This June the Performing Arts Track students from our MACAM program came to London for three days to explore the city and to meet with cultural entrepeneurs from both the public and private sectors. With their professor Fabrice Bonniot, they interviewed practioners from the Barbican Centre, the National Theatre, ‘Late at Tate’ and the immersive theatre production, Alice’s Adventures Underground.
Chris Sharp, Contemporary Music Programmer at the Barbican, took us for a tour of the Barbican- a utopian and brutaliste estate built in 1976 by Chamberlain, Powell and Bon in place of the bombed area in the centre of the City of London. He then discussed his own career and experience before discussing the networks involved in the contemporary music sector and the goals of the Barbican. We then saw« Obsession » by Ivo van Hove and starring Jude Law thus rounding off a perfect visit.
Off then to the National Theatre to see the stellar production of « Salome » and meet Project Producer, Fran Miller. Fran provided an insightful analysis of the stakes of the post-Brexit theatre sector in the UK and the rise of the smaller-scale festival. We delved into the opportunities and platforms for younger producers in the current economic climate, ways in which smaller productions could get startups and discussed the impact of the reduction of national support for the arts.
Adrian Shaw, programmer of the Late at Tate, gave us an intensive and fascinating account about the challenges of managing evening events in a national collection like the Tate’s. Created in1993, the Late at Tate was one of the first institution outreach programs of this kind.
Alice’s Adventures Underground at the Vault’s is an immersive theatre production located under the Waterloo tube station. This production reinterpreting Alice in Wonderland opened in Spring 2015 and has been very successful at catching a target audience of theatre goers who want to engage in a new way, especially by interacting with the players. We met Katie Shahatit, Production Manager, who walked us through the complicated logistics involved - 600 visitors have to be scheduled in groups of 15 over a 5 hour period each day. Depending on whether you choose « Eat Me » or « Drink Me » you travel through a different play.
Last but not least our MACAMs met the directors of the Oval Space, a multi-use arts and music venue in East London. Coming to London and learning how different creative entrepreneurs have instigated, developed and marketed their ideas is an invaluable experience for our international students, while conversing in small groups and networking creates opportunities for students and their futures.