So the summer finally arrived and with it the good news from ACE that our funding application to commission Rebecca, David and Jens to complete the script for Artist in a Happy City has been approved.
Although the sums aren’t large, it feels like a lunar step forward for this independent touring company: it’s the first time we’ve been able to pay upfront fees to the creators to get scripting and work up the designs at the same time.
We’ll also be able to work with 5 actors for 1 week, 1 specialist in offering assisted performances for Deaf/disabled audiences, hold two participatory workshops for members of the public to help us finesse one one area of the performance and share this work with potential partners to programme the work in 2017. Independent Producers, Little Mighty, will be working with us for the first time to connect us up with venues and start looking into touring possibilities so that once it’s made we can get it to audiences whilst it’s still fresh from the oven.
The ACE grant is not just about cash – it’s a badge of honour. It makes artists feel proud to be part of the ever-growing – but not yet diverse enough group of people – who spend their lives working on creative ways to explore and express what it means to be alive in the UK today. Far from every grant gets through and it’s always really gutting to find out that we didn’t get a grant (oh yes, it’s happened) or to hear about someone else who didn’t.
In case you’re wondering, the ACE funding isn’t the full picture.
We’re also putting in a considerable chunk from fees earned by the company in 2015, and we’ve raised money from the Unity Theatre Trust, Notting Hill Housing Trust and a private donor (anonymous). We are getting valuable in kind support from The Arts Depot, The Albany, JDC Design and Bristol University.
We’re still putting time in to fundraising for the tour and the ongoing costs of the all the work that has to happen before we can get into a room to write or spend time with actors. It’s what we call Hidden Subsidy, which doesn’t appear in the graphic above – the voluntary time which props up so much of the wonderful work that is available to see every day in the UK.
Frank Cottrell Boyce wrote a moving article about all of that wider picture of creative generosity this weekend in The Guardian.
So now, we are full steam ahead to make this the best work we can ….
And if anyone fancies getting involved in the workshops, there will be more information soon…