BAME artists, Sustained Theatre and Creative Enterprise

Well, all good things must come to an end, I guess, and on Friday we reached the end of the Sustained Theatre Yorkshire course for Creative Entrepreneurs. For everyone involved, it’s been a joyous and a rewarding experience.  18 remarkable people, hungry for knowledge, hungry for opportunity and united in their determination to get their voices heard.

STAY group 2013 (2)

In this last week, we did a session on Developing Projects, bringing all the innovation process tools into play, and then on the last day we did Fundraising, using their group projects from the previous day as the basis for doing a funding application – learning by doing!  Developing Projects was intense – the three groups were given the same brief to devise a solution and pitch it – after feedback from the other two groups, they pitched again the next morning and the difference in all three was dramatic!  One group, who wanted to use Forum Theatre and FlashMob as tools, even did their presentation as a version of FlashMob which got everyone hooting and cheering! (Reminded me of the time when CidaCo pitched to Yorkshire Forward with a short but effective little ‘play’ – and amazingly we won the contract!)

We had some great speakers – Ken George, filmmaker; Shanaz Gulzar, artist; Balbir Singh, choreographer; and Susan Pitter, PR – all speaking from the heart, talking of their own experiences and how they built their own careers, full of wisdom which they shared most generously, in the time honoured style of our sector – a characteristic of this sector which insufficiently remarked upon –

Proud to say that, at the end, very unexpectedly, they presented me with a wonderful present – flowers, notebook but, most valuable of all, a little book in which each had written a page to tell me what the course had meant to them individually – don’t want to get soppy about this but…………..!

Sustained Theatre is a remarkable initiative with the potential to do really good and necessary things – the group were extraordinary: intense, passionate, committed, obsessed by their artform and their work – many of them had been working for some time – only one was a new practitioner – and they loved every minute of the course – I hope they all go from strength to strength but I also hope they pass on the word – Sustained Theatre can only be as good as the services it offers, and, to offer them, it needs to know you want them – join your regional branch now!

Anamaria Wills