A hub for the East and West Midlands’ independent theatre sector.
After six baffling, bruising months, it’s hardly surprising that so many people, from the Prime Minister down, desperately want us to return to a sense of normality. Even the reflexive go-to phrase – “the new normal” – hints at our need to cling onto something that is familiar. There’s a powerful pull to re-establish roles, rules and routines which we can all understand. And a real temptation to fall back into doing things the way we’ve always done them because… that’s just the way we’ve always done them.
As we tentatively emerge from lockdown – or, depending which bit of the Midlands you’re in, teeter on the edge of going back into it again – there’s only one real certainty left. It’ll be a long time before our sector looks anything like it used to – and being realistic, perhaps it never will.
But what if we didn’t have to search or settle for that “new normal” as a means of making the best of this horrible situation? What if we actively looked for better and more hopeful ways of approaching the challenges that lie ahead? Instead of slavishly trying to recreate things exactly how they were, what if this were the moment to lay our Lego bricks out on the carpet and to let our imaginations build something dramatically different?
Over the next eight weeks, through a series of articles, interviews, guest editorials and much more, we’ll be pondering what this landscape could look like and highlighting some of the brilliant initiatives that are already starting to take shape. And this isn’t just about us telling you what other people think – we also want to hear from you, too, through polls, comment threads and original posts. Your regional sector needs you – so what are you going to do to help reactivate it?
EASTIES & WESTIES UNITE!
East Meets West encourages collaboration between and within the East and West Midlands’ independent theatre communities.
Mobilising everyone* in the sector no matter what their role, we’re helping to create a more democratic, transparent and efficient community. East Meets West revolves around an online Hub and is driven by peer-to-peer support. Our members are collaborators rather than competitors, working together to do their very best for audiences across the region.
We are funded by Arts Council England, supported by venues throughout the Midlands, and curated by Birmingham-based theatre company Little Earthquake (aka Team Quake).
(* Psss! Yes we support artists, but it’s about time others working in the sector got a bit of love too, right?)
“We are all unique in our offer to audiences, but together we are stronger.”
Artistic Director of Midlands Arts Centre
speaking at the 2017 Symposium
IT’S ALL HAPPENING
ON THE HUB
At the very heart of the East Meets West is your new community hub. It’s an online space where you can meet your sector soulmates, share knowledge and ask for help. With beautiful profiles, a community events diary, dynamic activity feeds and messaging, it’s time to take the work out of networking.
The Hub is free to join, and entirely private. Only other members of the Hub can see your profile and posts. You can access the Hub on the web, and there’s also an App for iOS and Android.
“East Meets West was a fantastic opportunity for me as an Artistic Director of a venue to get to hear the key issues for companies in our region.”
Artistic Director of Derby Theatre
on the 2017 Symposium
EAST MEETS WEST’S SUPPORTERS
Arts Council England has made a huge contribution to this phase of East Meets West’s development, not just in terms of a substantial funding award but also through working with us to strengthen the reach, impact and future life of the network.
We’ve got two amazing Core Partners this year whose generosity, enthusiasm and commitment are indispensable. Very appropriately, there’s a wonderful Westie — Debbie Kermode at mac birmingham — and an exquisite Eastie — John Kirby at Attenborough Arts Centre in Leicester.
Alongside them, we have a growing number of Supporting Partners — venues, organisations and individuals who are joining forces with us to pull the regional independent theatre community together ever more tightly.
More than anything, East Meets West is kept alive by you — the members of the network who use it, contribute to it and invite their colleagues to be part of it. Thank you!
SAY HELLO TO TEAM QUAKE
East Meets West is curated by Little Earthquake (aka Team Quake) as part of our wider activities.
Founded in 2005, we’re a Birmingham-based theatre company led by Co-Directors Gareth Nicholls and Philip Holyman, and produced by Zoë Roberts.
“Thou Shalt Not Bore” is our only commandment.