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Devoted & Disgruntled 12: What Shall We Do About Theatre and the Performing Arts Now?

Outdoor Arts- outdoors meets indoors and visa versa

Sonya Moorhead - 15 January 2017

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Session 1: Seahorse
Incited by Sonya Moorhead.

Minutes taken by Sonya Moorhead: Please if you feel misrepresented or that something was accidentally omitted, feel free to amend or add to this report.

The Great Outdoors-
An open conversation about UK outdoor theatre with a focus on introducing outdoor artists, heritage, values and working practices to venues and indoor practitioners and visa-versa.


Attending:
Jenna Omeltschenko
Anna Barrett
Catherine Boot
Fergus Evans
Beth House
Pippa Bailey
Nigel Mawson
Kirsty Cox
Caroline
Richard Heddon
Tom Brocklehurst


Is all theatre on a spectrum, utilizing the similar and transferable skills or, in the case of outdoors arts, are we dealing with a completely different medium?

• Richard Heddon shared his experience of creating work in both contexts: being flexible, adaptable, low tech offers more opportunity and is more sustainable.

• Many venues are looking to programme outdoor arts but are not approached by those companies, he also recommended making marketing materials siting the work indoors if that’s the context that you want a booking.

• It was pointed out that in terms of business models - Indoor theatre contracts and box offices, the Outdoor Sector pays a fee and offers the show to audiences for free hence the massive potential for engagement. Outdoor artists will go where their politics lie but also where the proper fee is. – (Could we discuss next time how that business model could be transferred into venues?)

• Closing the gap: a number of points were made about training courses. Students, with a few exceptions are not made aware of the outdoor arts sector as a viable career option.

- Access to training is difficult for people facing obstacles; access to training in the outdoor arts is even more difficult.
- “Attitude is everything” good place to reference access advice.
- Circus training facilitates such as Circomedia are more successful at introducing students to outdoor arts because of the obvious connection between those art forms and capability of outdoor contexts.

Can you bring outdoor art/ artists into a venue or does that erode the politics of making outdoor work in the first place?
Are ticketed shows sited in one location really outdoor arts? They are outdoors but are they carrying the values of the sector. This lead on to a discussion about the National Theatre of Wales and the demographic of their audiences and an interrogation of their success in integrating their work into the community where the work was sited.
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