When the Spaces group sat down earlier last week, we had 33 proposals on the table in response to the Call for partners published on 1 March. There was a considerable variety, both geographically and in the content of the proposals. There was a large proportion from London, although some other regions were also well represented. The group took an overview of the response and has decided on the following course of action:
The Spaces group will assess all proposals against the published criteria and identify questions for further investigation and any opportunities to join up proposals to strengthen them. We are meeting again on 4 May to bring together our assessments.
The aim of the project has always been to secure the best outcome for the Sector and we will therefore continue to accept any new proposals up to Friday 14 May. We will not be advertising this publicly, but if any hub or member company wishes to put forward any new proposals or ideas, which they have not had the time to develop, the Spaces group will consider them.
After 14 May, regional hubs will be sent some information on proposals received from organisations in their region and asked to comment on any existing relationships between ST members and these organisations (please note though that we will not be circulating full copies of proposals at this stage).
From this, there will be a period of 6 weeks when we will enter into dialogue with proposers, visiting sites and endeavouring to reach partnership agreements. David Beidas will primarily do this work, with Spaces group members and regional hub representatives joining where appropriate.
The Spaces group will meet at the end of June to review the outcome of this work and to agree a recommendation to the National group for approval for the set of partnership agreements, which will establish the network of spaces. It will be proposed that some of the elements of this network should go forward to apply for ACE capital funding with the backing of Sustained Theatre. Where this is the case, Sustained Theatre (once the issue of legal existence has been resolved) will enter into a legal agreement with the partner(s) concerned which gives it full or shared ownership of the asset to be created with the funding and secure it for the long term benefit of ST.
Looking at the current proposals, there are gaps to fill both geographically and in terms of content. For instance, we are short of proposals from the East, North-East and East Midlands and have very few mobile spaces.
We are encouraged by the response received to date as well as the interest and commitment shown by Sustained Theatre artists and companies and hope that with your assistance in the next few weeks we can make significant progress.
Chair, Spaces Group