It’s been a good week at WildWorks! Our application to Arts Council England for Small Scale Capital has been successful.
Quite often capital funding means buildings. We create theatre in real landscapes, for and with the people of those landscapes, and not in theatres. This means we cannot rely on the basic structures that usual venues provide.
In the woods, a castle, or a harbour, there are no lighting structures or sound installations, there is no community rehearsal space. For each project we create a theatre from scratch including backstage spaces, dressing rooms, communication systems, an office, the list goes on. Previously the majority of this is hired in equipment and necessity demands that the cost of this be included in the production budget for each project. This funding means we can create and own a sustainable and environmentally light-touch portable ‘theatre’ facility.
Phil Gibby, Area Director, South West, Arts Council England, said: ‘At a challenging time for funding in the sector, it is vital that organisations look at ways of improving their resilience and making the most of every opportunity. We are delighted to be supporting WILDWORKS to buy the equipment they need to effectively create a mobile outdoor theatre through our Capital programme so they can continue to create their innovative and exciting work in the most cost effective and sustainable way.’
In addition to some basics, i.e. tents and transportation, we have been exploring and testing equipment for the last couple of years. In our production of Wolf’s Child in 2015 we used a completely wireless sound system and a lot of wireless lighting. This meant we were less dependent on generator power, which is not only better for the environment but the magic of being immersed, lost in the woods, wasn’t broken by the rhythmic chugging away in the background that generators can produce. We were working in a SSSI so not running sound cables everywhere worked better for all concerned (especially the trees!). The actors wore speakers cleverly hidden within their costumes and the singers pulled their sound systems in shopping trolleys again disguised by props.
We played with these new techniques during research and design workshops over the last few years, sharing our ideas and testing methodologies with the bright new talent form National Youth Theatre and University Falmouth. We will now own the equipment to continue to explore this way of working, sharing and teaching of techniques with other organisations and the next generation of theatre makers.
Bill has said ‘We are delighted to be receiving capital funding from Arts Council England to develop our portable ‘landscape theatre’. This support will enable us to confidently take the work to a new level, as well as support peers to make work in this way’.
We’re all excited. We’re going shopping! 😉