Festivals – vital champions new work

Posted in Uncategorized on May 19, 2014 by danbaker83

Festivals can be a vital platform for emerging artists to present their work; from the wider audiences festivals can bring to the diverse pool of companies and artists they attract, those involved can benefit hugely far beyond the simple economic factors we often measure things by.

With A Young Theatre’s Incoming Festival opening at the New Diorama Theatre in London today, the companies involved will have a fantastic opportunity to showcase their work in a venue with a developing reputation – and with a number of companies involved not based in London, they also have the opportunity to reach an audience in the capital under much less financial pressure than they typically might face. Furthermore, with the shows forming part of a full festival programme the appeal to audiences is much greater than it might be for an independent run – audiences may be shared between shows, and with A Younger Theatre and the New Diorama advocating for the work there is already a seal of approval that the work is of a high standard. Add to that the highly professional print and marketing for the festival, and you’re looking at a huge opportunity for those companies and artists involved. Continue reading

Developing an independent theatre scene

Posted in artist development, networking, producing on January 3, 2014 by danbaker83

How does a revolution start? Is restlessness and a desire to challenge the status quo enough to inspire people into action? And how is momentum maintained and built upon?

In 2013, Plymouth bid to be the 2017 City of Culture. As we all know now, the bid was unsuccessful as Hull won the honour – and deservedly so, with a strong bid and a real sense that the city was working together to celebrate its heritage and current cultural offer – and Plymouth returned to its status as a city with ‘potential’. But a big concern from myself and many of my peers working independently in the arts within the city was that there seemed to be a lack of consultation of those of use striving to make work here. Continue reading

The new National Theatre AD (i.e. theatre’s David Moyes)

Posted in venues on October 15, 2013 by danbaker83

This year, the biggest shoes in the business need filling. After a long reign marked by success after success, a Knight of the realm steps down – leaving someone with the unenviable task of filling his shoes. Questions will be asked about their suitability, and people will watch closely as the press stand by, pens at the ready to tell the world that things ain’t as good as they used to be.

Whoever gets the Artistic Director job at the National Theatre will effectively be the David Moyes of the theatre world. Continue reading

On realising the importance of maintaining friendships

Posted in Uncategorized on August 27, 2013 by danbaker83

I recently received sad news regarding the passing of an actor I’ve worked with a couple of times in the past; the thought of someone so young, talented and positive no longer being with us is awful to contemplate, and has also made me realise just how easy it can be to grow apart from people in an industry where there is often a distinct lack of security and continuity. Continue reading

Is Jonathan Mills censoring the EIF?

Posted in festival on August 12, 2013 by danbaker83

Sir Jonathan Mills has a lot to answer for. Ahead of the 2014 Edinburgh International Festival (EIF), he has declared there will be no works which address the issue of Scottish independence – Mills has instead declared that the festival will remain “politically neutral”. To me, this just smacks of cowardice.

Art and politics have always had a close relationship, with theatre and performance in particular proving to be powerful means of expression; ideologies have been challenged, leaders lampooned and revolutions documented throughout the course of theatrical history. Due to the impact these issues have on people’s day-to-day lives, politics are a fertile breeding ground for artists to mine when creating work – and the strength of conviction people often have around these issues helps create powerful, moving and provocative work. So, for Jonathan Mills to tell artists they should not create work for the festival which covers Scottish independence – a huge issue for those living and working north of the border – is tantamount to censorship. Continue reading

Open Court, and presenting innovative work in risk-averse times

Posted in artist development, new writing, producing, venues on August 11, 2013 by danbaker83

The Royal Court’s Open Court Festival – a programme of work programmed, curated and developed by writers – saw a variety of different styles of work presented, in many ways different to what we have come to expect from the Court. Along with the change in the Bush Theatre’s submissions process to accept a wider range of work, two major new writing venues are showing a willingness to embrace the desires of writers to create the work they wish to, rather than that which venues traditionally programme. But will this lead to a change in the type of work produced, or will the safer, more traditional work win out in the end?

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Resisting the call of the Edinburgh Fringe

Posted in artist development, festival, networking, producing on July 29, 2013 by danbaker83

Flyering in the rain - an oft-familiar sight

So, it’s that time of the year when thousands upon thousands of “pathologically self-absorbed bastards” descend on Edinburgh for the festival season. Normally I’d be heading north, or at least making plans to; this year, however, I won’t be making the journey. Considering the last time I headed up I ended up sleeping on a park bench, I’m kinda glad that I’ve decided to forgo the festivities this year.

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