Taking a hard look at borders, real and imagined, how to move beyond them? Looking for sustainability, how to face up to climate change? With public policy shifts, how to influence policy-makers and funders to invest in the arts? With the rise of superstar festivals and international companies, what does the future of production and programming look like? With inequality in our midst, how to shape an equitable culture right across our sector?
There are some big challenges that we face along with our colleagues and organisations, funders and policy makers, and audiences. No question stands alone. They intersect one with the other and in different ways for everyone and every organisation.
Wednesday 20 June
TheatreNI Members’ Meeting – Representatives from the Local Authorities Arts Managers’ group and NI delegates will discuss the challenges and opportunities of touring theatre and performing arts to regional venues across Northern Ireland.
Theatre Forum Members’ Meeting – Update on the Review of Venues by the Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaion and Local Government, through the County and City Management Association (CCMA). After wide consultation with various relevant individuals and groups the review is now coming to its conclusion. Val Ballance from the Arts Council will give an update on the review, the consultation that has taken place, the next steps in considering the review and the likely process for implementation of findings.
Bus pick up 11:45 – collect from Belfast Central station (meeting 9.30 Dublin train) and bring to Lyric Theatre (15 minute journey). If you prefer to walk, here are directions.
From 12.30 Registration and lunch
Welcome from the Lyric Theatre, and Theatre Forum and TheatreNI Chairs
Brexit, Beyond Borders
In a keynote address Fintan O’Toole, awarded the European Press Prize and Orwell Prize for Journalism, asks how to move beyond borders in a post-Brexit world. Award-winning playwright Abbie Spallen responds from her own border viewpoint. Venue director Patricia McBride reflects on her many border crossings. This session concludes with Sophie Hayles, Northern Ireland Creative Europe Desk, in conversation with acclaimed director Emma Jordan about supports for artists who want to work beyond borders.
Brexit Shorts, Dramas from a Divided Nation screening
The Guardian’s pioneering dramatic collaboration inspired by last year’s EU Referendum offers characters who lay bare our complex responses.
Climate Change – To Sustainability and Beyond
This is the topic we love to avoid – but can we afford to? If we see combating Climate Change as the world’s biggest adventure narrative, does that help to confront it? In this session led by Catríona Fallon, CEO of Siamsa Tíre, a group of change agents including Ben Twist, Director of Creative Carbon Scotland, Catherine Bottrill, Creative Green Lead at Julie’s Bicycle and artist, Rachel Helena Walsh, arm us with the mindset and actions essential for an environmentally sustainable society.
Influencing policy makers and funders
Given recent shifts in arts policy and serious funding cuts, Cian O’Brien of the National Campaign For the Arts (NCFA), Conor Shields of Arts Matter NI, Jennifer Hunter of Culture Counts and delegates examine how our sector might exert influence on policy makers and funders to invest more in the arts.
Quartered: Belfast, A Love Story by Kabosh
16.30, 17.30, 18.30, 19.30
Promenade performance’s by Kabosh combining audio and theatre that explore the idea of queer space and queer experiences of spaces in Belfast city.
18.00 Close and bus transfer from the Lyric Theatre to the Titanic Quarter. If you prefer to walk, here are directions.
18.30 Reception in Titanic Belfast’s Andrew’s Gallery
20.00 Dinner in the Titanic Hotel’s Drawing Office One.
22.00-late Music in the Titanic Hotel.
Thursday 21 June
Bus pick ups – 8.30, 9:10, 9:50 our Belfast Bus Company bus will collect from Titanic Hotel and bring you to the Lyric Theatre. If you prefer to walk, here are directions.
From 9.00 Breakfast talks or yoga
Join conference speakers round the breakfast table for informal talks or, if you prefer, an early morning yoga session.
The Future of Production
With the rise of superstar festivals and a matrix of international artists and companies John McGrath, Manchester International Festival’s CEO & Artistic Director, explores what the future of programming and production look like. In a follow-on discussion chaired by Jen Coppinger, John is joined by Louise Lowe, ANU Production’s Artistic Director, Judith Knight, Director of Arts Admin and Fearghus Ó Conchúir, incoming Director of National Dance Company Wales.
Gender Equality Working Group update
On behalf of the Gender Equality Working Group established after #WakingTheFeminists, Olwen Dawe shares the experience and expertise acquired in taking the practical steps to put gender equality policies in place in our theatres and workplaces.
Equality and Reshaping the Culture
How to shape an equitable culture in the performing arts? Hear from academic and author Anne-Marie Quigg in conversation with Tanya Dean on the roots of bullying and harassment in the arts workplace as well as her advice for best practice. Catriona McLaughlin will deliver the conference closing address on the value of equality in the arts.
15.00 Conference closes
Bus drop 15:15 our Belfast Bus Company bus will collect from Lyric Theatre and bring you to Belfast Central station (Dublin train is at 16:05). If you prefer to walk, here are directions.
Additional meetings after conference close
15.00-16.30 Get Certified Green project group meeting
Venues and festivals meet with Julie’s Bicycle, Theatre Forum and TheatreNI to plan a new Ireland and Northern Ireland Get Certified Green initiative.
15.00-17.00 Fun Palaces Workshop for community groups
Workshop for community groups with Stella Duffy of Fun Palaces. Hosted by Zoe Seaton of Big Telly Theatre Company.