Edinburgh Festival Feed

Equity@Edinburgh 2009: Your voice, Your chance

Equity@EdinburghEquity is in Edinburgh from Aug 24 - 29...The Facebook group

The most important session for practitioners to influence their sector is on 27/08/09 Working in Independent Theatre – the Essentials - 1400-1600 Free (ticketed) at Festival Theatre, 13-19 Nicholson Street (venue 244).

Sadly it will be the least well attended. Social Media has no visibility in the ITC (Independent Theatre Council) contract or the Fringe contract at present I would like to see that change.

For example
  • Enabling audiences to share and promote our productions with targeted material.
  • Payments for Live Streamed performances.
  • Guidelines to protect copyright using more flexible CC creative commons licenses
  • Guidelines for online conduct within social media for company members

Please find time to fit this one in your diary. You do not have to be an equity member or working or ever worked on an ITC contract. Come and share your concerns, experiences and needs for a theatre contract for digital age.

I will be there.

Equity@Edinburgh - pt 2


With the workshop completed I had a clear head to take in some shows. The amount of shows available is some what over whelming. It’s never going to be possible to see every show you want to see especially when like me you only have 3 days. So I took the flash card approach. When I arrived at the Festival last night the Edinburgh program awaited me on my bed. The Fringe program is divided in to sections Children's Shows, Comedy, Dance & Physical Theatre, Events, Exhibitions, Music, Musicals & Opera and Theatre. The sections I focused on was Theatre and Dance & Physical Theatre. Plays and Shows with multimedia, visual and auditory spectacle, experiences. I then skim read those sections, marking with a star the ones that caught my eye and marked with 2 stars the ones I definitely had to see. Last year (my first visit to the Fringe) I discovered Social Media theatre seeing MySpace the musical. This year I found productions telling cautionary tales of the evolving on line world, the absurdity of the working world and how converging technology injects humor and surreal abstraction to daily life. Reflecting on the modern world theatre is a powerful and as relevant medium for social commentary as it ever was. Politically dogmatic plays synonymous with the fringe movements roots in the 60’s and 70’s have given way to the observation of the changing world. May be my interest in IT makes those shows stand out.

I decided to experiment with the N95 media phone, QIK, Flixwagon and live streaming. I love the notion of maintaining a dynamic fresh web presence using services and tool that free the blogger from the desktop PC, live bogging… doing stuff rather that I did stuff. Here are the “to camera” pieces I did daily to capture for myself and invite viewers to my join my journey. I am no film maker and hate appearing in camera so its also a cathartic process of pushing past the discomfort I feel doing them. Not sure I will ever get over it but the ends justify the means. It’s a great way to engage and being such a visual person I want to show and share.

Equity@Edinburgh - pt 1

During the second week of 2008’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival two members of Equity staff, Louise Grainger and Matt Clarke plus two Equity members, Peter Warnock and Me, Caron Lyon championed the trade union running workshops and a daily drop-in centre under the Equity@Edinburgh banner. We also saw around 30 shows and talked to performers and production staff during our week.

My primary purpose for me being selected by the Equity Independent Theatre Arts Committee was to deliver a workshop “Social Media, Networking and making the web work for you”. Peter delivered the Voice workshops "Make your voice heard" and due to popular demand a second voice workshop was added.There was also "Speed Networking", "How to get ahead in acting", "Movement for actors", "How to get ahead as a theatre director" and "Equity - What's it all about?" More than 150 people took part in the workshops and many made use of the free advice available in the drop in zone.

It has been my ambition since withdrawing from full time stagemanagement and becoming a web designer to be in a position to pass on the astonishing findings of Social Media development over the past few years and help creatives make the web work for them in an industry where money is so tight. My approach to Web 2.0 and Social Media enables solo practitioners and small companies to develop rich dynamic, easy to maintain and control web presences at little financial cost.

My workshop lasted 2 hrs at The Roman Eagle Lodge and was attended by around 25 delegates. The session content was divided in to 3 sections recapping as the workshop progressed. I covered a lot of ground introducing them to many new sites and services. The aim of all the presentations I have done over the past few months is to ignite creative thinking around how these services and sites can be used to Get Noticed, Get Connected, and Get Work.

