What Cultural investment can do to communities (as seen in Hull).
So here we are.. Post Edinburgh. Firstly I'd like to say Thank You to everyone who went to see ALL WE EVER WANTED WAS EVERYTHING. It was a dream project with the dream people and it went better than I could have ever hoped for - not only in Edinburgh but in Hull where thousands of non-traditional theatre audiences engaged with a story about our generation, had a good night out, and reflected on the way we live our lives in our specific society. The success in Edinburgh was the icing on the cake of the experience in Hull. Middle Child are my favorite theatre company - this has been a match made in heaven and as they branch their wings into NPO status they will diversify the voices they tell stories with but I'll always be waiting to do the next project with them (hopefully not too long away).
But here's the thing I really want to say. This project was never about me or even, really, about Middle Child - it was always about Hull. What the Capital of Culture has done to that city is unearthed the potential of a generation of Artists that other wise would have remained in the shadows in a city that had no confidence in its self. Capital of Culture invested in the cultural community of the city and the rewards are there for everyone to see in Middle Child, Silent Uproar, Pub Corner Poets and Bellow. A generation of companies dedicated to making their work for a community and beyond. When you give artists the support to make the work they cannot make due to time and money suddenly communities rejuvinate, have confidence and become somewhere that people have pride to live in. I've seen this in Hull from my first experience there in 2013 to now. The movement of ACE money from London to the rest of the UK is welcome in my eyes - we need all communities to have a confidence in where they live and, for me, confidence comes from Culture. Invest in Culture and see communities emerge from the shadows. Hull is the biggest winner from all this and I'm proud to have been a part of it.
The same also has to be said for Paines Plough - a world leading new writing theatre company who's support of this project (& Middle Child) has been above and beyond the call of duty. Giving platform and possibility to companies doing their best for their community for years and they don't get celebrated enough for this work. James, George, Hannah, Francesca and the rest of the team's support has been welcome to me on a writing level and to the company for a whole host of reasons.
As I said - this was never about me - but I think we should pay attention to what CoC has done for Hull and what larger companies like Paines Plough are doing not only for companies but for communities around the UK.
I hope it long continues and sooner rather than later we have art everywhere for everyone and not just for London... Then we can see communities across the UK take confidence in themselves and, eventually, people will see that living in London is not the be all and end all - what we need is a place we take pride in, a home, a community and that all starts with Art. For the many, not the few, (lol).