I suspect the current explosion of work in Bristol, although enormously fragile, has been a lot to do with the mutually supportive environment of Residence, and If you look around at some of the great companies from Forced Entertainment and Complicite to Kneehigh it's clear that playing together, eating together and even, yep, sleeping together is all grist to the artistic mill. Ideas spark, projects are born, creative relationships that may last a lifetime and sustain endeavour are formed. It's why the BAC's idea of offering artists six-month live-in residencies is a good one. But we need other places to get started and further more obvious ladders of progression too.
As a side note, but one that I think ought to get a lot more attention throughout the theatre scene, I offer these two sentences:
Traditional places to showcase work such as the Edinburgh and London fringe are out of reach of anyone who doesn't have £10,000 to spare. Do we really only want theatre made by those from affluent backgrounds?
Or $20,000 in the case of a NYC showcase production. Young artists become established artists by hanging out together creating work and having all those conversations that spark ideas. Another reason why I am trying to develop a foundation for the creation of theatres across this country that will support young artists when they need it most -- right away -- not when they've already got a foot up. Like so much of what America does (e.g., so-called "trickle-down economics" and tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, we reward people when they no longer need the reward and ignore those who struggle. It is ass-backwards.
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