Stellar Quines: Using data to monitor success

In early 2017 we approached leading audience development agency Culture Republic to commission them to produce a survey of their audience that could then inform our future audience development and business strategies.

As a touring theatre company the challenges we face to access reliable audience data is difficult but is crucial to inform future planning. Culture Republic worked with us to speak to our audiences with the help of the venues the company had toured to and using their own wealth of data research. The results were interesting, surprising and revealing and shows why you can’t be complacent and that you should speak to your audience – they want to talk to you!

Stellar Quines: Using Data to Monitor Success highlights the main findings of the research.

Art cuts would “devastate” culture north of the border, leading arts organisations warn

As arts organisations across Scotland, that receive Regular Funding from Creative Scotland, await the news of what funding they will receive for the 3 years between 2018 – 2021, an article in The Herald reports on the concern shared by leading arts organisations.

Art cuts would “devastate” culture north of the border, leading arts organisations warn

Phil Miller – The Herald (Nov 21 2017)

CUTS to cultural funding in the upcoming Government budget would “devastate” the arts north of the border and cause “irreversible” damage, leading arts figures have claimed.

A new letter published today, signed by several cultural organisations including the Scottish Contemporary Art Network (SCAN), says that arts support is now at a “tipping point.”

They are concerned that a cut in funding to Creative Scotland from the Scottish Government, in the looming budget, would add to funding woes already felt by declining Lottery funds.

The letter comes as Creative Scotland, the national arts funding body, has reiterated that it expects the amount of arts companies it supports with its crucial regular funding pot to decline.

Creative Scotland has said that decisions on future funding for regularly funded organisations will now not be known until the end of January.

The letter from a group of arts bodies says that the cultural sector is awaiting the looming Budget with “trepidation”.

It adds: “We have now arrived at a tipping point where even a small cut to Creative Scotland’s Grant-In-Aid, alongside reductions in Lottery and local authorities, will devastate Scotland’s cultural infrastructure.

“Damage to this infrastructure, developed with the aid of public investment over the last fifty years, will be irreversible.

“This cannot be overstated.

“Conversely, a very small increase in funding would allow the core infrastructure of arts and culture in Scotland to survive and to thrive.”

It adds: “We welcome the positive public statements made by the Scottish Government in acknowledging the central role culture plays across our society, and we applaud the major new investments in film and the Edinburgh Festivals, The Burrell Collection and The V&A in Dundee. Clearly, the will to support arts and culture exists at the highest level.

“However, big flagship investments cannot substitute for the basic funding that our everyday, small-to-medium sized cultural groups need to exist.

“If these disappear, which many will if predictions about cuts to Regular Funding Organisations (RFOs) are correct, how will we nurture and sustain the highly skilled but low-paid artists who deliver arts, culture and creative experiences to audiences across every community in Scotland?”

The Creative Scotland bulletin says: “We are committed to doing everything we can to announce these decisions as soon as possible after this but it is now clear that this will not be before Christmas.

“With this in mind, our planning now means we will announce decisions by the end of January 2018.”

The body said because the lateness of this decision, in the financial year, will be mitigated by extending regularly funded organisations contracts until May 2018.

It will also offer “transitional funding support” for existing companies which have been unsuccessful in their application for Regular Funding 2018-21.

Hannah Forsyth joins the Young Women Lead Project

We are so excited that our Company Administrator, Hannah Forsyth has been selected to join the Young Women Lead leadership group. Initiated by Young Women’s Movement Scotland this inspiring group of young women will come together to discuss current issues and empower young women to encourage change.

Here is the first of what will be a regular series of articles from Hannah on her experience as part of the group:

When you hear the words “Parliamentary Committee”, what do you think of? My mind immediately runs to lots of people in suits and the word “honourable” being thrown around a lot. It’s fair to say that even in Scotland, politics has some work to do in terms of connecting with young people. And this is exactly what the YWCA are aiming to improve with their new leadership scheme. Young Women Lead is a brand new project aimed at connecting young women in Scotland with their political representatives.

