By Zoe Bailey
‘I loved the focus of collaboration between the different art forms and regions. Fantastic breadth of representation from all aspects of the Arts and approaches to Bridging the Gaps’. Feedback from Bridging the Gaps.
The Theatre Bath conference has established itself as the place to be. A place to be inspired, ask questions, further ideas and build new creative partnerships. Bridging the Gaps, Theatre Bath’s third annual conference took place on 27th October at the Natural Theatre Company Studios. It featured a variety of speakers from a range of art forms and regions; including Chloe Elwood: Executive Producer at Bristol Old Vic, Hamida Ali the Equalities and Diversity Officer for Equity, Lisa Lort: Creative Producer Bath Dance and Kirsty Hoyle Founder of Include Arts.
‘I liked the accessibility and inclusion, informality and professionalism, plus the wide range of speakers.’ Feedback from Bridging the Gaps.
Hosted by favourite local comedian Jon Monie, The Bridging the Gaps conference began with a rousing performance from Brian Madigan ‘A Band Named Brian’ during which the entire room joined him in a song.
Hamida Ali the Equalities and Diversity Officer for Equity began the conversation of equality in the arts, stating that we ‘want to improve equality across the board, whether that be in reference to audience or casting’ and emphasised the need to ‘make sure these issues [of equality] are in the forefront of people’s minds, not an afterthought.’
Clare Macnaughton, Founding Partner of Juno Theatre spoke about the gender equality within the arts addressing the issues facing men and women in this industry. Alison Farina Artistic Director of Butterfly Psyche and Kirsty Hoyle Founder of Include Arts discussed accessibility and how we can create performances and venues with a greater focus on accessibility. Kirsty Hoyle spoke about relaxed performances where ‘your needs come first, no one is going to tut at your for making a noise’ and the fact that ‘these are exciting new audiences we are dealing with…we are disabling those with impairments by not being accessible to all’. The floor was then opened up so those attending could discuss their experiences and opinions on equality in the arts, and get advice from the panel of experts.
— Natalie Remington (@Natmakesdreams) October 27, 2015
An innovative and exciting dance performance from professional dancer Dan Martin: co-ordinator of B&NES Youth Dance Company had everyone throwing some shapes. The next slice of Bridging the Gaps focussed on building partnerships with different art forms and different regions. Luke John Emmett: Creative Director of Theatre Bath, Chloe Elwood: Executive Producer Bristol Old Vic and Tracy Sullivan: Director of Trowbridge Arts discussed their experiences of the arts in their area and how they have been inspired by them. Tracy Sullivan stated ‘everyone can see the amazing work and opportunities that the arts does’. In reference to partnerships Chloe Elwood enthused ‘we need to function more as a hub of the arts rather than as stand-alone individuals’. Luke John Emmett ended his encouraging speech with the conference tagline ‘together we can’. A positive and passionate discussion ensued regarding how we can create partnerships, share opportunities and better support each other.
‘Excellent joining of all the creative industries, people within the area, greatly energising’ Feedback from Bridging the Gaps.
Jane McLeod: Spoken Word Artist wowed the audience with her performance poetry, including a poem written especially for the Bridging the Gaps conference. The final segment of the event centred on the future of the arts in Bath and featured representatives from a variety of local organisations; including David Metcalfe: Co-Chair of the Cultural Forum for the Bath Area and Penny Hay: 5x5x5=creativity and Child Friendly Bath, Lisa Lort: Creative Producer of Bath Dance and Kerry Irvine an Independent Theatre Producer and Director of TheatreLab.
Zoe Bailey Associate Director of Theatre Bath
‘We are delighted with the support and enthusiasm for the Bridging the Gaps conference, I am excited to see more of the inspiring ideas that have come from this event.’
Luke John Emmett Creative Director of Theatre Bath
“It’s truly inspiring and humbling to know that so many other people share the same values and beliefs about the arts as we do here at Theatre Bath. The room was buzzing with positivity and amazing ideas. If we can carry on working together there is nothing that we can’t achieve.”
‘Thank you for an excellent day’ Feedback from Bridging the Gaps.
‘Always feel so excited and inspired after Theatre Bath’s conferences! Thanks for having us and putting on a great day’ Feedback from Bridging the Gaps.
Videos from the conference can now be view online here:
Bridging the Gaps conference was sponsored by Technical Hire Limited.
Theatre Bath gratefully acknowledges the support of Bath and North East Somerset Council.
For further info, keynote speeches, videos and photos visit: www.conference.theatrebath.co.uk
Photography by Owen Benson Visuals.