As the year comes to an end the Farnham Maltings theatre team share their highlights from 2018.
Getting Brilliance to shine. Having toured the piece last year I was determined that we should find a version that felt like ‘our’ production. And I think we largely did that. The other thing would be that I think that house is starting a new stage in its evolution. The dance pilot and inclusive training are both happening because we now have a regional ecology that didn’t exist before we started working on it. I think there is so much potential to do things better and differently at a time when things are only going to get harder.
Gavin Stride, Director
My highlights from 2018…a hugely successful caravan showcase in May as part of the Brighton Festival, seeing the first cohort of students to graduate from the University of the Creative Arts Acting and Performance degree that we support, successful applications from Esmee Fairbairn and the Rothschild Foundation to support big new projects connecting artists and audiences and finally Little Bulb’s Orpheus returning to Battersea Arts Centre was a real treat.
Fiona Baxter, Deputy Director, Arts
My 2018 highlights are attending caravan for the first time with 60 delegates from across all 7 continents, working with our international associates Bertrand and Nasi, Rachel Lincoln & Anna Beecher and Still House, launching new professional development and exchange programmes – new internationalists and New Conversations and visiting a remote village in China as part of our ongoing partnership with Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre.
Hannah Slimmon, International Producer
My highlights for 2018 include an exciting year for the theatre and family programme which saw a significant increase in audience and a large number of exciting companies performing at the venue for the first time, working with wonderful artists on exciting projects from Victoria Melody’s tour of Ugly Chief to plotting new ideas with Bucket Club and welcoming new faces such as Flintlock Theatre into the FM family and a series of vibrant Pitch Up events connecting venues and artists at the beginnings of new ideas.
Laura Woodward, Producer
Without the fantastic venue network, this year wouldn’t have been the success it was. I continue to be blown away by the passion of the individuals we work with, especially at The Woodville in Gravesend, who went to town promoting health and wellbeing for their upcoming house show Super Happy Story (About Feeling Super Sad); the Electric Theatre, who continue to create a dynamic programme for growing audiences; and Glassbox Theatre (formerly MidKent), who are at the start of an exciting new journey. And that’s not to mention every other venue who has continued to support the development of theatre through networking, programming and just being good eggs.
Steph Richardson, house General Manager
Highlights …..Working with the Sandy Hill Detached Youth Project (SHDYP) as part of Spark 2018 where young people painted the exterior of their Hut making it a place that nurtured a sense of pride across the young people and the community. Relationship with SHDYP and Farnham Maltings has influenced continued working 2019. Dance in the Meadow 2018 – a highly successful event which saw over 200 performers take to the stage offering diversity and quality raising the profile and value of dance. The Big Give Christmas Challenge Campaign – a chance for Farnham Maltings to work across departments to successfully fundraise for Spark community outreach projects.
Emma Jones, Participation Producer
Throughout 2018 I’m delighted to say that the rural touring network of community venues and promoters has continued to grow most notably in the South East region. This is testimony to our commitment to widen the network beyond our home county of Surrey to include neighbouring counties, especially with a renewed focus on Oxfordshire. Similarly the variety of type and size of spaces that we perform in never fails to amaze me – a skittle alley in Somerset being the latest! My 2018 highs have to include the 35 date tour of Brilliance which ‘sparked’ some of the best feedback we’ve ever had and the forthcoming 22 date tour of Title & Deed which is our first solo show I think we’ve ever made.
Janice Brittain, Rural Touring Coordinator
This year I’ve particularly enjoyed watching how house gently drops a pebble into water and watches the ensuing ripple effect. By enabling fruitful conversations between artists and venues at Pitch Up, programmers at festivals, venues at network days, artists and their audiences at performances of house shows, all sorts of creative relationships have emerged. In 2018 house has laid the groundwork for two exciting projects on audience development and dance programming – I hope to reflect on their huge success in a year’s time.
Emma Gosden, house Marketing Manager
A particular highlight was facilitating for a group of 40+ venue programmers to spend a week at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe where they see such a wide range of performances with their peer group that goes on to inform the next year’s programming and audience development. As a small team, we get to work with a wide range of dynamic individuals, organisations and companies to make memorable experiences happen for audiences throughout the South East. In these trying times, it’s more important than ever to realise the power of shared live experience and good storytelling.
Mark Makin, touring associate, house
The success of both Brave Folk and Brilliance this year along with the buzz surrounding the up and coming tour of Title & Deed. It was lovely to work so closely with promoters who are enthusiastic and passionate about bringing our rural touring shows to their venues. Being involved in caravan 2018 – a lot of hard work but a wonderful experience.
Jane Dunningham, Theatre Administrator
Starting my role in January and now finishing in December this year has been full of highlights for myself. From our three day caravan event, Creating Inclusive Environments & Experiences training days, both rural touring shows Brave Folk and Brilliance, the No Strings Attached grant scheme and Little Bulbs’ Orpheus. The biggest highlight of them all however is getting to be part of the wonderful Farnham Maltings team, working with such wonderful and talented arts professionals who I hope to have the pleasure of working with again in the future.
Jennifer Murphy, Theatre Administrator