So much keeps happening, the highs and lows of working in the arts. On the the former front, today a heap of thank yous arrived from Instow School, with lots of words for sound, and material that appeared to be from a lesson or session where the idea had been run with, and the pupils had written more structured poems as a result, as well as photos including a picture of one pupil holding up his list of 56 words - hopefully with pride! but who likes having their picture taken?! It made one feel that the workshops had gone even a bit better than we'd thought.
This followed hot on the heels of a print copy of 20x20 Magazine arriving - and what a delicious addition to any library of literary magazines it makes. Beautifully produced, in its trademark square format, I was as ever really struck by just how good the work is (and not just because I had a piece in it...).
And these followed on from a great review of the stories we did at the Garden of Awen in February, in Tasty Fanzine! Always nice to be appreciated. Apparently Widsith & Deor 'are genuine entertainers' - well, we do (with some tales anyway!) aim to make people laugh as well as think.
We also got a thank you from the person who booked our 'Temptation and Redemption Show'. And 'Not What One Was - A Brief History of the Concept of Justice' a series of political philosophy short snappy essays on current affairs (Cartwheels Collective Publishing's latest book) is starting to sell.
On the downside, the wonderful Northcott Theatre (Exeter's largest theatre) has gone into administration, incredibly. This is very bad news for the arts in E.Devon, as they not only put on a great range of productions from ballet, opera and conventional theatre to contemporary dance, visual/physical theatre and puppetry, but also have a gallery space, massive outreach in the form of a community company and youth theatre, and too much else to mention. It would be disastrous if they were allowed to close. As well as being a huge blow for Exeter University students as it's a resource for drama students and does cut price tickets for everyone who studies or works there.
And of course there are funding cuts everywhere. We storytellers are organizing a fundraising gig in aid of the Centre for Contemporary Art in the Natural World (CCANW) at Haldon Forest Park over Easter, as they, like Spoken/Written, had to resubmit a funding application, and were set the unenviable challenge of raising £20,000 in two months.
Moreover Spoken/Written will, in all likelihood have to split into two with the larger newsletter becoming a paying only service in early summer, as of course, it has only been given funding until the end of July. Shoestrings are getting thinner, and more organizations, groups and artists are having to exist on them. Here's to a spirit of rising to the challenge - it's the only attitude that will keep the arts sector afloat in difficult times.
Check out; 20x20 Magazine
'Not What One Was' at Cartwheels Collective Publishing's Webshop
Fundraiser for CCANW
Centre for Contemporary Art in the Natural World