From April 2023 we are launching our new way of working. This blog is written by Ned Glasier who we collaborated with last year.
In January 2022 I took a six-month break from my work at Company Three, the first time I had stepped away since I started the company in 2008. It felt like a very important thing to do – and I have felt its benefits since returning to C3 last summer.
One of the best parts of stepping away was the chance to work as a consultant for other arts companies. You learn so much from going in and supporting other people and processes – about work, about the industry and about yourself. Of all the places I supported, I learnt most from Brighton People’s Theatre.
As soon as I started talking to the staff, participants and trustees at BPT, I noticed that they used one word more than any other. They talked about it in meetings, in workshops and in reports. They lived it – in their workshops, their shows and the way they ran their organisation. In some ways, they used it so much that they hadn’t noticed it as much as they should have. It was so much a part of their work as to have become invisible, almost.
The word was ‘together’.
All I needed to do was to help them notice how important togetherness was in their work. And to be courageous in embracing it as the bold, singular purpose of their company. We started to understand, together, how exciting it was to be led by a single, simple idea – a word – and also how much complexity and nuance you could find within it. Because there are so many ways you can be together. So many actions that an organisation might do to make it possible. So many ideas about who and how and what and why.
At the heart of BPT’s commitment to togetherness are the stories of the people who are involved in the company. One very important person is Naomi – who understands access and equity on both a theoretical level and deep in her bones, her history. It is the also simple idea that the arts should belong to everyone that roots the togetherness that BPT brings to its local community.
As soon as we identified the importance of togetherness to BPT’s work, it was a beautiful thing to see how quickly the company moved to absorb it, to bring it back to the centre of its vision. They moved as only a community company can – with determination, speed and grace. Listening to them do this, with so much thought, kindness and consideration for their many stakeholders, was a moving and educative experience for me. It made me reflect on the idea of togetherness in my own work and in the arts world more generally. It was a special thing to witness and to breathe in.
To read more about our new way of working, take a look at our new three-year business plan. Click the image below to download it. You can read our business plan in grayscale if you would prefer.