I was lucky enough to be accepted onto the scheme, and spent a fascinating day in the Scottish Parliament and Meadowbank meeting my fellow participants and learning more about the scheme. One of the first things we did was take a tour of the Scottish Parliament Building in Holyrood, which is packed full of contributions from inspirational women such as Shauna McMullan’s Travelling the Distance mural (see image). The entire building has been designed to emphasize openness and honesty in politics, and members of the public are encouraged to follow Parliamentary events in person and online.

After a hearty lunch, we all convened in St Margaret’s House, HQ of YWCA at Meadowbank, to decide what we wanted to gain from this scheme. It was really exciting to hear from other women from all across Scotland (there was an entire Highlands and Islands contingent) and by the end of the afternoon we had produced plans for how we would like the ideal committee to run, what it would look like and what sort of things it would discuss. Encouraging young people to participate in politics is more important than ever, and I’m very excited to see where Young Women Lead will take us in 2018.

All that remained after that was to take part in some glow in the dark yoga (I cannot recommend it enough) and make sure we were all signed up for updates on the scheme.

If you want to see what we got up to or where we’re headed next, use #ScotWomenRise or follow @youngwomenscot

Hannah becomes our Green Champion!

Last week Hannah, our Company Administrator, became our Green Champion and attended her first Creative Carbon Scotland Conference. Read on to find out the latest updates on becoming an environmentally friendly theatre world.

As I’m still fairly new to Stellar Quines, I didn’t really know what to expect from this particular conference but I was amazed by the breadth of sustainable activity in our sector. There were talks on everything from how to meet international standards of environmental compliance to how homemade knitted props have reduced the carbon impact of a production. One particular highlight was seeing how enthusiastic everyone was at the prospect of adopting local theatre bees – the Lyceum bee hive project may have started off a viral trend of bee adoption across Scotland!

One of the most important parts of the day was a reminder from Adaptation Scotland about the consequences of climate change and how our environment stands to change. It was a helpful reminder that committing to sustainability is more than simply checking boxes, it’s making sure that how we operate doesn’t damage our environment for future generations. I certainly went home with a new network of sustainable companies and exciting plans to make Stellar Quines even more sustainable in the future.

Hannah

Useful Reading: Green Arts Initiative

Bingo! Week three with the Quines.

Meet Adela who is spending a few months with us here at Stellar Quines as an intern. We asked her to share with you some of her experiences while working with the Quines. Last week was very interesting for her…

Last week, I had the opportunity to go to Glasgow to assist with the rehearsals of the new production of Stellar Quines and Grid Iron.

As I hadn’t been to Glasgow, I went the day before to visit the city. I’ve heard some bad critics about the city before I went but I was agreeably surprised. It’s a lively city with a lot to see and so much to do. I’ve been visiting the University, Kelvingrove, the Gallery of Modern Art and it was lovely.

But let’s focus on the next day.

Bingo!, the new comedy musical of Stellar Quines & Grid Iron, is about gambling, the power of the money, relationships that can exist between a mother and her daughter, but also between everyone in a community. What I’ve loved about the text is (even if I didn’t get every joke because of my frenglish) it was really funny. Each character is endearing in its own way. I’ve been doing a lot of first reading at the Academy in Belgium, but being part of a rehearsal of an original play with professionals is really different.

Maybe I’m a little bit too impressionable but even for a first time, I’ve found it brilliant.

Check back soon for more thoughts from Adela on her time with the Quines.

Bingo! is a new comedy musical, written by Johnny McKnight & Anita Vettesse presented by Stellar Quines and Grid Iron and will be touring from March 2018.

Stellar Quines response to the #Metoo campaign

Today Stellar Quines announce their support and plan of action in response the #MeToo campaign that has spread across our industry over the past month since the allegations against Harvey Weinstein and others were revealed.

We are working with partners in the Scottish arts industry, uniting together to instigate change.

