Over the last twenty months we have been involved in an extensive mentoring and training programme funded by the Arts Council of England. The aim of this has been to develop links with community theatre practitioners both in the U.K and further abroad and to engage in debate with them to investigate ways in which we can continue to develop the work that we do. This has lead us to thinking about creating new models of participatory practice to allow us to create theatre that involves large amounts of people at a time when funding is becoming more difficult to attract.
This exploration has taken us to the Netherlands on a number of occasions, where the community theatre scene is vibrant. We have been working with a number of companies there who have helped us to sharpen our thinking and we are very pleased that The House of Stories and the Rotterdams Wijktheater (who run the incredible International Community Arts Festival every three years in the city) have been acting as mentors to the company , specifically around issues of engaging with the stories of local communities and exploring new theatrical forms in which to share these. This work has already had an influence on the planning of a number of projects that we have in development.
This training period culminated with a series of workshops run by Titia Bouwmeester, Stephanie Dale and David Edgar. both with our associate team but also with others from the region working in similar fields to ourselves.
We’re very grateful to the Arts Council for providing us with this opportunity to really dig into the work that we have been, are and will be doing at a time when the company is re-imagining itself.