2013

…and so it begins, 2013 looks to be shaping up rather well so far with the news from Arts Council England that BE Festival was successful in it’s funding application to Grants for the Arts and will go ahead.  I am really excited about this, about making the festival bigger and better, fine tuning the processes and becoming as robust as we can for the future over the next 12 months.  There is already much to do – contracts to pull together, catering tender to draft, further funding bids to finalise, interns to meet and brief programming is underway and the Visual Arts Programme Call for Artists is now open.

I also have other irons in the fire (news to follow) and despite the continued cuts to the cultural sector, the omission of arts and culture to the EBacc by Michael Gove, it seems that presently arts organisations (not all but many) are continuing to develop, find new ways of working together, and providing great things in the city and remain ambitious in their planning and programming.

Plus is the Venice Biennale this year!  Hurray, plans afoot to visit later in the year!  Can’t wait.

 

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2012

2012 has been brilliant!  It was my first proper year of working for myself and I have thoroughly enjoyed the variety and flexibility it has bought me.  I have got to work with old friends and new, at venues that I have always wanted to be a small part of but and I have also been to see new and exciting arts and cultural experiences that, despite the continued cuts to the sector and economic climate, have enthralled, challenged and excited me.  I have been pushed outside of my comfort zone (working on my first proper tour) and learnt new skills, it certainly hasn’t been all plain sailing and it has sometimes been hard work (good for us all) but I have had fun, laughed an enormous amount and can only hope that 2013 brings with it as much success and enjoyment that this year has.

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Birthday Girl

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The Olympics

Mark and I were fortunate enough to ‘win’ tickets to The Olympic Athletics in the ticket lottery and unbeknown to us, that it would be for one of the greatest athletics evenings ever!  Yes, you’ve guessed it we got to see Super Saturday and the winning of not 1, not 2 but 3 Gold British Medals.

It will remain as one of the most unbelievable nights of my life, and what a night! I can hardly put into words how amazing both the Olympic Park itself and the Stadium are, and the noise of the crowd on that evening.  The roars and cheers were like nothing I have ever heard before, or will ever hear again.  Mo Farrah and Jessica Ennis must have been  carried round the track by the roar itself, you could not even hear your own scream!  It was a privilege to be there, moving and bonkers all at once. Even the planting round the park is wonderful (see below)

The organisation is a triumph, with us barely having to queue for anything, not even the water taps, toilets or for drinks!  Well Done LOCOG and Well done TEAM GB – I only wish I could go back!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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and so it is

that I have just had one of the longest and busiest times in my life working on BE Festival and it has been a blast. I have seen amazing European Theatre, I have met some amazing people and it has been brilliant to be a part of.  We have worked really hard (and now continue to work on the evaluation, interim report and pending tour in October) and are all looking forward to a well earned rest this weekend.

Highlights of the festival for me included:

MTG Botlek and their performance of Feinting

Passe-Partout Dan Puric and their hilarious shorts

Carles Casallachs and the funny, shocking and crazy Por Sal y Samba

and of course the marvellous Solfatara by A Tres Bandes, who knew puff pastry could be so hilarious.

If you missed any of it (why?) then you can catch some of the Best of BE on tour this Autumn… watch this space for details.

On another note, if we get a break in the weather I am hoping to catch some of Six Summer Saturdays this weekend. Inparticular PIG. Fingers Crossed.

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Cricket & Bees

And so this weekend saw my first visit to the Cricket at Edgbaston in Birmingham.  We were up in the new Skyline stand which gave an amazing view, and had the sun been a blazing it would have been marvellous.  As it was it was pretty nippy up there, however this was the only thing to take the edge off the day.  I thoroughly enjoyed myself, surprisingly so as I didn’t think I liked Cricket but it turns out I do.  I now understand the overs, the wickets and what 208 – 6 means!  The company was great too, and made for lots of laughter and banter.  I fancy seeing some 20- 20 now, as the pace will be quicker…

Sunday was a busy day with lots to do in the allotment and garden… however the list got even bigger as when I popped over the allotment to open the red shed, I could hear quite a lots of noise, i turned round to see the bees had decided to swarm and so many jobs got shelved to deal with this.  Fortunately I had caught them ‘at it’ as it were and they settled in a reachable place, however despite knocking them into a bee skep, we think they have now returned to the hive.  This is annoying as it means they will probably swarm again and it is unlikely we will be fortunate enough to be around to catch them… we shall see.

