No country for theatre?
International Models and Local Practices in Rural Touring – roundtable discussion with the participation of national and international cultural policy experts: Carn to Cove (UK), Iulia Popovici – expert in cultural policies (RO). Moderated by Tamás Jászay (HU)
The benefits of decades of rural touring in Western Europe for the functioning of local communities and the artistic groups that interact with them are well established. In addition to the artistic, aesthetic and emotional effects, it is also worth taking into account the economic and social benefits of the undertakings, which of course depend to a large extent on the specific context. The roundtable discussion will focus on formal, genre, aesthetic, financial and organisational issues. Some of the topics covered include: what is the difference between theatre productions made specifically for the rural area and the productions that are just taken there? How are independent events organised in a networked form, facilitating both performers and spectators? How can local needs, interests and expectations be assessed? What is the role of local, regional and national decision-makers in creating and developing the network? How can a functioning network be maintained? New challenges on the threshold of a new era: how does theatre respond to new crises in the world? And of course the fundamental questions: where, what, for whom and with whom? And what is decisive in all cases (not only in Eastern Europe): what kind of money, logistics and infrastructure can be used to do this? Answers are sought from international experts on the subject, who will share their experiences and ideas from the UK, Hungary and Romania.
CLAIRE MARSHALL, Carn to Cove (UK)
Claire Marshall is Director of Carn to Cove and C Fylm, which is the rural touring performing arts scheme for Cornwall. It is one of a national network of 30 touring schemes in the UK. Carn to Cove supports a network of 95 village halls and community spaces and 400 voluntary promoters that presented 93 high quality live performances for 5068 rural audiences in 2021/22. Alongside the live events programme, C Fylm is the network of 40 film clubs which screens over 300 screenings to a membership of over 2,000 people each year. Claire oversees the planning and budget development for both programmes, and is responsible for fundraising, programming, and advocacy for the schemes. Carn to Cove recently supported a neighbouring scheme to continue to operate after it announced it would close, and after 4 years, Villages in Action is now back under self-management in Devon. She also works closely with a community grants funding project - FEAST, and has wide of experience of planning and delivering sectoral network meetings and roadshows for stakeholders and members of the public.
Carn to Cove’s network of village halls and community spaces range in size from the very tiny (50 seater) parish hall to Town Halls seating up to 400. As well as size, the venues vary a lot in technical specifications, from no stage and lights to fully kitted out studio theatre spaces.
Carn to Cove is a Dance Ambassador scheme for the Rural Touring Dance Initiative and has been building up a dance network of promoters and audiences over the last several years. The volunteer promoters are gaining in confidence in programming contemporary dance and facilitating workshops to allow participation and learning from visiting artists. They are encouraged to take risks in their programming and supported to present work that can be challenging for rural audiences.
IULIA POPOVICI – expert in cultural policies (RO)
Iulia Popovici (Bucharest) is a performing arts critic and curator. She is also an expert in Romanian and European cultural policies. In 2016, she was advisor to the Minister of Culture, and in 2021 she became the Secretary of State in the Ministry of Culture, in which capacity she worked on structuring the reforms included in the PNRR (The National Recovery and Resilience Plan).
She has published extensively on the alternative performing arts scene, collectives and artists in Romania and Eastern Europe, the social challenges of contemporary arts and changing working practices.
From 2011 to 2018, she was co-curator of the Independent Performing Arts Platform of the Temps d'Images Festival. She has organised a series of showcases and independent performing arts programs in Romania and abroad.
Most recent publication: Metaphor. Concept. Protest. Performance Art in Romania and Moldova (with Raluca Voinea; Idea Design & Print / tranzit.ro, 2017).
TAMÁS JÁSZAY, moderator (HU)
Tamás Jászay is a theatre critic, editor, university lecturer and curator. He has been working as a theatre critic since 2003, since then he has published more than 1300 articles in dozens of languages in more than twenty journals worldwide. In 2008 he became the founding editor of Revizor – the critical portal (www.revizoronline.com), and from 2021 he is its editor-in-chief. He defended his doctoral dissertation on the history of the Krétakör Theatre in 2013. Between 2009-2013 he taught and researched at the University of Kaposvár, since 2015 at the University of Szeged, and since 2019 he has been an adjunct professor at the University of Szeged. His current research interests include the history of independent theatres and rural puppet theatres in Hungary. In the last decade he has been curator and artistic advisor of several festivals and showcases in Hungary (dunaPart, THEALTER).