‘A thoroughly professional and enjoyable experience – thank you all!’
David Lane, Crich Glebe Field Centre
The Live & Local Showcase & Menu Launches took place this March all over the country – from North Muskham in Nottinghamshire right down to Peopleton in Worcestershire. This is when we show off highlights from the new season with, if we do say so ourselves, cracking live performance extracts. More importantly though, they’re a chance to say thank you to our fantastic promoters. They’re the people selling tickets, putting on the shows and providing their community with first-class art and entertainment.
There were six Showcase & Menu Launches in total, and each was held at a local village hall or social club. Groups from across each county attended, as well as a few brand-new promoters who found it rather exciting to hit the ground running and get some inspiration. Each event featured a musical performance – hip swinging numbers by Sunjay or a heartfelt tribute from Daria Kulesh – which were followed by a video presentation introducing the new menu. This is the point when most promoters get out their pens and start scribbling away, with many choosing their favourite new acts – no bagsies!
Speeches were made by Live & Local discussing our various schemes, and we were treated to an extract from one of two dance shows. Depending on the day this was the football fandom of Next Door Dance or a trip to the flicks with Spiltmilk Dance. During the latter our team all enjoyed guessing the cinematic reference – could it be ‘The Great Escape’ or ‘Silence of the Lambs’? We must say that everyone packed a lot into a mere two hours. In fact, for the first time in Live & Local history, we managed the tech in-house (shout out to Selena and Matt) which made a huge difference to efficiency and ease on the night.
‘A wonderful way for artists to showcase their performances in front of promoters across the country.’
The response we had from attending promoters was overwhelmingly positive, with many commenting on the outstanding quality of the shows on offer. Equally, they had a chance to promote their own events or impart top tips. Lesley from Pailton Village Hall shared her experience of booking ‘Hansel & Gretel’ from Uchenna Dance. She was tentative at first; a dance show and one made for families at that! However, the event was a roaring, near sell-out success with wraparound activities and many new attendees – families in particular – turning up. These stories were most cheering to hear, and everyone was keen to spread the word and chime in about how brilliant previous shows had been. A bonus: a good few ticket sales were made too.
A lot of the feedback stressed the difference it makes seeing a show in person. This is particularly true of dance as people can assume that it’s not their cup of tea, however, no two dance shows are the same. It’s like comparing your classic English Breakfast with a lapsang souchong brew! Take Next Door Dance; as part of our DART
programme (developing artists for rural touring) they are relatively new to the scheme and their show, ‘The Beautiful Game’ has now played in front of an audience packed with promoters and dance newcomers. It’s a hilarious look at football fan culture, complete with the Match of the Day soundtrack, power stances and audience interaction, all of which had a fantastic response. A promoter even said that dance is a great way to get a younger audience through the door which is something all community venues hope to achieve.
The way Jennifer of Next Door Dance put it, ‘the opportunity we have been given allows us to capture future audience’s attention immediately – especially those that wouldn’t usually book a dance show or think their community would enjoy contemporary dance.’ This was certainly true on the night and many promoters were left buzzing with ideas, for example inviting local community football teams or booking the show for a summer fete on the local pitches.
These Showcases mean that different promoter groups can meet face to face and communicate ideas and experiences in person, especially on how to promote each other’s events in the future. This ability to share across the network is hugely important and for any promoters who are interested, we’d be happy to aid you in making connections with other local groups. At these events we heard of more than a few parties meeting and promising that going forward, they would be sure to support each other’s shows which is perhaps one of the biggest benefits of attending a Showcase.
On a final note, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention the fabulous buffets that were provided. There were enough quiches and cupcake and cakes (oh my!) for everyone to fill their boots and then some, and as Jennifer of Next Door Dance said, ‘it isn’t very often that we receive ‘perks’ from working in the arts…but the buffets! Such a treat.’ Hear! Hear!
A big thank you to everyone who came. We’re already looking forward to the 2020 Showcases… See you there!
Photography credit: David Lane.