Chloe Lawrence: Opportunities for Emerging Artists

Thanks to Ryan Watson of Juice Festival for allowing us to repost their interview.

Being interested in working in the arts is a thing that can be really confusing to be interested in.

It’s really easy to volunteer for something, or get involved with a project here and there, those things are really valuable and a lot of fun to do.

But eventually it gets to the point where you start to wonder what you can do next. How you can draw on those experiences in order to help yourself progress? It’s something I wonder about and to be kind of honest, worry about quite a lot.

Meet Chloe Lawrence, programme manager at ARC. We chatted about ARCADE and the other opportunities ARC offers for emerging artists.

Could you tell me a bit about the kind of opportunities ARC offer for Emerging Artists?

Chloe – ARC prides itself on its artists development programme. We have ARCADE which is our professional network scheme.

We have about 160 active members at the moment and as part of that we do regular scratch nights; we do workshops that are free to ARCADE members; we also send them a weekly email that highlights any work opportunities or funding opportunities.

We also provide one to one surgeries with ARC staff. So that would be with either myself, the programme coordinator Daniel Mitchelson or Annabel Turpin, the Chief Exec. That’s really for guidance on where they’re taking their work or their career. I also look at a lot of Arts Council applications for artists we’re working with, just to kind of help in that respect because I come from a fundraising background. We give all of our ARCADE member’s free tickets to everything in the theatre and we give them a good discount on the cinema as well.

Could I just ask about the one to one surgeries, what level would someone have to be at to go along to one?

Chloe – To be honest there’s not many people we wouldn’t see. So if we’re interested in showing their work at ARC, we’re obviously more than happy to do a one to one surgery. But also if you’re a local artist and you’re just starting out and you really need some advice, we’re happy to meet you then. I really can’t think of an artist that’s got in touch with us and we’ve said that we wouldn’t meet them.

And apart from ARCADE, are there any other ways ARC helps artists to develop?

Chloe – We also run Space+, which is our residency scheme. I’d say there’s not a week really, where there’s not an artist in residence. We’ve got two in at the moment. We use the residency to develop a relationship with the company.

We never really take touring work; we want to be involved from the very beginning. We want the work that we show to have a grounding in Stockton. So if we have a residency for a week here, we can help them connect with local groups and then the show speaks to them as well.

I’m not completely sure what ‘Residency’ means when it refers to an artist. Would you mind telling me what exactly it involves?

Chloe – Yeah, so at the moment – although we are kind of reviewing it – it’s space in the building. The kind of space we would give you depends on what stage you’re at.

If you’re in the early stages and you just want space to meet people and do a bit of writing we have some lovely meeting rooms that we would offer you.

But if you’re in the later stages where you’re trying to get the production together, we’d give you our studio or our main house theatre to rehearse it. It also includes a welcome with all the staff here on your first day, so you get to meet everyone on the team and then you’ve got access to the whole team to pick their brain about whatever you like. Marketing attend that, programming attend that, finance attend that and then they can ask anything they want. We also have meetings with them throughout the week, so if they’re working on an arts council application then we can talk it through while they’re here, all that kind of stuff.

Thank You. Sorry, so I interrupted you talking about the other opportunities ARC offers.

Chloe – Haha, no. I was just going to tell you about our Associate Artists. So we have a handful of associate artists who sometimes go away and then come back to us. The ones who are fully on our books at the minute are Daniel Bye, Jack Bennett and Luca Rutherford. With Luca and Dan, we’re touring some of their shows at the moment.

So Dan’s got Error 404, Going Viral, Tiny Heroes and The Price of Everything that he’s taking out this year. We organise the tour, we do all the bookings, we take care of the schedule and make sure he get everywhere on time.

We’re doing the same for Luca, she’s taking Learning how to Die out at the moment, but she’s also developing a new piece. So Associate Artists are kind of the ‘Top Tier’ I guess, in the sense that we do all their fundraising for them. With their help, but if they need funding for a tour we’ll do our best to find it for them. They get full producer services from us.

We also have quite a lot of projects that we manage. So we have Roots North, which is a commissioning scheme that we run every year and we commission a piece of new work and it goes to ARC, Theatre in the Mill and the Lowrey.

So we’ve just had Ivo doing their new piece In The Vice Like Grip of It and they’re at the Lowrey this week and that’s the last part of their mini tour. So we supported them through the development of the piece, we’ve put them in touch with all the right kind of people – a dramaturg and a director and all that kind of thing – We also helped them fundraise.

We run similar schemes too. Bridging the Gap is quite an interesting one, we pick two artists and they go to four venues each, but both come to ARC. We look after the scheme, but we’re also the middle point, so we get both artists. Then they go to Northern Stage, Live Theatre, Arts Centre Washington, Alnwick Playhouse, Berwick and Custom’s House.

We also do a Family commission with the Barnsley Civic so, every year we co-commission a family piece of work. We’ve just this year, launched our transit scheme which is for a mid-career company to produce a new piece of work and that is with Bike Shed in Exeter and Derby Theatre. We are also looking to commission two Christmas family shows with the Albany, so that’s out there at the moment.

It really seems like a big focus of ARC to work with other venues and put work on in other places, particularly in the North East. Could you tell me a little bit about why that’s important?

Chloe – Yeah, it’s really important to us to work with the rest of the North East and the North. We manage a group called Venues North, which is made up of quite a few venues in the North who all have the same drive to deliver really great artist development programmes. So we meet three times a year and discuss what we’re up to and offer each other help and advice and it’s a really strong network.

I think it really helps that we’re trying to position ourselves with other venues as a support team, rather than as competition.

We also manage Meet the Programmers, which happens twice a year and it’s where all the venues in the North East come together and watch pitches for new companies and that helps work spread around the North East I think.

But also, we do work really closely with a lot of venues and part of our Reach Scheme is with venues across the North East that we put work into, because we have Associates we do build those strong relationships so that they have really good touring opportunities in the North and the North East.

Ryan WatsonYou can find our more information about the what ARC has to offer for emerging artists on their artists page here.

And, as always,
Stay productive, stay awesome!

Ryan Watson
Guest Writer


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