Are the arts in a rut? How much of an impact will Local Authority and Arts Council funding cuts have on organisations? Is it right or wrong that you should be expected to work for free and what rights do you have to protect you as an individual? Is enough being done to support actors with mental health and anxiety issues? Is amateur, community or youth dirty words?

Following the success of the Bath Theatre Matters Conference 2013, Theatre Bath is back with 2014’s Breaking Boundaries Conference, Conversations on Innovating and Evolving the Arts. This exciting two day event runs at the Old Theatre Royal, Orchard Street on Saturday 11th – Sunday 12th October 10am – 4pm.

Saturday 11th October features a fantastic line up of local and national speakers all of whom are experts on the issues they are addressing. The keynote speakers will pose questions and shake up opinions on recent and on-going issues within the arts. This will then lead to further discussions with everyone in the room getting involved in debating, sharing opinions and creating potential solutions moving forward.

Oliver Jones, Director of Creativity Works and Associate Director of Trestle Theatre Company who will be discussing how mental health affects those working in the arts says of the conference,

‘The Breaking Boundaries Conference is an incredibly exciting event as it does not shy away from tackling some of the more hidden or hard to talk about issues affecting the arts and artists today. Mental Health is an illness prevalent in today’s society, and its impact is so often disregarded in our industry as a natural bi-product of the insecurity, competitiveness, and creative profoundness that we experience. It is incredibly important that we start to talk about these matters. Breaking Boundaries is brave, and it is vital, in offering a forum to debate and discuss these topics.’

Jill Bennett who works on Theatre Royal Bath’s Engage Programme will be addressing the idea of whether Amateur is seen as a dirty word.

‘The word ‘Amateur’ comes from the Latin word for ‘Love’. A love of theatre is about so much more than just a love of plays. I will be talking about how my childhood in an am-dram family led me to a lifelong career in community theatre’

Also, joining the conversation on Saturday is Catherine Comerford from The Stage Newspaper, speaking about the Arts & Minds Initiative that has launched this year, alongside Dr Carol Chapman, the lead consultant from the British Association for Performing Arts Medicine who will address the issue of mental health in the arts. Equity’s Emmanuel de Lange will be attending to discuss the consequence of Low Pay No Pay in the arts sector. And Andy Burden, Director of the Natural Theatre Company will be debating the negative connotations to amateur, youth and community theatre; Andy’s interactive, lively speech at last year’s conference was a favourite of many.

Saturday of the Breaking Boundaries Conference will feature performances throughout the day from the Natural Theatre Company, Bath Dance College, and local performance poets Toby Thompson and Janey Mcleod. For this is, after all, a theatrical affair.

Sunday 12th October will be an Open Space event where you provide the questions. Open Space events have been hugely popular across the world and this will be the first of its kind in Bath. The focus is on you. You pose the questions. The day is what you want to talk about. What issues, opinions or questions you want to bring to the conversation.

Zoe Bailey, Associate Director of Theatre Bath, says ‘We at Theatre Bath are delighted to have made Open Space a part of the Theatre Bath Breaking Boundaries Conference. We wanted to create an approachable yet dynamic event that anyone with an interest in the Arts could get involved with. Breaking Boundaries is giving everyone the chance to initiate change and open up discussions in Bath’

Luke John Emmett, Creative Director of Theatre Bath says

‘The Theatre Bath team have been working extremely hard behind the scenes to make this conference happen. From the outset we were very keen to bring an event to Bath which had high quality speakers but also covered topics which would be relevant to local and national organisations. We are very lucky to have such great support from the local community and also national organisations such as Equity, The Arts Council, the British Association for Performing Arts Medicine and UK Theatre. We are very excited about this conference and the quality and range of speakers that have agreed to attend.’

The Breaking Boundaries Conference will tear down recent and on-going issues that have held back the arts and inspire new ways to move forward and make the arts stronger than ever.

Theatre Bath would like to thank Arts Council England and Bath and North East Somerset Council for their support in funding this event.

Theatre Bath, Breaking Boundaries Conference; Conversations on Innovating and Evolving the Arts at the Old Theatre Royal on Orchard Street Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th October 2014. Tickets available from

More information can be found on the Breaking Boundaries Website:


We kindly acknowledge the support of:

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