Is work being made in Devon good enough?

Emily Williams, 17 July 2012

This was a tricky question and we began by trying to identify what we meant by work being ‘made in Devon’ - did this mean by Devon based artists? or did this mean by any company no matter where they are based?

We decided to focus on work made by Devon based artists with regards to the quality as we felt that most of the companies making work here but from elsewhere were making work of a certain standard with organisations such as Beaford and Theatre Royal Plymouth.

We kept coming back to the lack of progressions routes across Devon. When we say progression routes we mean multiple opportunities to be support by Devon based venues and organisations at the various levels of your development as an artist. For example: showing an early stage piece of work at the Bike Shed or showing a piece of work in progress at SCRATCH or In the Flesh, showing a finished piece of work at the Barbican, a residency at Beaford Arts, etc.

Through conversations it emerged that it was difficult to name more than 5 companies that we felt were making work of a high standard in Devon and could identified that there were more who were developing and who would soon make this number higher.

We concluded that other regions and cities are often to name many more and also many more at different stages in their development.

We discus that a contribution to the lack of good work was perhaps due to Devon based artists not seeing enough good work both within Devon and outside of the County.

We also talked about how in Devon, work is often shown before it is ready. We discussed how labelling this work, and being honest about it's development would help audiences be more satisfied.

We need more opportunities to show work in progress and to show work in a safe environment with critical friends before it is shown to an audience.

We need to broaden the possibilties for artists to develop and show their work here.

We need to be more honest when work isn't good enough.

Are we as venues, producers and artists holding up our end of the deal in Devon with audiences? We want them to see great work, and not be dissatisfied.

The conversation ended on a positive note, where we recognised that good work is slowly emerging, and that work made by more established artists and playwrights could have a chance to be shown in Devon rather than being continually showed elsewhere.

We felt that we could move forward through creating conversations between organisations and venues about how we can great greater opportunity and an infrastructure of progressions routes where artists are able to stay and make work in Devon as well as travel outside the county to receive further support and show their work elsewhere.

Who was there?

- David Lockwood, David Prescott, Mark Wallace, Fiona, David Lane, Tom


quality, Work, Devon, Infrastructure, devon, infrastructure, Quality, work