| Niamh Hicks

Thank You to Arts Council England

Recently at Brighton People’s Theatre we celebrated our third birthday. Sadly lockdown celebrations have been limited to two dimensional, head to waist, images on Zoom. Whilst our images might be suspended in the digital sphere, we haven’t suspended what we do. As a company, we have taken a programme of live theatre workshops and adapted them into an online offer. We’re incredibly grateful to our funders for their support in enabling us to adapt our work. We’re learning loads and there is unexpected value in moving theatre workshops online. We’ll share our learning and how it has changed us as an organisation at a future date but you can follow some activities on our blog here.

If we hadn’t been hit by a public health crisis, we would also have spent the last couple of months fundraising for next year’s activities and developing our organisation. We had no idea we would have to refocus our efforts on our survival, and adapting our offer, rather than our growth at this point. Last week we heard we had been awarded Emergency Funding from Arts Council England (ACE), and we have a small window of opportunity to breathe, regroup and plan with communities we work with across the City.

We are incredibly grateful for ACE’s support; this is a global crisis yet not all countries have public funding for arts and culture. We really appreciate the leadership ACE has shown over the last couple of months and hope it is recognised for this with further support from the Government.

It’s not easy for anyone. There are a lot more challenges ahead but over the next few months we believe we need to:

  • ensure the voices of residents inform the shape of the local arts and cultural offer in the future
  • share what we’re learning through our online creative offer and learn from others
  • advocate for support for our local and national creative community
  • collaborate, rather than compete, with others to stretch our resources and impact

We are therefore committed to supporting the re-imagining and re-igniting of the cultural offer for residents and visitors in Brighton and Hove. We will work with other companies and communities through platforms like the Arts & Creative Industries Commission and What Next? Brighton & Hove Chapter to help shape ideas and plans. With our voluntary sector partners, we will continue to build connections in traditionally underrepresented communities in our City and listen to those communities who are adversely affected by the impact of COVID-19.

We’re project funded so we still need to fundraise to build a permanent team and to deliver our three areas of activities in 2021:

Behind the Stage doors

Offering workshops and experiences to increase a love and knowledge of theatre across our community. From hands-on theatre-making workshops to pizza and a play lunchtime readings.

Taking Centre Stage

Our Productions place relevant, contemporary true stories co-created with communities at the centre of theatre production in Brighton and beyond

Smoke and Mirrors

Our research aims to discover and share more about the relationships held with contemporary culture by those with low socio-economic backgrounds.

We are very grateful for all the support we have received over the last three years and want to thank every individual and organisation that has helped us, there are too many to list but hats off to you all. Let’s keep talking and collaborating.

Thank you again to Arts Council England and all the National Lottery players who made our grant possible. We don’t know what the future will hold, or when venues will reopen, or when we can run workshops in person, but we know along the way there will be laughter, cups of tea and stories to share…..and probably a large number of funding proposals. What’s the Euro millions jackpot this week? Is it worth a punt?