good transport links.
-Bath being currently easier than Bristol for artists to acquire buildings for work -Pop-up venues in Bristol mentioned: The Parlour (College Green), Artspace Lifespace College (Bedminster), The Looking Glass (Centre), The Little Black Box (Chandos Road).
-Example of a successful theatre company in London who do work in disused buildings being Theatre Delicatessen -used to be based in the old Uzbekistan Airways building in central London, now in the old BBC building near Baker Street -are able to do a long residency in these spaces in order to do plays and then move onto to becoming an artistic hub for other companies - Theatre Souk.
-RATE RELIEF!! - how to get it?


Site-specific, found space, Hannah Drake, landlords, site specific, Site Specific site-specific, shops, insurance, rate relief, Ali Campbell, Tom Bailey, Justin Palmer,

Bob Havard, licences

Comments: 3

Julia Negus, 30 June 2012

I run the Shop Front Theatre in Coventry, West Midlands ( I opened it in Dec 09. I cant attend D & D but I can help with rates question. We are a charity since 2010 & get 80% rate relief & the remaining 20% is at the discretion of the LA. I submit an application for discretionary relief & highlight the work my theatre does that supports various LA policies etc ie: access to arts, work with young people etc.The Shop is leased from the council rather than a private landlord.When we opened the Shop Front it was a big learning curve, from touring small scale theatre to actually creating a space & making the work too (AND getting people to come!)BUT it is probably the best thing I have done professionally &we have recently signed a new 3 yr lease. I am happy to offer any support to others who want to take over empty spaces/shops etc email [email protected]

Luke John Emmett, 1 July 2012

Here is the link to Bath & North East Somersets Temporary use of spaces area to their website:

Definitely worth a look if the rate relief situation in Bristol is changing.

Mhora Samuel, 1 July 2012

Here's the link to the report from The Theatres Trust's Conference in 2011 - Converting Spaces Creating Theatres - some useful Key points and Design principles Converting Spaces Creating Theatres