Austerity

Theatres Trust Conference 2013: “Thriving theatres” open for bookings


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This year’s Theatres Trust conference provides a unique opportunity to look at how theatres can create a more resilient future by using their buildings to achieve financial self-sufficiency.

thriving theatres takes place on the 11 June 2013 at St James Theatre, the splendid new 312-seat venue in the heart of Victoria in London.

The title of the conference, thriving theatres is in part provocative as many theatres consider the question of how best to survive in these times of austerity and deal with major changes in the role of the public sector to both deliver and fund services. It is also a call to all those who aspire towards a thriving economy, more engaged communities, and healthier people and innovation, to see that theatres can provide solutions and are worth the investment.

thriving theatres will provide an opportunity to hear from theatres undertaking capital projects and initiatives designed to help them thrive into the future.

The conference provides an opportunity to meet and share ideas with other theatres, professional specialists, government and arts policy makers, theatre consultants and architects. So if you are planning a capital project – or want to find out how you can make the most of your theatre building book now for thriving theatres.

Conference Chairman
Vikki Heywood CBE

Session chairs
Nigel Hugill, Chair, The Royal Shakespeare Company and Executive Chairman, Urban&Civic
Dave Moutrey, Director & Chief Executive, Cornerhouse & Library Theatre Company
Anna Stapleton, Administrative Director, Citizens Theatre, Glasgow

Book now!
Earlybird discounts end 10 May 2013

Conference Fee includes a light lunch and attendance at the Conference Reception.

Contributors include
Deborah Aydon, Executive Director, Liverpool Everyman
Ian Pratt, Vice Chairman and Technical Director, Kings Theatre Southsea
Jessica Hepburn, Executive Director and Joint Chief Executive, Lyric Hammersmith
Moira Swinbank OBE, Chief Executive, Legacy Trust UK
Martin Sutherland, Chief Executive, Northamptonshire Arts Management Trust
Martin Halliday, Chief Executive, Lowestoft Marina
Alan Bishop, Chief Executive, Southbank Centre
Trudi Elliott CBE, Chief Executive, The Royal Town Planning Institute
Peter Steer, Director, Derby Hippodrome Preservation Trust
Jim Beirne, Chief Executive, Live Theatre, Newcastle
Colin Marr, Director, Eden Court, Inverness
Rob Harris, Director, Arup
Neil Constable, Chief Executive, Shakespeare’s Globe, London
Jack Mellor, Theatre Manager, Theatre Royal, Plymouth

New metaphors for sustainability: symbiosis

This post comes to you from Ashden Directory

Zoë Svendsen, theatre director and researcher, continues our series New metaphors for sustainability by turning to ‘symbiosis’ as a better term.

When I was given the challenge of thinking about a metaphor for sustainability, I realized I didn’t really know what it was, other than the idea that maybe you shouldn’t do quite so much of something so that you could do things again in the future. But then I got to thinking about the underlying questions. What do we need to sustain? What’s the idea of sustainability? It’s linked to current discourses against consumption and to ideas about austerity and about doing less.

What could you replace sustainability with as a metaphor that would allow you to do something as opposed to just not doing something? I was thinking about things like conversation and reciprocity and some kind of interaction with your environment that didn’t deny the pleasures of exchange and of use. I eventually arrived at the term ‘symbiosis’ and symbiotic thinking.

What’s interesting about the term ‘symbiosis’, is that as a metaphor it takes us away from the ‘nature versus culture’ idea or ‘human benefit versus benefit for nature or the environment’, and rather asks us to think about how there might be certain kinds of human symbiotic interactions and at the same time benefits for the environment.

The symbol for this kind of activity are bees, and bee-keeping. There can be a human relationship to these kinds of symbiotic practices that happen in the environment already – such as the spreading of pollen and the creating of honey.

And around that word ‘symbiosis’, there’s a whole series of other underlying terms or thoughts that could be replaced. Instead of thinking about ‘austerity’ – which is a negative thinking towards the future – that we can always only do less and life isn’t going to be as good – you might replace that with ‘ingenuity’. This celebrates invention and entrepreneurialism and thinks about what’s at hand and what possible in what may be limited circumstance but treats those circumstances as a pleasureable challenge.

Part of the problem with austerity is that it makes you want to rebel. I have occasional bouts of recycling rebellion – I go ‘fuck it’ and throw it away. ‘I want to waste, I don’t want to be sensible’.

This is something to do with the moral imperative around the idea of austerity – it’s just not fun. Part of the idea about  ‘symbiosis’, is that you don’t have that same kind of moral anxiety around all of your actions. You’re directed to a positive action instead of endlessly thinking about the negative – which just makes you want to be naughty and not do it.

Zoë is included in our film

 

“ashdenizen blog and twitter are consistently among the best sources for information and reflection on developments in the field of arts and climate change in the UK” (2020 Network)

The editors are Robert Butler and Wallace Heim. The associate editor is Kellie Gutman. The editorial adviser is Patricia Morison.

Robert Butler’s most recent publication is The Alchemist Exposed (Oberon 2006). From 1995-2000 he was drama critic of the Independent on Sunday. See www.robertbutler.info

Wallace Heim has written on social practice art and the work of PLATFORM, Basia Irland and Shelley Sacks. Her doctorate in philosophy investigated nature and performance. Her previous career was as a set designer for theatre and television/film.

Kellie Gutman worked with the Aga Khan Trust for Culture for twenty years, producing video programmes and slide presentations for both the Aga Khan Foundation and the Award for Architecture.

Patricia Morison is an executive officer of the Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts, a group of grant-making trusts of which the Ashden Trust is one.

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