Gemma Thomas, 13 July 2012

Session was called by Gemma and Jax


Clive, Phil, Ed, David, Mark, Sue, Peta, Theresa and Kitty

So Jax and I decided to join up our sessions. I gave the title of ‘Value’ and she gave the provocation of ‘Theatre, is it just entertainment or a valuable social tool?’ we thought these were both linked and after a quick chat decided to join up.

I was interested in the value we give ourselves, the perceived value of theatre and culture and how we set value.

So here are questions, notes and statements noted plus Jax and I's reflections from the session.

How do we quantify culture?

How do we make a case for its value?

Tools to express themselves

Value in the eye of the beholder

Is it our job to help/show/audiences to understand the value?

Paid/Unpaid work - value but don't want to pay for it.

Drama schools - understanding how to make a living.

Self-employed/Employed - the “living wage” of a skilled worker.

Under-valuing ourselves as artists.

Art is fundamental

Aesthetic is opposite of Anaesthetic

Let's shout about it - Theresa gave examples of statistics about the New Vic and Borderlines.

Arts vs NHS - conversations about funding can open a can of worms.

Let's stop talking about culture and talk about economy/ecology

Pay and it's relationship to external ecology and economy

Decide your own value and you remain happy with integrity

How do audiences feel and show value - memory, connections to them (how to do that better), that's not just participation, experience.

Storytelling - the whole story of the show. VALUE


Alternate framework for value

What is the balance

Value in relation to scale

Relative cost of relationships

Choice and value


What is the balance?

Raising our value

Advocating for our value

Value: Quality, Purpose, Audience and development.

Perception - vital? Important?


The discussion was wide ranging. As workers how do we put a value on ourselves and say - you must pay me this amount because that is my worth, but then to make others aware that you offer great value for money. How do you explain and quantify that by presenting a child with a puppet you have given that child the means to express themselves, by reading a poem to a stroke patient who has been unable to speak they can then say the first words since they became poorly.

Mention Theatre to people and they think of something frivolous, a way to squander a few hours in idleness, when in reality it can be much more.

You have to justify yourself for funding, yet the theatre can generate an enormous return to the local economy, plus has benefits to the participants (keeping young offenders out of prison - thereby being an enormous saving to the public purse. Yet the spending and saving does not come from the same budget so the treasury has no means of showing that the spending on this art institution has made a saving for the secretary of state for justice).


monetary value, artists pay, ecology, social value, economy, Value, culture, Culture, value