What could the RSC do together with regional artists

Geraldine Collinge, 12 October 2012

Clare Lovell, Jake Oldershaw, Paul Warwick, Hannah Miller, Graeme Rose, Delia Garratt, Ida Ballerini, Natalis Koulombis, Nicky Cox, Cliff Boice, Sam Fox, George Davn-Riley, Derek Nisbet, John Jennings and Erica Whyman (apologies for any mis-spellings)

A wide ranging and meaty conversation which I'll attempt to summarise.

Conversation about the World Shakespeare Festival which had brought many people to the RSC - as participants in Julius Caesar, to show their work in Pilot and with Stan's Cafe and to see work. Programming of companies like the Wooster group helped this. Also invites to opening nights etc had been helpful.

What is the RSC's role? As a Shakespeare expert or as a centre for arts and theatre generally. What is our responsibility? Talked about how we can open our doors to more new audiences such as were brought in by JC and Much Ado Could we do more performances around town? What is role of fringe festival? What can we learn from non-building based stuff? Experience of REP while building shut is useful - have encountered different spaces and different audiences. Buildings have a status bring different relationships with individuals. Could the RSC sustain this kind of programme?

Could the RSC brand show by regional artists? Would that be a helpful thing for artists or not?

Conversation about organisations in transition. How do you stay relevant? Transition not just about personnel, but that change can be difficult for artists to navigate. What is the RSC's pastoral relationship with artists.

Could we work with artists through a hub? Pilot at the RSC brought 300 more audience members - how can the RSC help with audience development for the work?

Could help with move from small to middle scale. Conv about RSC brand - some might think it is mainstream but for majority of population still represents a risk.

Conversation about models - R&D in manufacturing industry leads to commercial application of ideas. Is this true in the arts? Or do other industries do the commercial application of artists' ideas. Is current arts ecology like the industrial revolution - small scale makers in slavery. We need to pay artists properly to make work and r and d it.

Clear though that there is something to gain on both sides.

What about the RSC taking work to Edinburgh like Northern Stage did? (Erica Whyman conveniently joins group at this point!). Could be an RSC British Council showcase, but artist rather than promoter centered. St Stephens was a great project for Northern Stage. Brought artists together and got coverage and context for unfamiliar work. It would be more complicated for the RSC to do this.

Conversation about brands and sub brands.

Bitesize is a current showcase in the region which attracts promoters nationally and showcases new work. Could the RSC host Bitesize? GC agrees to work this up as an idea for further conversation with interested parties.


New work, artist development, commissioning, RSC, showcase, inclusion, edinburgh, new work, Edinburgh, festival, branding