We invite you to join our #Respectis campaign on social media sharing up to 3 words, in text, sound, film or images, anyway you prefer which sum up what RESPECT means to you on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram. 

We want this collective response to the bravery of disclosure seen through #Metoo to make a statement about what behaviours we expect and demand. We will use your words of hope as an inspiration for our next steps as an industry and a movement.

Soon we will be announcing a new project Answers on a Postcard where you can engage through a process of creative sharing. We are also be collating information and articles for you to read to help inform what is happening.

Join the conversation #Respectis

My time with the Quines

Meet Adela who is spending a few months with us here at Stellar Quines as an intern. We asked her to share why she wanted to come and work with the Quines. 

My name is…

My name is Adela Martinez. I’m 18 years old and I come from a small town in the South of Belgium. I’ve just finished High School and I’ve been studying drama since I was 11.

A few years ago, I decided to start studying drama as a profession but first, I wanted to take a year off to work in the theatre area, take time to make sure that’s what I want, meet people already working in this sector and also prepare my audition for the theatre school (I already have nightmares about it).

Lucky me, my parents have always been supporting me to do what makes me happy and for now, nothing makes me more enthusiastic than theatre.

Taking a year off also meant the opportunity to travel, to improve my English and above all meet people sharing my interest in drama. So, I started to search for a theatre company that would have been happy to welcome me as a volunteer. I have been sending e-mails for months and most of the answers were negatives. Until one day, I find two who were ready to give me a chance, Strange Town first and then Stellar Quines. I was really excited to have the opportunity to work with both.

So, I’m actually working with Strange Town as a volunteer assistant in some primary schools for after school drama sessions in parallel with Stellar Quines.

Now I’m really proud to be part of this. First of all because Stellar Quines propose a theater of quality managed by women. I have not yet had the opportunity to see one of their productions but all I’ve heard is positive.

I was also happily surprised that their next production is none other than an adaptation of a French novel.

I arrived in Edinburgh with no specific work expectation, what I wanted most of all was learn by realizing several tasks that will afford me to fully understand the various aspects of this profession.

As soon as I met Rebecca, she explained to me all the things I was going to do during my internship. I felt really comfortable because she immediately made me feel useful, which was what I needed.

The hardest thing when you come to work and live in a city, a country you don’t know isn’t the language but (in my opinion) it’s the people and how they make you feel comfortable.

Stellar Quines give me the opportunity to meet actors, writers, directors and a lot more people making theatre happen.

Check back soon for more thoughts from Adela and her time with the Quines.

WOW – Women of the World Festival Perth opens Friday!

This weekend sees the inaugural WOW – Women of the World Festival, Perth. The Festival is being held at Perth Concert Hall and will open with an event featuring the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon.

The main Festival takes place over Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th and comprises a fantastic programme of talks, comedy, dance and discussion. It’s going to be lively!

There are special Weekend Passes which are fantastic value and give you access to most events, or you can just attend for one day.

WOW is the largest women’s festival in the world, and since launching at London’s Southbank Centre in 2010, now takes place in over 20 countries on 5 continents from Finland to Pakistan and from New York to Katherine in Australia’s Northern Territory with the Indigenous group of women there.

Join the movement – and see you at WOW Perth.

WOW Perth 2017 brochure

Two new plays celebrating girls join Tonic Theatre’s Platform series

Tonic Theatre has joined forces with Nick Hern Books to create Platform – an online bookshop where you can access scripts that put the stories of girls centre stage. Aimed at addressing gender imbalance in theatre, Platform comprises big-cast plays with predominantly or all-female casts, written specifically for performance by young actors.

As our mission and vision is to celebrate the stories and voices of women and girls we wanted to let you know about Platform and we feel this is an excellent resource for teachers and youth theatres that are looking for plays that have strong roles for girls.

On offer from 9 November will be The Glove Thief by Beth Flintoff and Red by Somalia Eaton.

