Comment on... NAMS

Feature in Issue 4-2/3 | Summer/Autumn 1992

In this, the first of our regular Features focusing on an area of importance to Mime and Physical Theatre we take a look at Festivals. Shani Solomons discusses the National Arts and Media Strategy Draft’s definition of Festivals; there is a report from Anne Dennis in Catalunya on the 12th Tarrega Theatre Festival; Alistair Splading writes about the Beyond Words Festival to take place at The Hawth in Crawley this November; and Ellis Rothenberg reports on the marketing of Larger Than Life, the Mime and Physical Theatre Festival that took place last winter in the Southern Arts Region. Debbie Lander from Shinkansen talks about commissions and events they have nurtured through the spirit of the Voice Over festival, and we close with Reports from Companies on their experiences at Festivals in Britain and Overseas.

In the NAMS, Towards a National Strategy produced in the Spring of 1992 they stated that they felt Festivals should be occasions for disruption, surprise and celebration; they should bring the Arts to the attention of people who may not know or care about them; give an opportunity for a community to promote its name and image; bring together disparate talents and bring about an exchange of ideas; be a celebration of cultures and a bringing together of people; and provide a stimulus for a creative activity, and an arena where experimental work is more widely accepted. The ideals of the NAMS Draft included more commissioning, especially of new work, and a higher percentage of funding for professional administrators to assist with amateur events.

Many aspects of this are highly questionable; I for one would ask whether experimental work is more widely accepted at Festivals; audiences will often flock to see the established companies, preferring not to risk the unknown.

Surely this is an educational matter – also the paper did not seem to provide any answers as to where a company can acceptably experiment.

As for providing amateur companies with professional marketeers, what then becomes of all the professional companies in desperate need of funding for administration and publicists?

Surely the emphasis should be on promoting professional quality work in the first instance?

This article in the magazine

Issue 4-2/3
p. 4