Last week the first festival took place at our host venue and supporter the Unity theatre, Liverpool.
The anecdotal feedback has been extremely positive and this gives me great hope in the model that we tested in this pilot event. We hosted 12 shows from artists / companies / teams from across the region as well as four workshops.
The plan was always to host a cross section of the improvisation community and this seems anecdotally to have been a strength of the festival and something we will continue to build upon and develop further. I am open to feedback as I know there are a number of areas to develop for the future. Throughout the two days I was taking notes and will act on these as well as the feedback from audiences and visiting artists and companies. I will share a full report (June) and response as we move forward, transparency is key and if I got something wrong I will act on this to ensure the best possible experience for everyone.
From the outset my driving desire was to place improvisation into a theatre and thus profiling the talent that exists across the region. Secondly was for companies and artists to benefit financially, each company was on a guarantee to ensure that it covered their expenses. If they surpassed this they then took the full box office (worth 70%) the host venue took the rest - I am pleased to say that every single company achieved this. Finally, the work to be documented and shared to and for the wider community.
I think we achieved the start of something and I thank those companies and artists who said 'yes and' and to the participants (workshops), artists, companies and teams I am very grateful for your faith and support.
This has personally been a huge undertaking - I have invested a huge amount of time and money in organising this first festival single handedly. This is not sustainable for the future and thus I will need some support (volunteers) who have expertise in marketing, social media, logistics as liaising with the Unity, press, artists and trying to market the festival has taken its toll. Please feel free to get in touch via email@example.com if you can spare some time to lift up and grow your community.
Peace and love
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Mark Smith is a storyteller and theatre maker. he loves a yarn and making things up.