The Anywhere Theatre Festival is a brand spanking new festival for theatre anywhere but traditional theatre venues; Parks, houses, cars, public toilets, and even online.
The 2011 Anywhere Theatre Festival was the inaugural festival, running 5-14 May 2011 in and around the Greater Brisbane and Ipswich City Limits.
Over the ten days there were 152 performances of 38 different productions performed from; the centre of Brisbane through to an interactive online performance available to Brisbane residents being performed in Germany, Norway, U.K, U.S.A and Spain. The average audience attendance to events was just over an incredible 75%.
The festival was run by Anywhere Theatre Festival Limited - a Brisbane based not-for-profit company with a vision to propel a world-wide trend for exciting engaging, passionate theatre outside of traditional theatre spaces.
The concept was to provide the marketing and box office framework that would allow independent companies to spend more time on the development and presentation of their work.
More info at http://anywherefest.com/
“We want to propel a world-wide trend for exciting engaging, passionate theatre outside of traditional theatre spaces” Paul Osuch
How was the space first identified and who was contacted to secure it?
Brisbane was identified as the location as it was felt there was a surge in interest from potential audiences and theatre practitioners for work outside of traditional theatres. Brisbane is traditionally known as having a lower % population attendance at theatre. Given that hiring venues in the small amount of existing theatre spaces (Metro, Powerhouse, QPAC, etc) is highly competitive, the opportunity to provide wider access to artists and audiences alike beyond these traditional spaces was identified.
Spaces were either identified by the artists creating the work or were brokered by the Festival in communication with the Brisbane City Council and the needs of the work.
What was required to secure the spaces?
Despite Brisbane being hit mid way through the festival preparation with the floods in January, Brisbane City Council were very supportive in being able to provide free access and support to all public spaces.
They also helped linking the various elements of council together to ensure productions were adhering to all regulations that would affect them by performing in non traditional spaces, of which a lot were in residential areas with potential noise, parking, light and insurance issues.
What needed to be provided by you as hirer or user of the space?
This depended on the specifications of each of the works. In most cases artists would approach us with the concept and an idea of where they wanted to perform and what they would need. And we provided instructions and lists to help them find their venues, negotiate contracts, determine ticket prices and marketing plans and undertake a risk assessment.
What were the costs?
The main costs for us as a festival were in providing the infrastructure. It was vital for us to provide the resources to empower performers to focus on their work and leverage our activities for audience attraction.
What were the resources available to you?
We were supported with a $10,000 grant from Arts Queensland. Beyond that, we relied on generous in-kind support from Oblong + Sons who implemented the branding and all design from programs to web site, Quest Newspapers who provided free advertising and editorial support, Image Solutions (Aaron Singfield) for video and photographic work and the Queensland Arts Council to bring up Roundabout theatre for a performance as part of the festival.
Who helped you to fit it out?
Without Arts Queensland, Oblong + Sons, Quest Newspapers, Image Solutions and Queensland Arts Council there is no way the festival would have been the success it was.
What were/are the obstacles?
As it was the first year of a new festival we predicted that the main obstacle would be getting people as excited about the concept as we were. We initially set up to have a festival with 10 productions and 40 performances. We ended up with 152, with almost all of those performances being very well attended!
Coordinating all the companies to ensure the administrative and legal elements were completed would probably be the main obstacle we faced.
What were/are the risks?
The major risks were ensuring that all the productions and performances happened, as they were all run independently we had very little control. The centralised box office was a huge support for this issue, as it allowed us to keep in contact and guarantee that we know who had paid and booked to see a show.
Who were the Companies involved in the 2011 Festival?
Black Fox Theatre, Allison Manson, Imploding Fictions (Norway, U.K., U.S.A, Spain, Germany), Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble, Candy Royale (NSW), Somerset Mills (Qld), Spangled Aura (Qld), Circa (Qld), Underground Productions (Qld), Divalution (Qld), Edge Improve (Qld), Cracked Pavement Productions (VIC), Flipside Circus (Qld), Riot Stage, Vanguard Youth Theatre (Qld), Roundabout Theatre (NSW), Queensland Arts Council (Qld), Booster Cushion (U.K), The Deconverters (NSW), Fractal Theatre (Qld), Two Hours Traffic (U.S.A/Qld), Cradle Productions (VIC), Soapbox Theatre (Qld)