For as long as I can remember, whenever I hear the phrase “Arts Council Grant” it is always accompanied by a painful grimace on the faces of all present, you even join them in sympathy when you see it in print.We all know how important funding is, first rule of producing… DON’T USE YOUR OWN MONEY…. That’s all very well & good but as funding has become less & less available & investors harder to find, sometimes when you have a dream project you can’t help but ,”Just get it on”
Anyway, our season of plays at Park Theatre this summer consist of Crystal Springs by Kathy Rucker & Chicken Shop by 2013 Bruntwood Prize Winner Anna Jordan. We were approached by Kathy to produce her arresting drama about Cyber-Bullying & as it was produced in San Francisco earlier in the year, it was fantastic news to hear it came with funding already in place.
Chicken Shop however was a different matter. A dark & twisted coming of age story following a 16 year old boy trying to find his identity & falling into a very adult world that he didn’t expect. A lot of interest has been shown to support this production but as time went on nothing came to fruition, Jemma & I uttered that dreaded phrase…. Arts Council.
Neither of us have applied for Arts funding before & it instilled us both with the fear of death when we first laid eyes on the truly epic application form, all those horror stories were true. Don’t get me wrong, with funding so scarce, I totally agree that the application should be as detailed as it is but it does leave you just staring at it for several hours wondering where to start, but start we did.
We had some amazing help from friends who have applied for the grant before, so a big shout out to To The Moon & 1505 for your time & advice. Jemma even stayed up with me, well into the early hours of the morning she & new husband were due to leave on their honeymoon. We finished the application, Jemma went on holiday & I pressed send…. the wait began.
We had a letter in the post this week, not a small DL envelope that would clearly say “Sorry, No” but a large A3 manila. The type you get when your acceptance prospectus arrives for college or the script from the BBC lands on the mat. I sat & stared at it for a while before my husband Andy said, “Are you going to open any time soon?” so I opened it & had to read it several times before I realised that we had been offered the full amount we had applied for. I rang Jemma immediately, my ears are still ringing from the scream that came down the phone.
So, I suppose the moral of the story is, not to be put off by the things that scare you & appear to be seemingly impossible to achieve. Thanks you Arts Council England, the show goes on.