Two services featured as practical demonstrations with the audience using their mobile phones to experience social media in action. I like a bit of hands-on stuff.

SpinVox, a voice to text service enabling voice to text updates for Blogs, Social Networks, memos to email and mass voice to text message distribution called Blasting. Try it they provide a nifty demo. Call this number 0845 040 6699 follow the instructions, leave a short voice message and in a short time, normally less that a minute it pops up as in inbound text message. Brilliant. Signing up for the service is easy too, and…. FREE. Hurrah.

The other live demo was with Swarm, a private mass texting platform for team communication, little trickier to explain but potentially very powerful for company communication and audience engagement. Check it out.

Take a look at the workshops structure. Here is the Slide Show embedded from Slideshare an on line archive of slideshow presentation.

Through out my time in Edinburgh I used QIK to stream video content to the web ready for embedding in to my blog posts on my return. I demoed this to the delegates too. Here they are!

Unlimited Theatre

Edinburgh and beyond

I first blogged about Unlimited Theatre in my article Whirlwind Edinburgh pt 4. Well mentioned really. All I had time to do was embed a YouTube video, include a link to the Edinburgh Festival online program and a link to their website. Jon Spooner the Artistic Director and the Unlimited Theatre company are producing some fantastic work and his performed presentation about Quantum Physics, superpositioning and teleportation. Genius. Take a look at their YouTube archive and go see them. I can't wait for them to come to Nottingham one day. Or I'll track them down in Edinburgh this year. This YouTube collection gives you a glimpse in to the astonishing concepts Unlimited are tackling to make ground breaking and engaging theatre... The Ethic of Progress.

Facebook People Power

Image001_3Happy New Year! Or not so happy if you're working for one of the nearly 200 regularly funded organisations who were told just before Christmas that their funding was going to be withdrawn from April 2008.

Equity have organised a meeting on Wednesday 9th January, 11 am, at the Young Vic which Peter Hewitt, Chief Executive of Arts Council England, will attend to explain the underlying rationale of the proposed cuts and to hear from Equity members what disquiet their proposals are causing. Read article in The Stage

I guess part of the reason behind this meeting - and what makes it worthwhile - is that the decisions haven't been absolutely taken and it seems that those who create enough of a (public) fuss might possibly be saved from the chop when ACE finally decides at the end of Jan.

Amongst those proposed for a total or major grant withdrawal are London Bubble, Exeter Northcott, Yvonne Arnaud, Pop-Up Theatre, Drill Hall, National Student Drama Festival, Interchange Legal Studios, Brighton's Komedia, 3 chamber orchestras and Eastern Angles.

There's no full list anywhere, but various publications are collecting the info they receive from companies, so you could look at http://www.thestage.co.uk for news or at http://www.artsprofessional.co.uk

I have collected many Save our Theatre Facebook groups.

Links to them all are in the Saving Theatre in the UK meta facebook group. http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=6587973954

Links are included for Theatres, Funding cuts objections and other related arts fund cuts and causes.

Many have links to petitions and surveys to document support for these enterprises. Check them out and show your support. Especially if you aren't in London to attend the meeting.

And finally... tell people to about this meta group. Saving Theatre in the UK http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=6587973954

Fran and Caron do the Edinburgh Fringe

Last minute rush to let everybody know what I am doing! Updating and publishing web site information before I leave on the 9.30 train from Nottingham and trundle up north to Edinburgh. I am up at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with Equity. Fran Rifkin (Chair of the committee) and I are spending 4 days at the festival representing the Small Scale Theatre Committee.

The landmark fringe contract rubber stamped and approved my Equity offers security and working structure to small creative companies to take the strain out of the working relationships that too often can come unravelled when working very very close to colleagues and friends. We will be talking to as many performers and stagemanagers as we can plus drinking much coffee and seeing some fine shows or not! depending on the risks we take.

Sstc_online_site_thumbTelling people about what we do and directing them to the committee's web site will be the greatest task and promoting our Mapping the Field exersice which is in full swing will be driving us on too. Oh we might find time to sleep a bit as well.

Go see the site www.sstc-online.org.uk