Over the past ten months, our members of the Arts Working Group have really valued taking time from their busy week, taking a step back, and understanding that while you might feel isolated working at home or on furlough, you are not alone in facing the complex new challenges facing our organisations.
The purpose of the network is to further open up the connections and contacts of the sector across all areas of the UK and Ireland. Consider this project ‘A Tale of Two Theatres’ or your ‘pandemic penpal’. The basic premise of this network is to break the stigma of isolation and bring theatres and creatives together to share ideas and reach out to the rarest of people - those who are going through the same problems, facing the same dilemmas and asking the same questions as you.
Like all meaningful relationships, there has to be some give and take. Not only should you expect to gain knowledge, contacts, and resources from this project, but you will also be expected to play an important part in the value to be gained by all.
We’re encouraging all of our members to engage with the entire network, reach out to their paired theatres and groups, share insights and work together to help the industry we love weather the storm and come back stronger than before We strongly believe that only by offering the hand of friendship to help our partners rise will we be able to stand together to face an uncertain future.
Expect various experiences, different debates, complete honesty, transparency, gain trust and build new friendships!
Don’t panic! The work involved in making new friends isn’t for one person alone and we’re not just welcoming organisation managers, we want the entire team to take part in this project. This means everyone can get involved to make friends, contacts, swap ideas, share stories and feel a little less alone. This includes your Front of House Staff, Technical Crew, Box Office Team, Marketing experts and booking gurus.
There are no hard or fast rules to how you maintain communication with your pandemic penpal but the AWG Network is built on trust and respect. So treat members of other teams with the same decency and appreciation as you’d expect from your own team. How you allow this opportunity to form is entirely up to you, we’re not prescribing any rules apart from kindness. The purpose of the network is value and not something that is a massive undertaking. You may keep in touch every few months with an email or a quick call, or you might realise that the box office teams have a thriving WhatsApp group.
With an open mind and open communication, an example of some of the benefits you can expect from joining the network are;
Meeting with new peers and like-minded people with similar interests
Building a supportive network in times where we’re all facing new challenges
Sharing ideas and sharing what has and hasn’t worked. Using these insights to inform your new campaigns and programmes and avoid the pitfalls found by others.
Tips & Tricks (for example around new refund policies/ social distancing/ disgruntled customers/ agent contracts and expectations)
Right now although we’re not physically in our venues, we’re the beating heart keeping our beloved organisations alive and ready to welcome theatre lovers once more — a total team effort! So make sure you’ve included anyone who’s interested. From the artistic director to your new intern. Everyone who is important to you is important to us and everyone has a role to play.
Simply, reach out. We’re a friendly bunch and want to make sure everyone gets the most from the network. You can fill out the online form so we can start to find your perfect match, or drop us a line if you want to chat further.