Cultural Playing Field

Developing leadership in community groups by Robin Simpson
December 5, 2008, 3:11 pm
Filed under: meetings | Tags: , , , , ,

On Monday I was in London to attend a meeting of the Community Sector Coalition Steering Group for the Leadership & Governance National Support Service. Our discussions focused on one particular strand of the new support service which aims to address the need to improve leadership skills in small community groups. All the National Support Services funded by Capacitybuilders are designed to build capacity in front-line, grassroots, voluntary and community sector groups by working with ‘support providers’ including infrastructure organisations and umbrella bodies. In this case a pilot programme of training is planned for development workers in support providers working with local community groups to enable them to champion leadership skills. On Monday we met the consultants who have been contracted to deliver this pilot programme and helped them to start to design the training. I am very keen to ensure that at least one voluntary arts umbrella body is involved in the first training sessions, which are likely to take place in Spring 2009.

Robin Simpson.


Planning the 2012 World Shakespeare Festival by Robin Simpson
December 5, 2008, 3:09 pm
Filed under: meetings | Tags: , , ,

Last Friday I was in Stratford-upon-Avon to meet Deborah Shaw at the Royal Shakespeare Company. Deborah is responsible for the 2012 World Shakespeare Festival which will take place from April – July 2012. Activities will happen around the UK but the main focus will be on London, Stratford and Newcastle. The RSC is hoping to work with schools and non-professional theatre and to use this opportunity to develop interaction between professional and amateur drama. There will be an emphasis on learning from each other and using Shakespeare to explore a wide range of themes in creative ways – not just a series of conventional staged productions. We are still at a very early stage: the details of the festival do not have to be finalised until September 2009. Deborah is keen to involve the Voluntary Arts Network and the amateur drama umbrella bodies in developing the way the festival will involve non-professional theatre. The RSC has agreed to host a major voluntary arts consultative meeting in Stratford in March 2009. This will provide an opportunity for the amateur theatre umbrella bodies and representative organisations to work with the RSC to help to design the World Shakespeare Festival. I think this in itself is a significant step forward – the voluntary arts being offered the chance to develop a way of working with the RSC that we hope will lay the ground for further similar collaboration beyond 2012.

Robin Simpson.