Arne Pohlmeier, 25 January 2015

Attendended by Marianne, Rachel, Lina, Dan, M.Viegas, Arne

We spoke a little about my specific aim of taking my next project - a double bill of little

known Shakespeare plays (Henry VI, parts 2 and 3) - to non-theatre spaces across

London in lieu of securing a 3 to 4 week run at an “established” theatre. We

recognised the potential of performing for the community, tapping into other

audiences, being inspired by different spaces. We wondered about the need to tie the

choice of performance space into the aims of the productions and about how public we

would want to make the performances (for instance in parks and making it free for all;

or performing in people's homes). We also touched on the amount of admin and

relationship building work that would be involved in such an undertaking.

In the case of my project - given my company's remit of exploring issues of migration

and displacement - we felt that there was real potential in working with local London

councils and their arts departments. Would they be willing to give us a venue for free,

provided we reached out to the migrant communities in their borough? It was

mentioned that Camden Council's Arts Team is really keen on invigorating empty

spaces through arts and that artists taking over empty office buildings can actually

result in tax breaks for the building's owners (cf. Theatre Delicatessen taking over the

old BBC building).

Lina suggested that if a network of accessible sights/buildings across London was

established, that there would be other company's keen to offer performances on the

same network. Dan mentioned the Rural Touring Network and suggested that perhaps

this could grow into an Urban Touring Network for London - a scheme linking

community or empty/derelict spaces across London's boroughs with artists and

companies willing to perform in these spaces. We also thought about existing

institutions that could work as a hub for this kind of network (ITC, Ideas Tap, Arts


There is a really interesting challenge to the establishment here - in taking theatre

straight to overlooked communities. Partnering with local councils could help push the

engagement agenda and if the Arts Council came on board, too, we could even make

it a viable performance opportunity for the companies?

There is scope for taking further action on this topic and definitely need to let some of

this thinking mature - something for the action session on Monday morning!

Thanks to all the participants for their thoughts and input. Very good stuff!

PS: Some venues and companies to connect with are

- Artworks, Elephant & Castle

- Rift Shakespeare Festival in Shoreditch

- The Bussy Building

- Peckham Car Park

- The Factory


boroughs, councils, Touring, shakespeare, Rural touring, Network, migrant

communities, arts team, rural, touring, migration, Arts Team, network, urban,

Shakespeare, Camden, Councils, rural touring