Here is a pic up Mark and Anita surveying the scene:

oh and a big up to Miss A Poppins for looking after my daughter!  Thank you!

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It’s been a while since I have blogged, for many reasons, partly because I have been away in Turkey, and then on my return to the UK it has been sunny sunny sunny so I have been trying to make the most of being outside in the allotment and catch up on the planting.  Not only have we done this (the beans and carrots are ready to go in, peas are in, potatoes being earthed up, courgettes in, salad in, leeks in) we have rebuilt new compost bins (and i have moved 2 lots of compost from old sites – which was a really crap job but necessary) and we have started to re gravel the area’s between the beds.  It is really looking great out there at the moment.  Ironically after all the rain though, it takes nearly an hour to water properly.

I am also settling in at BE Festival, which has been fab, there is lots to do and I can feel the pressure hotting up as we now have only 5 weeks to go!  The Programme is finalised, the website is being updated for 2012 and the team are finalising the operational elements of the festival.

As we gather pace, we continue to look for volunteers and hosts to be involved in the festival.  Follow the links for more info.

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BE Festival

I was very excited to be starting at BE Festival this week.  Although it means it has been pretty hectic as I have been juggling work, home and pleasure, it has been a great first week.  I feel (and I hope) that I have fitted in where needed and that going forward I am going to become part of what seems like a great partnership and vision.

There is lots to do and with the Festival happening in the first week of July, it all needs doing now or very soon, so I have hit the ground running and it feels great.  Its good to get stuck in, and there is an energy about it all which can only be a good thing.  I’ll keep you posted on the programme as i know more …. watch this space

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Berlin Love Tour

It was bitterly cold, the wind was biting and it felt more like January than a ‘cool’ April evening. However this did not deter me from the fun I had on Berlin Love Tour, part of this year’s Fierce Festival 2012.

To begin with it is quite unusual, funny and bizarre, walking round a familiar city being told you are standing at the Brandenburg Gate, Hitler’s Bunker or the Wall, when you are in fact in Brindley Place. Watching passes by wondering what you are doing is a fun side-line however, before I knew it I was totally absorbed in the history and culture of Berlin, and not only did I find myself suspending my belief about where I was, but also taken on an extraordinary tour of love, lost and remembering.

This is no ordinary tour, indeed you move from a traditional city tour to a personal journey with your guide who is both informative and moving in her words! You learn about the love in her life, the loss of it yet it cleverly links with the city, its history and her history coming together as one, the themes of memorial, remembering, forgetting, moving on, and understanding linking both your narrator and the history of the city and its people.

At our last stop, although cold (at one point I thought I would never feel my fingers again) I had truly been moved. The end was just… beautiful. Berlin Love Tour you warmed my heart!

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Fierce Festival Update

I cannot describe the delight I got from seeing Dachshund UN and all those lovely dogs!  Bennet Millers Dachshund U.N. is described as a large scale architectural installation and a performance work that examines the role of the United Nations as a risk management organisation.  The scale replica of a former U.N. office in Geneva, Switzerland, was constructed outside Ikon on Saturday at which we saw it host a meeting of the U.N.’s Commission on Human Rights, at which the world’s politicians were live dachshunds.

There was quite a crowd, quite a lot of dogs, a real buzz in the air and rightly it was the  joyful and chaotic experiment it had been billed as.  It was interesting to see which countries were most ‘vocal’ and those others entering into a ‘special relationship’ the irony of which was not lost on anybody.  To see international work of this scale in Birmingham was a joy, and to see so many people watching, photographing, laughing and reacting even better.  More please!

 

 

 

On the other end of the spectrum I then visited Graeme Miller’s ‘Track’ a moveable participatory installation, which couldnt have been more different.  I laydown on the track and was moved by a ‘grip’ on a slow, smooth journey along a 100 metre length of dolly track while gazing upward to the concrete toweres and weaving motorway of spaghetti junction.  Despite its iconic landmark status and grey conrete stature the journey was surprisingly serene and immersive.  I was surprised how long it took to move the 100meters and how different things looked and sounded.  It wasnt what I had expected to experience at all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next up, Berlin Love Tour on Wednesday!

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