There are many more titles available to buy individually or special offers for bundles of scripts. Check it out and fill your bookshelves!

 

Village Pub Theatre playwright’s announced!

We are delighted to announce the lineup up plays for our International Day of the Girl Village Pub Theatre event on 11th October at The Village Pub.

  • Alison Carr Until Its Gone
  • Deb JonesHairum Scarum
  • Drew Taylor- WIlsonI’m Sorry You’re Offended
  • Gemma StroyanGirls Who Squat
  • Laura TansleyI didn’t know ’til later that it didn’t have to mean anything
  • Samara MaclarenBun
  • Sue GyfordGirls! Vagina! Trousers!

We had over 40 submissions from our open call out and through VPT regulars so congratulations to everyone who was selected and thanks to all those who submitted but weren’t successful on this occasion.

 

Audition opportunity with Stellar Quines, Scottish Dance Theatre and Royal Lyceum Theatre

Scottish Dance Theatre is seeking an Asian Male Performer for a co-production with Stellar Quines and Royal Lyceum Theatre

Scottish Dance Theatre are casting a lead male dancer/performer role for an upcoming production of The Lover, a unique collaboration between Royal Lyceum Theatre, Scottish Dance Theatre and Stellar Quines.

Bringing together two of Scotland’s leading Artistic Directors, Fleur Darkin and Jemima Levick, for the first time, in the first ever UK stage adaptation of Marguerite Duras’ work, The Lover is a sensual adaptation of the semi-autobiographical novel by Marguerite Duras.

Set in 1920s Vietnam, detailing her affair as a teenager with an older, wealthy Chinese man, The Lover will fuse spoken word and contemporary dance, as well as French, Chinese and English, in a performance by one actress and four dancers.

This is a paid job opportunity and we will be offering a freelance contract following Equity guidelines.

When:  Individual audition workshops will be held on Friday 6th October in 30 minute slots between 11am – 7pm. Auditions will be by invitation only.

Where: London, UK. Studio location information will be sent out to invited applicants.

Invited dancers will meet with the directors privately to work with text and movements. You may be asked to show a short self-made solo or current movement study.

Further interviews/dialogue, if required, will be carried out on Monday 9th and Tuesday 10th October via phone.

  • All performers must:
  • Have at least 3 years professional performance experience with a specialisation in contemporary dance practice
  • Be comfortable with partial nudity
  • Have a playing age of 30+ years old
  • Be available between 11 – 22 December 2017 and 3 January – 3 February 2018 for rehearsals and performances in Edinburgh, Scotland.

To Apply: Please send your CV and an image of yourself, a link to online video footage, and a covering statement outlining your experience and why you would like to participate, to
abarnett@scottishdancetheatre.com

Deadline for applications: 3pm Wednesday 4th October 2017.
We will respond to you by 12noon Thursday 5th October with details of studio location for those invited.

Parents and Carers in Performing Arts future backed by 31 of the UK’s leading performing arts companies

The National Theatre Scotland, The National Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Society of London TheatreFederation of Scottish Theatre, and Stage Directors UK are among the organisations backing the creation of a new company aimed at tackling discriminatory working practices towards parents in the sector.

Parents in Performing Arts, which started life as a campaign in 2015, will become a limited company supported by 31 of the UK’s leading performing arts companies as part of a bid to maintain a longer term presence in the industry.

Having committed to supporting PIPA’s goal of enabling parents and carers to maintain successful careers across the sector, it is hoped that these organisations will lead the field in new ways of working.

PIPA’s work has so far included a report into best practice which found that eight out of 10 self-employed theatre workers had to turn down work because of caring responsibilities.

Co-founders Cassie Raine and Anna Ehnold-Danailov said developing PIPA from a campaign group into a limited company was necessary to “address the scale of change needed” and to ensure that its work and research could continue.

The 31 partner organisations include the 18 that helped PIPA form a consortium last year – led by the Old Vic and including the Donmar Warehouse, Equity, Stellar Quines and English Touring Theatre – as well as new supporters.

