We care fiercely about Artists and Creative Freelancers working in this sector and in supporting and advocating for the very best conditions for brilliant art to be created.
Our Artist Support work is central to the organisation and is what makes us unique.
- We provide expert, artist-led support that enables people to develop distinctive ideas and thriving careers.
- We support independence and resilience by cultivating peer support, connections, and networks.
- We working with and listening to organisations across the sector locally and nationally to understand and recognise challenges they are facing.
- We advocate and lobby on behalf of artists and freelancers in sector wide strategic conversations and ensure they are at the table too.
- Artist Support Activists
- TB Assemblies
- Online Community
- Workshops & Training
- Advocacy & Lobbying
aRTIST SUPPORT ACTIVISTS
Our Artist Support Activist (ASA) roles are designed to listen and exchange with artists and then communicate and distill those individual stories into themes which set the course of Theatre Bristol.
This is a creative process which is at the heart of the organisation, driving our programming and lobbying.
We employ a rolling cohort of experienced Artists who work with us for an 18 month period. They are employed on a PAYE contract, 1 day/7 hours a week at £27,000 pro rata.
These roles are unique; part critical friend, part mentor, from sounding-board to navigator one minute and sign-poster the next, they provide feedback on funding applications, support thinking around a much earlier stage idea, look at possible venues for a tour, or give advice on building relationships or finding collaborators.
This role is not only about responding to requests for artist support sessions but also in seeking artists out, inviting them to access support, networking and being present in the city.
It is the ASA’s business to know the lie of the land; keep up-to-speed on opportunities in Bristol and beyond; and to join dots for people, bridge gaps and beat drums.
Our current cohort of ASAs will finish with us in October 2022.
Our Artist Support Activists:
What is your artistic practice?
I’m a writer and performer working across theatre and TV. My work is funny, dark, and often autobiographical.
What kinds of things might people book a session with you to discuss?
Writing Arts Council applications for both the Project Grants and Developing Your Creative Practice funding strands.
I’m also good at editing/dramaturging work and am happy to help with your creative project. Invite me to your rehearsals!
I’ve also been working in Bristol for a long time and am good at suggesting project partners and making introductions.
What might a session with you look like?
Very informal and chatty!
What is your artistic practice?
I am a large-scale immersive artist, specialising in building reactive work using robots, I’m interested in making technology democratic, exploring how we can create interactive environments and how people can take ownership of, and adapt our own urban spaces. My background is in festival and outdoor art set build, design and metalworking.
What kind of things might people book a session with you to discuss?
I am experienced in writing project grants, DYCP grants and CRF funding.
Running small arts companies and CIC’s
I love to help people unpick their ideas and arts related conundrums
What might a session with you look like?
I generally am more likely to do a session over Zoom or over the phone but am also happy to meet people for a walk and a coffee. Email me if a specific time works better for you, feel free to bring small children to the sessions – as mine may also pop up!
I am passionate about supporting artists to be artists, to make an income, to maintain good mental health, to be able to feel safe to say no to work that doesn’t work for them. I see that as my role here.
We provide a space to ask big questions about what theatre is, what togetherness is, what assembly is.
These are open, inclusive events for anyone who is working across the live performance sector to attend, listen, contribute and build relationships and knowledge around specific issues.
These are mostly led by our ASAs. We host a series of 10 across a year, usually once a month and we will hold a mix of hybrid (online and in person), exclusively online or exclusively in person events across the year.
You can find out more about what Assemblies are coming up by clicking the button below.
We also occasionally work in partnership with other organisations to host larger events, our most recent was Dreaming in the Big Top in partnership with Cirque Bijou.
As we begin to return to some kind of normality for the sector and the recovery of creative practice we are acutely aware of the need to find ways to support wellbeing both in the short and long term.
During lockdown we ran Bubble Baths for the Soul supporting 6 Queer Artists with 8 group wellbeing sessions led by Lou Platt from Artist Wellbeing (supported through VIP Microgrants and CRF) and are in the process of designing a second programme which will be announced in the Autumn.
We pride ourselves on being genuinely responsive to what we hear on the ground through our work. Consequently we can’t ignore the seismic shift the sector is facing right now, the huge inequalities being polarised by the Pandemic and therefore we are re-evaluating the tools needed right now within the organisation for us to meaningfully support the sector.
We are committed to reducing the barriers to attending events and meetings for freelancers and offer 4 bursaries for each Assembly.
These are usually £50 for 2 hours (based on a day rate of £200)
We also want to ensure that Freelance voices are heard in conversations that have historically happened behind closed doors and by salaried individuals. Working closely with DIY Arts and Bristol City Council we are paying freelancers to be a part of these conversations.
For ~15 years theatrebristol.net brought the artistic community of Bristol and the wider SW together online to share and promote local what’s on, opportunities, jobs, news and provided a space for profiling yourself and your work within a directory.
In February 2021 we decided it was time to recognise that this website was out of date and clunky and that visits were depleting fast.
We will be launching a paid consultation with the artistic community led by our Digital Storyteller in Autumn 2021 to decide the best way forward for rebuilding the online community in a contemporary context taking the very best bits of the old website and bringing new ideas to the table. Depending on the outcome we will then begin the fundraising campaign in early 2022.
If you’d like to know more about the consultation process you can do so below:
Workshops & Training
Through listening and conversation we often identify themes and questions emerging that multiple people are asking advice on and so occasionally host workshops.
Sometimes these workshops are quite informal and other times they are more formal and are ticketed.
You can find the most recent workshops on our resources page.
We will be launching a series of workshops this Autumn that focus on building resilience and creative business skills to develop your career.
How theatre bristol supported lavrak
Theatre Bristol provided 1:1 support and guidance to Lavrak in 2019 to develop their ideas and offer advice on their upcoming project ‘Reach’. Co-director, Amy Nicholls, outlines the impact of Theatre Bristol’s support.
“We received 1:1 support and mentoring from Theatre Bristol to advise and guide us in producing our first UK tour, from the initial R&D phase of the project.
We spoke to Theatre Bristol artists who have produced tours, and also attended our R&D show and knew our work and what we wanted to achieve. They helped us get the project off the ground (literally and figuratively…Reach is an aerial show).
We successfully received funding for the tour with the support Theatre Bristol gave us. They listened to our ideas and really enabled us to achieve our vision.
They advised us on how to develop our audiences in order to successfully tour to places where we didn’t already have engagement. We were able to build our audiences beyond Bristol. We sold out 5 of 8 shows, and gained two 5 star reviews”.
I would absolutely recommend Theatre Bristol! It is so accessible to organise a meeting with someone. We are so grateful for their support, and they often read funding applications for us or run through ideas with us, which has been incredibly valuable!
Amy Nicholls (Co-Director of Lavrak)
Keep in touch
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