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FTH Theatre: Theatre Company Residency

FTH Theatre: Theatre Company Residency

Project Brief

 

Introduction

FTH Theatre has been awarded funding through the Creative Scotland Performing Arts Venues Relief Fund to support the re-opening and re-establishment of the venue.

We are seeking a professional performing arts company to work with our resources at FTH Theatre and our audiences in Falkirk to develop imaginative ways to re-engage audiences and to create a new piece of work. The company would be ‘resident’ at FTH Theatre from March 2022 (timescale to be agreed). At this stage we envisage the company as experienced in producing work for children and/or young people.

Project Brief

A part of our long-term aspirations for audience development at FTH Theatre has been to support the development and commissioning of new work. The absence of a regular theatre programme for the past two years and a review of our programming policy provides the opportunity to explore this in practice.

We will make studio space available for the selected company to develop concepts and outlines for new work that is appropriate for Falkirk’s demographic (central Scotland, post-industrial, expanding population, young families). We would also wish the work to be appealing to the general age range which it is aimed at and as such the created work will have scope to tour. As part of this process, ourselves and the company would undertake research with a proportion of our audiences to test ideas and approaches using a variety of explorative techniques.

We are acutely aware that, during the COVID-19 pandemic, theatre across Scotland has changed dramatically and companies have adapted by connecting digitally to existing and new audiences. While this has encouraged innovation, we are certain that theatre companies across Scotland are keen to reconnect with audiences in real time.

Here in Falkirk, we endeavoured to retain online contact with our audiences during lockdown/ theatre closure but as the majority our Culture team were on furlough, it was difficult to manage the consistency of this. As Scottish Government guidelines eased earlier this year we have started the process of re-opening FTH Theatre. In August 2021, we announced that we would be presenting our pantomime and that, the small number of shows that we had rescheduled from 2020 to autumn 2021 would being going ahead. Our audience response to this, to date, has been very positive but we are aware that there is much to be done to re-establish the venue to the operating and financial capacity that we were pre-pandemic.

We are confident that this theatre residency has the potential to rebuild relationships in an imaginative way with customers and audiences who have not been in FTH Theatre for some time as well as informing the creation of theatre that is both relevant and appealing to them once they choose to return. We envisage the residency as also having the scope to make new connections with potential audiences.

Background

FTH Theatre is the only major, purpose-built theatre/ performing arts venue in the Falkirk Council area. Our programme serves a community of c.160k residents across a mixed demographic

Historically the venue has a professional programme running Thursday – Sunday with the option for Monday, Wednesday content also. It includes a balanced mix of professional music (including classical, folk, jazz and rock/pop); theatre; comedy; shows for children; entertainment and pantomime. The area’s voluntary arts sector also present their annual productions – musical theatre, theatre and dance at FTH.

Our audiences reflect the area’s demographic and its history of theatre-going. Increasingly, we are working to present programmes that both attract new audiences and stretch the expectations of our existing audiences.

The Performing Arts Venues Relief Fund provides us with a window of support through which we can begin to re-connect with our audiences through imaginative and engaging approaches. We are keen to find new ways of animating the physical space as well as further developing our online engagement to ensure continued connectivity with both audiences and the theatre sector.

Budget

The budget for the project is £20,000.

We anticipate the major part of this will be allocated to the theatre company’s costs. At this stage, we envisage the theatre company would bring an Artistic Director, a Writer/ Dramaturg and 2 x performers, with prior experience of socially engaged theatre practice, to the project. The staffing structure is not set in stone and should not deter any applicants with an alternative staffing structure in their proposal. Their work would be a combination of activity in outreach settings (as well as the theatre) that initiate creative conversations with communities and audiences alongside detailed research (through working with the wider FCT Culture team and other stakeholders) of the area's cultural aspirations.

We are simultaneously recruiting for a freelance theatre marketing specialist to work with us on our aspirations for FTH Theatre audience development. Both this role and the theatre company will work closely in partnership with FTH Theatre and marketing staff. There will be a coordinated approach to audience engagement drawn out through the creative skills of the theatre company and the insights of the marketing specialist combined. This post will be funded separately.

The theatre company will have access to and use of, FTH Theatre space supported by Arts Development Officer (Performing Arts), 3 x Technicians and venues staff. Marketing and design support will also be provided by FCT Marketing team.

We are keen to work with the selected company on the allocation and development of the project budget and will discuss this at interview stage.

Application process

Companies interested in applying for this engagement should submit an initial proposal outlining their interest in the residency.

The proposal should include

  • information about the company
  • their interest in this particular opportunity and working in the Falkirk area/ with FTH Theatre and how they anticipate the residency contributing to the development of the company
  • their expectations of FTH Theatre as the residency host
  • an indication of how they plan to resource the residency and their initial considerations on budget allocation
  • contact details for two references

The proposal should be submitted no later than 5pm on Monday 31 January 2022 to hello@falkirkcommunitytrust.org. Emails should be headed FTH Theatre Residency Application

Interviews will take place during the week beginning Monday 14 February 2022.

Further Information

If you require any further information or would like to discuss this opportunity informally, please contact Hazel Beattie, Arts Development Officer (Performing Arts) hazel.beattie@falkirkcommunitytrust.org

FTH Theatre is programmed and managed by Falkirk Community Trust Culture team.

Falkirk Community Trust is a company limited by guarantee with charitable status. It was established by Falkirk Council in 2011 to take on responsibility for the management and operation of a range of community facing sport, recreation, arts, heritage and library services.

As a not for profit organisation, Falkirk Community Trust strives to support community aspirations, deliver inspiring and valued services and ensure that the experiences we offer provide equality of opportunity and access for all.

Falkirk Community Trust is a charity registered in Scotland, No: SC042403

In January 2021, Falkirk Council decided to resume management of services currently delivered by Falkirk Community Trust from 1 April 2022. Whilst it is expected that this should have minimal impact on the development and delivery of the theatre residency it should be noted that the final part of the contract will be delivered as Falkirk Council, not Falkirk Community Trust.

Falkirk Council and Falkirk Community Trust are committed to making Falkirk the place to be - where everyone can fulfil their potential, as stated in the Council’s Corporate Plan and the Trust’s Culture and Sport Strategy for the Falkirk Area – Inspiring Active Lives

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