Be Part of the Story!
This questionnaire seeks to understand the ‘creative ecology’ of Bristol and the South West regions, with a special focus on theatre and performance. This is part of a bigger British Academy-funded project on regional audiences.
Why am I doing this? Within both the national press and arts funding processes, there's a tendency to divert disproportionate attention to London. Where the South West does get noticed, this often only raises the profile of a few big regional institutions. In these narratives other forms of theatre-making risk being overlooked. This project aims to make visible all the amazing creative work that happens in and around the region, as well as to understand how this work might better be supported.
This research project will culminate in a series of publications, including at least one book about theatre in the West Country, and will I hope also help to inform future policy. By filling in this questionnaire you can be a part of this story.
Who is eligible? It doesn’t matter who you are, what age, or where you live; whether you work independently, see yourself as an amateur artist, run your own company or work for a big cultural institution. As long as you think of yourself as someone involved (in any way) in making live performance (of any kind) happen in Bristol or the South West, or if you're an artist who comes from here but now makes work elsewhere, I would love to hear from you. As I hope this shows, I'm defining all these terms very broadly. Through the following questions I'm interested in finding out what ‘performance’ means to you, as well as how you define places like ‘Bristol’ or ‘the South West’ (working on the understanding that these terms and boundaries are always inherently problematic). What does it mean to make performance happen here? And how does your work fit in?
Note: Some of the questions will ask you to define your work in ways that might feel overly restrictive. For that reason, I want you to feel free to fil in this survey multiple times, if you like, to better reflect your multiple creative identities. e.g. You might perhaps want to fill out the questionnaire once speaking from your role within a specific cultural organisation, and then again from the perspective of an independent artist, etc.
Questions have been designed quite loosely in an attempt to capture the place of your work in the wider ecology, with its big cultural institutions and its network of independent creative artists. What takes place within dedicated theatre buildings, and what happens outside? What kind of work can the South West region support – and where does this support fall short? And who is a ‘regional’ audience, anyway?