Convener(s): Tassos Stevens

Participants: Lucy Foster, Kirsty Lothian, Jude Wright, Maddy Costa, Ginnie Stephens, Michael Dempsey, Daryl Beeton, Chloe Smith, Laura Cubitt, Erica Campayne, Anthony Biggs, Shelley Hastings, Laura McDermott

Summary of discussion, conclusions and/or recommendations:

Initial issues: various interpretations of what it means to open up space, whether that’s about physical space – either existing theatre space or non-theatre spaces to be found – or about the space as the opportunity to get involved or to show work. These are perhaps the same issue?

Work is being made in venues that are impenetrable, how to get on in. More ‘space’ to open up within the industry. Cliques can dominate, how to break through those. If you have no past track record of making work then how do you get on.
If we open up to everyone does that mean work is not of a high standard.

Making use of wasted space, empty buildings. Reinventing spaces for events.
There are empty spaces, all you need is room/light/heat for facilities for practising artists. We can break into warehouses but how do we access the technical facilities for showing work that demands that.

Do all venues have a floating space?
Venues are often block-booked unnecessarily for rehearsal ‘just in case’ so that space will often be unused. Can this be opened up in a kind of way for free or bartered services?
Space to be donated by venues to allow the development of ideas without the pressure of product. An equivalent to the Writers’ Room at the Soho Theatre where anyone can drop in.

The infrastructure of traditional theatre, can this be opened up to different art forms.

Difference between in London – more artists, less ‘space’ – and out of London – fewer artists, more ‘space’.

But interested in the questions of: how do you help people to have a go. And how do you find out from that what interests you. How do you just turn up.

ROAR as a past project in London working as an open platform blagging space in different venues to then have open nights or seasons of new work but suffering from being the responsibility of one/few people to organise.

Suggestion that as a project like this needs a person or people to drive it but that everyone benefits from the project’s existence, then every theatre in London pays a small amount to organiser(s) of this Open Space, even make them an ‘associate director’.
Counter-proposal that better to have a bigger set of artist/producer curated seasons that are linked by online sharing of information, feedback, publicity – rather than the same one or few people programming the seasons, even in an open way.

Talk of the Scratch Culture of open nights being a brilliant idea and of great intent always but not always brilliant in practice. And that there are many different subtle but significant variations on the theme.

An open night in Wakefield, an open night in London. The artists get on a bus at the end of the night and drive to the other place – passing each other with a wave on the M1 – to show to the same audience the next night.

Open Space as a past project in Leeds. On this day we are using this big space to find out ‘what is devised theatre’ for a large group of interested newcomers. So that a lot of – say, kids – can have an experience of devising theatre that otherwise the curriculum or their teachers or just common experience cannot provide.

An online barter exchange where space that is available or other services can be brokered in a lastminute/ebay way.

Make this work nationally, call it The National Grid – you plug in, donate, get back. To support emerging work and/or emerging artists.

The Free Space Club – but nothing necessarily ‘free’. Can offer services, workshops, reciprocal bits of space.

Arts & Business – can help you find space?

Venues – can use any bits of space, both inside and out. Can theatre venues use their ’theatreness’ to help open up more found spaces in their local communities.

Sharing knowledge as a resource to help each other. Online.

What is the Creative Ground website?

Does New Work open up to New Audiences?

Do shows using old sets / props from other shows. Is there a need for a general depository of this stuff that can be accessed by everyone in a

A wiki document to be set up immediately with a proposal for The National Grid/Free Space Club online barter exchange and Open Nights/Seasons, opened up straight away to anyone to submit and write and see what happens.
Talk to any possible funders on the basis of that document, regionally and nationally.