There can be few cultural places with more of a sense of anticipation than Hull, with 2017 just around the corner. The slogan “we know who we are” is on the station, the banners are flying and I was lucky enough to spend a day with creatives who are determined to make work of the highest standard for the people of Hull, now and into the future. Thank you, Hull Truck, for the invitation.
When I do the “Your Life in Theatre” workshops, I try and develop an agenda for the sessions which, in good Open Space style, is developed by those around the room. The core topics remain similar, but the focus shifts wherever we are talking.
I always find I am also teaching myself, as much as I am pontificating and sharing with the new creatives that I meet. I have definitely come up with a new, stay at home, fundraising idea which I will share with the next couple of Development Boards that I attend. It is either an inspired or a daft idea – but it could be worth a few grand.
My various YLIT mantras of “Who do you want on the front row?” and “who’s on your Christmas card list?” became important as we explored taking shows to Edinburgh, developing new writing and new playwrights, attracting Generation Y to inspiring events, finding sponsors who share your vision, and understanding the infrastructure of touring and arts venues. Many other subjects were covered, and new ideas shared.
I was struck by the similarity of my job to the acting/management company of Northern Broadsides who were sharing the sink, kettle and green room with us today in the theatre. I too am visiting a town, making new connections and friends who I may never “play” to again. I am in my own little bubble, dependent on the welcome of the management and box office team (who are lovely and welcoming), the skill of the marketing & participation team to sell my gig (all good), the comfort of the digs (excellent and it had wi-fi), the availability of a beer or a burger nearby (good), and the reliability of the trains to get me home (2 trains up, 3 trains back and a goodly delay, but hey ho, I have time to write a blog).
I hope to keep in touch with some of those I have met, and definitely feel there are some inspiring projects to come. I’d love to be back May 28th for the Assemblefest on Newland Avenue. I will definitely check out a couple of shows from Hull in Edinburgh this year. And I will continue to explore spiritually embodied and mindful theatre practitioners for one writer in search of fellow travellers.
And PS This is a quick reminder to colleagues….
I spend a lot of time trying to connect people. I meet a new creative (or a grey-beard), get inspired by their idea, and know the right person they should talk with. I know that they would have a rich conversation, and could be useful to each other. My surgeries, these YLIT events, and my MA and Producers’ Pool work all lead me to helping people make connections to established and, hopefully, useful people.
When I send an “emerging peter meet established jenny” email I get two reactions. Either a lovely note quite quickly, from jenny, thanking me for putting them in contact, and welcoming an email from peter. Or nothing for a couple of weeks, and then a note from peter saying jenny never replied.
It sometimes works the other way around. I introduce chris with project/money to 3-4 emerging producers, and again two reactions. Note from chris saying thanks so much 1,2,3 of the producers have been in touch wanting more info. Or a sad note from chris saying none of them responded.
So my request to old and young, is to try and find a moment to respond to emails, especially if they are from someone you don’t know being connected to you by someone you do know. We “connectors” rely on connections to keep the world flowing and growing. The people we aim to help, rely on us to try and help them find the right person to talk with.
I seek never to connect known friends/experts to strangers/stalkers. I always believe that I am trying to light a fire under a project through the spark of connectivity.
In the next few weeks I suspect someone from the Hull workshops will contact me, and want connecting. I will do it willingly if I know the right people. My hope is that the expert and the emerging artist will then make great art happen for 2017 or thereafter in Hull.
Thanks again Hull Truck for developing your supported artist scheme, widening the net to creative studying at the University and making across the City. A pleasure to be there and help in the City of Culture journey to be sure “we know who we are”.