EPAD Cultural Support

October 2, 2015 | By More

New scheme supports Edinburgh’s performing arts

A new scheme to support and benefit those working within the performing arts in Edinburgh has been set up by consultant Lucy Mason and director Nick Bone.

The new project, Edinburgh Performing Arts Development – EPAD – is specifically aimed at independent performing arts companies and artists. It has grown out of a report by Mason into how such Edinburgh-based companies and artists could be helped.

Desire Lines report cover

Desire Lines report cover

The objectives appear to chime with aspirations expressed in the recent Desire Lines report. The project is will continue until July 2016 and will work on three separate but not unrelated areas: spaces, support and networking.

Mason told Æ that she and Bone will act as researchers, consultants, facilitators and brokers: “Our aim is to create a performing arts community in Edinburgh that thrives on being connected, confident and democratic.”

They will look at what available arts spaces there are in the city – both currently in-use and dormant – and create a database of such relevant requirements as storage, office, rehearsal and performance spaces.

The support strand will initiate relationships so that the city’s more experienced performing arts producers and practitioners will be able to support those with less experience, or who are working independently and have less access to resources.

Edinburgh Performing Arts Network

The networking elements will facilitate meetings of the Edinburgh Performing Arts Network and other groupings of producers and practitioners, with the aim of achieving a sense of a cohesive, sharing and informed community.

The first networking event, from 10.30am to 1pm on Saturday 3 October 2015 at the City Art Centre, will reveal more about the project and how to get involved.

The support element of the project appears to be very relevant to many of Edinburgh’s grassroots theatre companies and practitioners. We asked Lucy Mason some questions about the project, who could get involved and what they might get out of it.

How do you define people/companies who are eligible?

“We hope that the project as a whole will benefit all those who work within the performing arts and who are based in Edinburgh. We are hoping to engage with people and organisations from the largest cultural organisations to the newest emerging independent artists and everyone in between.”

Who are you looking to attract to the scheme?

“For the Support strand of the project, our aim is to share the expertise of those who are based within the city’s more established cultural organisations with those who are working independently. We will also be drawing on the expertise of the freelance arts managers who are based in the city.

“Our plan is to create a database of knowledge and experience that we can call on which covers areas such as producing, management, fund-raising, marketing, technical, creative and finance.

“We are just as interested in supporting those fresh out of college as those who have been practitioners for many years but who may still lack the benefit of a secure producing framework.

What can people/companies get out of it?

“Support will offer those working independently a connection with an industry colleague who can provide a response to a particular issue, question or challenge – artistic or administrative. The response could be in the form of a one-off advisory session or the commitment to a specific and time-limited piece of work. The advice and feedback they receive will be at no cost to the artist.

“For those based within organisations, we hope to create a wider network of contacts and an appreciation of the different ways in which people are working across the city.
We anticipate the benefit will work both ways, with those based in larger or more established organisations also learning from those who work independently.”

If someone thinks that they are eligible and they might be able to benefit from the scheme, how do they get involved?

“From 5 October 2015 people will be able to sign up for an initial ‘surgery’ with Nicholas Bone and Lucy Mason. Nicholas and Lucy will then match individuals with someone able to offer a response.  These surgeries will take place on a monthly basis between October 2015 and May 2016. It may take us a while to meet with everyone who gets in touch, but over the course of the 7/8 months we hope to set something up which makes a real difference to the city’s sense of itself as a legitimate, year-round home for the creation, presentation and support of the performing arts.”

Further details and how to register to be on the mailing list are at: http://www.masonbone.co.uk/edinburgh-performing-arts-development/.

You can download Lucy Mason’s report in PDF format here:

Pilot Project – Final Report.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [365.3 KB]

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