Unions BECTU, the Musicians’ Union and the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain are among the other new partners, as are Shakespeare’s Globe, Nottingham Playhouse, National Theatre Wales and Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse.

Raine and Ehnold-Danailov said: “Our work with the consortium showed that the current situation for carers needs a long-term voice working in partnership with the performing arts sector, developing strategies to provide organisations with solutions to ensure we get the best people staying in the workforce.”

They added that becoming a limited company would allow PIPA to continue developing itself as the “go-to resource for research, knowledge, strategy and solutions”.

National Theatre director Rufus Norris said: “Access to work for all, including carers and parents, is crucial to the log-term sustainability of the performing arts. I’m excited to be exploring with PIPA how we can remove existing barriers that those with caring responsibilities may have faced and help shape new working practices at the National Theatre.”

PIPA Company Launch Press Release

Village Pub Theatre / Stellar Quines event – call out for submissions

The Village Pub Theatre and Stellar Quines are collaborating to create an evening of new short plays to celebrate International Day of the Girl on October 11th 2017

International Day of the Girl is a global campaign to raise awareness of the inequality faced by girls around the world based on their gender. This inequality includes areas such as right to education/access to education, nutrition, legal rights, medical care, violence against women, unfree child marriage and protection from discrimination.

As part of this event we would like to hold open submissions for playwrights of any level of experience to submit a short play, no longer than 10minutes long that responds to the theme ‘the role of the girl’. We are looking for people to interpret this theme in a variety of ways but roughly we are looking for writers to explore what role girl’s play in our society, how they relate to other people, how other people relate them.

Stellar Quines and Village Pub Theatre will select three of these plays to be performed on 11th October by a team of professional actors and director at the Village Pub Theatre, Leith.

There is a fee available of £100 for the selected plays plus travel. You must be free to attend rehearsals and performance in Leith on 11th October in order to be considered.

Please submit your 10 minute play by midnight on Sunday 24th September using the online form

Please note files will be uploaded to Stellar Quines’ Google Drive. To allow for file upload you will be required to sign in to Google to access the form. If you do not have a google account you will need to create one. If you would prefer not to submit a form via google please email Rebecca Davis with Village Pub Theatre in the subject title (Rebecca is on annual leave until the 18 September and will reply to queries promptly on her return).

Rebecca Donnelly performing in The Last Queen of Scotland

Rebecca Donnelly is delighted to be performing at the Fringe for the first time with Stellar Quines, performing in Patricia Panther’s role in The Last Queen of Scotland on Friday 18th and Saturday 19th August.

Her credits include : Still Game Live, Taking the Next Step, Glasgow Girls, We Will Rock You and Britains Got Talent. Rebecca loves being apart of a Scottish story and hopes you enjoy it too.

Jaimini Jethwa speaks to the Scotsman

When the official took Jaimini Jethwa’s passport on her arrival at Kampala, he looked at it for a long time. As he handed it back to her, he said only two words: “Welcome home.”

“Traditionally, Indian culture isn’t really interested in history in that sense,” she says. “I think they feel it’s much more important to move forward, their priority is to take care of their children. My dad has also got quite an African philosophy and approach to things. He doesn’t want to speak about Idi Amin. He says: ‘Why did you write about him?’”

It’s a story about identity, Levyck says, and how it’s sometimes not straightforward, like being a Ugandan Asian who speaks with a broad Dundonian accent. “Scotland is a changing nation, it’s becoming more integrated, it’s a very open nation, a very outward-looking international country, this felt to me like a really international story but with its roots really firmly stuck in something really local.”

Read the full article here

Jaimini Jethwa on BBC Reporting Scotland

“Maybe it’ll give the next generation of people a different perspective of who they are in the world and instead of sort of hiding and running away from things they could maybe step up and own their history.”

Jaimini Jethwa writer of Last Queen of Scotland speaks to BBC about how she has turned her family history into a show. Watch Here from 23:35