Hi everyone, it’s Stephie here, the other plug! I thought it was about time I stepped in and introduced myself – not to mention the fact that Matt does seem to have gotten a little addicted to blogging. He is thorough though, I’ll give him that, and has covered all our adventures. So I thought I would post something a little different today. We’ve just sent out our first press release, and it got me thinking about what it is exactly about the Plugged In project that is so important.
Just as a recap, in a nutshell, Plugged In gives local communities the chance to hand pick the shows they want to see in their local theatre. Whether that be, music, theatre, contemporary dance, children’s theatre or magic, if I can find it, they can programme it. So far my favourite part of this project has been the conversations with people and not just because I am a chatterbox. Initially when we approach a group, the conversation can be a bit hesitant, I think they may think that we are looking for them to give us the right answer. There is no right answer, or wrong answer, and once we get going it is so interesting to hear peoples opinions on their area, their venue, and what art and theatre means to them. I’m yet to meet a group who have no opinion whatsoever.
People may start off telling you that theatre isn’t for them, or that they aren’t into art, but ten minutes later you’ll find that they are passionate about murder mysteries or historical novels or have an unexpected talent for Origami. They might not be interested in theatre as a stand alone art form but they would love to see Agatha Christie on stage, or a historical retelling of the life of Anne Boleyn, or even to just come along to see how an entire set was crafted from paper.
Part of the reason this project exists is because Pennine Lancashire is seen as an area of low engagement. That means, statistically people aren’t getting involved with the arts. But after three months of working on this project I can’t help but feel it might be that the arts aren’t getting involved with people. We meet with a lot of groups who are already in some way shape or form engaging with art, whether that be through cake decorating or painting. People in Pennine Lancashire are taking it upon themselves to make, create and appreciate art, they just aren’t necessarily doing these things in your traditional arty places, like our theatres.
My biggest hope for this project is that by having these conversations with people, and finding out not only what show they would like to see but also about individual artistic interests we can gradually get people to see our theatres and venues as places for them.
What do you think? What area of art are you interested in?