NEW BLOG from our Head of Culture, Amanda O’Reilly …
This weekend I went to the Out There street arts and circus festival in Great Yarmouth as part of the Coasters Arts Council funded project and whist the professional Xtrax conference element was fantastic, torrential rain meant many of the events in the park simply couldn’t go ahead.
I have been considering a series of outside events on the Saturdays throughout August in Worthing for 2018 but I have to be honest, this experience initially made me somewhat nervous. The weather is out of our control and the companies would still need to be paid. Luckily the very long train ride home gave me time to think about the work I had seen which was inspiring, colourful and great fun.
In August we hosted Vertical Dance Company performing on the side of Grafton Car Park with an audience of close to 1200 people watching from the prom (plus a few on the passing double decker buses).
The response was fantastic and most interesting for us these were not people who necessarily attend the Theatres. Free outside entertainment is literally open to all and is an incredible opportunity to develop an entirely new audience.
Our Circus programme has been extremely popular over the last three years and we have grown the audience at an exceptional speed. But a large percentage of those audiences have crossed over from another genre of our programming or have moved from Brighton and are now enjoying the local cultural offer. Street Arts and outside circus performances give us a chance to really intergrate with our community in a new way and after all, people are the reason we do everything we do.
So we will be brave and seek the funding to put on free, outside events throughout August 2018. I have learnt a few lessons: firstly we can estimate a start time but must be willing to fit in with the weather on the day; we must make sure the performers have somewhere warm and dry to change and eat; and lastly don’t go to Great Yarmouth in just a leather jacket, you will end up spending a fortune on water proofs!
We are very lucky, if sunny Worthing really lets us down and we have an August day with continuous rain – we can clear the Pavilion and bring the performance under cover. But let’s not be pessimistic, let’s dream of long, hot summer days full of acrobats, jugglers and clowns.