Blog #14 - Creative Opportunity Givers

 14th March 2019 by Gill Simmons

I know you're meant to do your first blog entry of the year in January, not March, but we've been a bit busy, as you'll see, giving Creative Opportunities to various people. So grab  your cuppa of choice and we'll have a super quick catch up!

Since the start of 2019, we've   run two  family arts programmes at Creative Workspace, one in January and one for February half term, and our Easter programme is published here and already selling well. We have been  shortlisted in the Arts category (Bristol Life Awards), Best Family Venue  category (Fantastic For Families) Best  Creative Fun and Best Family Entertainment (Bristol Hoop Awards 2019) and the  Fit for Future award (Bristol Social Impact Awards) run by  Voscur.

We started three schools projects in January 2019: a devised theatre project and an Arts Award Explore level course at Fouracres Primary in Withwyood. The devised theatre project is providing a placement for Enrose Redondo, a creative therapies student from City of Bristol College. We also worked with choreographer Vic Hole and film-maker Anna Haydock Wilson to devise a piece of dance-theatre about equality with 154 year old girls from Merchants' Academy, which was performed at Creative Workspace and on the main stage at City Hall as part of International Women's Day in March 2019.

We've  started working with lots of new people. You can see them all on our Who's Who page. We are been extremely fortunate to welcome  Ellie Freeman to our board of directors as community arts project manager. Ellie was an extremely active and committed trustee and has taken the step up to become our third director very recently.  We are also currently hosting two interns from Bristol University. Jueun Back joined us in January from the Drama department and  is focusing her internship time with us by exploring family theatre. Xinyi  Ling joined us recently from the School of Business to begin a three month  internship focusing on not-for-profit arts marketing.

We hosted the first of four COG Residencies in January. COG stands for Creative Opportunity Giver. Funded by Arts Council England, this is a programme that gives a local artist or collective full access to Creative Workspace for 5 days to create new work or develop existing work. We then ask them to devise and lead 2 community arts workshops  giving memebers of our immediate community the opportunity to engage with new creative experiences. Our first COG   Resident Artist was theatre maker Alice Lamb, who  came to  Creative Workspace in January to develop her show My Life is Better Than Yours about women at 40, those with children and those without.  The show went on to be performed at The Wardrobe Theatre as a scratch performance, and we are really pleased to have been able to support the development of this show.

Our  next COG residency, designed for visual artists with experience in painting outdoors on wood, is now open for applications, so if you know anyone interested, encourage them to check out the details here.

We started working in January with Fareshare South West who  provide our community cafe at Creative Workspace, The Cog Cafe with affordable stock  from supermarket surplus  that would otherwise go to waste. This means we can keep our tasty veggie lunches   really affordable.  We're currently hiring staff for our cafe so we can be open regularly Tuesday to Saturday 10am-4pm, not just  for school holidays. Deadline to apply is Friday 29th March so if you know anyone interested in part-time cafe work in South Bristol,  encourage them to check out the details here.

Finally, we  have just started rehearsing a new family theatre show,  Wonderland,  which is an extremely exciting opportunity for us to  explore how to make a piece of family theatre that is also  dementia-sensitive. This means that we  are learning how, broadly speaking, how best to engage through the arts with people who are living with dementia, and then putting these elements into to our new show piece of theatre. We are including lots of music, moments where people can copy simple dance movements and lots of moments of bold visual humour. 

We are thrilled to be working with experienced performers Alison Cowling & Arran Glass, movement director Bryn Thomas, designer  Charlotte Cooke, stage managers Molly Furnival-Doran and Jules Green and Dawn Corse who is our specialist dementia consultant.

There will be much more on this to come as this is the most major production Brave Bold Drama has made to date, but for now I'll just wrap up by saying thankyou to Arts Council England, Bristol Ageing better, Quartet Community Foundation, Wells Theatre Festival and Weston-based champions of dementia-friendly TCTW who have funded us to rehearse and make  this show.  However, we still need to secure funding to ensure that the actors are properly paid for all the performances. So if you'd like to show your support for this work,   you can do so by clicking this link here.

Well done for making it through this whistlestop tour of Brave Bold Drama's  2019 to date. Top up that cuppa, treat yourself to a biscuit and hopefully we'll ping another blog soon!

Thankyou for your interest in our work!