We like theatre here at Creative Towers, especially innovative initiatives. In the past we blogged about Hatch and Neat on various occasions, so as soon as we noticed the new twitter account for @fontfestnotts – Hitting the streets of Hockley from 27th to 31st May 2015 – we wanted to know more. Gareth Morgan, one of the co-producers, explains:
FONT Fest came out of a desire to see, support and strengthen the work being produced by emerging theatre companies in Nottingham.
I’m going to go out there and say it. Whilst there is brilliant work being made in Derby, Leicester and further afield in the East Midlands, Nottingham is the creative heart of the region. Of the eight Leicester Curve and IdeasTap’s Breakthrough Companies, five are based in Nottingham and from the four In Good Company mentored companies, a collaboration between Derby Theatre, Create in Mansfield and Attenborough Arts Centre in Leicester, there is a further two. Despite all of this, Nottingham doesn’t seem to be as “on it” as these places – these two development strands are a case in point. So, we decided to do something about it ourselves.
Inspired by the work of organisations and events like Hatch, Neat festival and the now-defunct Theatre Writing Partnership, we wanted to start something which can evolve alongside these institutions and work with a wide breadth of artists: from playwrights making more traditional theatre to performance artists, dancers, comics and poets. The live performance element is the core part and this is what will be popping up in venues in Hockley, centring around Broad Street, from 27th to 31st May.
I and the others involved in setting up the festival are local theatre-makers or producers and we’re often talking to other artists – they’re who we hang out with usually. We felt that we’d moaned and harped on about “doing something” for long enough so we concluded that we wanted to create a platform for us and these other artists to perform their work for an audience in the city where it’s created and at an affordable price for these local audiences.
We have no central funding and the £6 you might pay to come and see one of these brilliant shows will go 100% to the artists who made it. Neither the festival nor the venues (although I’ve assured them that the audiences will be thirsty and support them by having a drink or two whilst they watch) get none of this. We want the artists to be financially supported and maybe this £6 offering from you to see their work helps them have another day of development on a new project down the line. To quote a horrible conglomerate monster, “every little helps”. With this philosophy underpinning the festival I’ve spent the last few weeks blagging space and favours from half of Hockley, all of whom have been brilliantly accommodating. LoftHouse, Lee Rosy’s and Rough Trade are all on board and we hope we can announce one or two more venues soon!
Of the shows we’ve announced so far Fowl Humour’s production of Honest has caught my eye and I’ve seen The Gramophones’ End to End before and it’s great fun. There will be more and more stuff being announced as the start of the festival nears – including the winners of our No Lie Notts monologue playwriting competition. Equally, our Artists’ Discussion event on Sunday 31st May is your chance to join a creative conversation around how we continue to nurture and develop new work for theatre in the East Midlands. All the tickets can be booked here.
FONT was founded by local artists for both artists and audiences and we’d love you to be one of those with us. Have a look at the shows and take a punt, maybe you’ll see something that changes how you see performance forever and maybe you won’t but for just £6 which all goes back directly to the artists it’s an investment in Nottingham’s creative future.