Next steps for the Booth Centre and Royal Exchange Theatre partnership.
There is an obvious danger at the end of any funded programme of this nature. Valuable lessons have been learned, a strong collaborative partnership has been established, and many individual participants have benefitted and have considerably raised their expectations both of their own potential and of what is culturally accessible to them. But this has taken dedicated time and financial resources; will all of this vanish when the additional resources are no longer available? Can any of the approaches that have been developed become embedded into the work of the two organisations?
The Booth Centre and the Royal Exchange Theatre have put some plans in place for this next, transitional period. The organisations involved have spoken about the partnership changing rather than ending. The plans include:
1. Continuation of the regular weekly drama sessions with The Edge Theatre and Arts Centre as a delivery partner. The Artistic Director of The Edge, Janine Waters, is also the drama practitioner who’s been working on the Community Leader Programme so there’s a real sense of consistency of delivery. The Booth Centre received £45,000 in November 2014 from the National Lottery administered by Arts Council England to support this activity for the next three years.
2. The Booth Centre has identified resources to enable participants to attend plays and performances at the Royal Exchange Theatre at reduced rates.
3. The Booth Centre will continue to work with the Royal Exchange as a cultural partner. This will include progression group opportunities for drama group participants as part of a larger Progression Group, which will include participants from other adult programmes run by the Theatre. This will offer its members a range of developmental and creative opportunities to increase understanding about theatre making and other artistic processes. This also includes links with other programmes of work at the Theatre such as the Company of Elders and the Next Stages Social Change writing initiative (managed by the Literary Department).
4. There may be other ad hoc events and activities where one partner seeks the specialist support or involvement of the other.