Submission from Brett Moore, BRM Theatre CIC

Why do you think people in the South Holland and Boston areas don’t get more involved in the arts?

1. My own experience indicates that some people regard the arts as an ‘upper class’ , pretentious or even snobbish activity that is beyond thier reach and does not relate to thier lives.

2. There is a lack of communication between performance arts groups in Spalding and Boston. There could be more co-operative shared projects.

3.Lack of personal financial resourses in these difficult times.

4. Lack of site specific work – many people cannot travel to venues. Most people have to travel to Spalding or Boston to attend events. Not enough use is made of local village halls and community centres etc.

5. There is a lack of integration between the arts and the community.

6. There is a lack of interdisciplinary performance .

7. In terms of the local Eastern European community, research through the local council demonstrated that Easter European Immigrants are interested and would like to get involved in the arts, particularly family activities but the main reasons that they didn’t attend activities was: they were too tired following long working hours, a lack of transportation and lack of financial resources. There is also evidence which shows a slow building of tensions between immigrants and the local population which might be a further reason not to socialise.

What do you think should happen to encourage people to get more involved in the arts locally?

1. More community lead projects which allow local people to devise and create thier own work.

2. Projects that are relevant and appropiate to the lives of local people.

3. Minority groups should be actively  encouraged to participate and integrate within the community. Barriers to this should be explored further.

4. Leading Arts groups should participate in projects together.

5. Research should be carried out to identify barriers to the arts.

6. A base for the community should be set up in Spalding and Boston. This should be a place which connects the community to the arts and allows freedom of expression. It should be affordable and recognisable as fully inclusive. This base should be lead by professionals but operated by members of the community.

7. Events and workshops should be carried out in a range of venues in rural communities. Projects should target these areas and work with minority groups.

8. Projects specifically designed to integrate members of the community should take place.

9. Projects that are designed to meet specific needs of community members should take place.

What ideas do you have for exciting, innovative ways to get more people involved in the arts in the area? Please also estimate how much it might cost.

Project A:  Storytelling Project :

This project aims to bring people together from minority groups, local immigrants, travellers, ethnic monorities and the british community and break down the barriers of racism, religion, age, sex and culture.

The project will begin with five weekly workshops which will encourage people from all community groups to come together and tell their stories. These can be personal life stories or folk tales and cultural stories.  They would be held in the evenings during week days.  The workshops will be aimed at developing the skills and dramatic interpretation of storytelling. This is a collaborative process which involves input from all the group members and helps to develop cohesion within the storytelling group.    They will explore contemporary styles of personal narrative and political commentary; investigate cultural boundaries and practice dramatic interpretation.  All stories would be ethically monitored.

Once the first five weekly workshops have taken place we begin with our first storytelling performance to take place, undercover, in  town  or village centres.  This will continue every Saturday morning whilst the week day workshops also continue.The workshops will use drama based stories to entertain and inform.  People for all walks of life enjoy telling thier stories and this project gives them the opportunity to be heard.

  •  Education through universal life experience sharing.  Many people in the community are over 65 and will have valuable experiences and wisdom to pass on.
  • Community Cohesion In the shared experience of telling.
  • People can experience diverse cultures and reveal commonalities and differences, bringing together divisions in the community.
  • Improved communication improves cooperation.

This is a two year project which is estimated to cost £ 15000

Project B: Teaching English Through Drama Project

This project aims to teach English language to The Eastern European Community and any Non-English speakers in The South Holland District. It will use a unique methodology through drama based exercises which will lead to a number of theatrical performances in South Lincolnshire villages and halls.  By bringing together English people and non-English this project will  create drama based workshops which, combined with language learning techniques,  will educate and inspire creative performance. These performances will also be used to teach language skills. The benefits of the project include:

  • It gives the community real and active contexts for the language.
  • The opportunity to hear other modelling appropriate language and developing listening skills
  •  The use of scenarios to practise expression and build confidence
  • It can fill the gaps that conventional teaching misses.
  • Creating interaction within the community and taking language risks in a safe way
  • The chance to create a new persona whom speaks English.

This project would take place over 42 months and cost approx £25000

Project C: Weekend Free Theatre for Everyone

This is an inclusive theatre project that aims to introduce people of all ages and walks of life to performance that would not normally be able to afford it. They will be taught acting, devising and technical skills for free.  The project will involve regular weekend workshops in theatre that will lead to a devised performance in local village halls etc. These performances will raise funds for future work.  These performances are not the primary aim of the workshops and will take place through the ideas and engagement of local people. The performances will be the ownership of the community.

This project addresses issues of poverty within the community. We believe that many people fail to engage with the arts because they, or thier parents cannot afford it and although we might not regard them as in poverty, they will consider performance arts a low priority.

The project will take place over 12 months at an estimated cost of £17000 to £20000 depending on number of participants.

Project D:   Theatre for the Disabled

Research indicates that, whilst the local council supports disabled people in the area, there are little or no theatre or drama based activities which might provide a creative outlet for this community. To date this community has not considered a ‘Disability Arts’ based project in which disabled people can express their own feelings about their life experiences or an ‘Arts and Disability’ project to provide drama based creative opportunities.

Through drama based workshops on performance and processes of devising I would like to give this community a voice and an opportunity to create an interesting piece. This performance would be created and lead by our community group which I have temporarily called:  ‘Alternative Abilities’ or AA because it will be through this alternative perception of life they have that they can create theatre which is unique to them.

The participants will be taught acting, devising and technical skills  at regular weekly workshops in theatre that will lead to a devised performance. These performances will raise funds for future work and fundraising activities will be carried out.

This is a 24 month project at an estimated cost of £30000