On Monday I was in London to meet Michael Boyd, Deborah Shaw and Geraldine Collinge at the Royal Shakespeare Company’s offices in Covent Garden. We discussed what we had learned from the VAN/RSC creative planning weekend that we held in Stratford-upon-Avon at the beginning of November and agreed the main components for the pro/am strand of the 2012 World Shakespeare Festival. The details will be announced early in the New Year but it looks like being a fantastic opportunity to showcase the creativity and talent in amateur arts groups across the UK. There will be a series of professional/amateur collaborative productions across the country in 2012 as well as the chance for the best amateur theatre groups to perform on the Royal Shakespeare Theatre stage in Stratford. I was impressed again by the RSC’s enthusiasm and determination to create a genuinely two-way collaboration in which the professionals have much to learn from the amateurs. I hope our work together on the World Shakespeare Festival will also become a model for how other major professional arts organisations could collaborate effectively with the voluntary arts sector.
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