My name is Nathan and I am one of the Spring’s Trustee’s.
I am also the Co-Director of theatre ensemble Tangled Feet, who make original devised theatre inside and outside of theatre buildings. I am also an Associate Artist at Greenwich+Docklands International Festival and a freelance theatre director.
I wanted to write about what attracted to me to volunteer my time at The Spring as a Trustee and what I see as the things we are doing brilliantly and that were fundamental to the success of becoming part of the Arts Council Portfolio of core funded companies.
For me there are four vital components to The Spring’s success: Community, quality, accessibility and diversity.
The arts is founded on a belief in, and a strength of, community - it is by its very nature a collaborative form involving the gathering of people. Communities of people gather to watch a play, take a class, experience music, discuss books and make things together. The Spring offers a space for all of these groups to exist. Groups of people can explore and achieve many complicated things and its through being together and sharing art that lives and places change.
As an organisation I have always been struck by The Spring’s openness and accessibility – this is partly due to the large number of volunteers that fuel the fire that drives the engine but its also due to the people who work and attend The Spring- they create a place of welcome. When I first attended the building I got a sense that everyone was welcome – this is no mean feat and many arts organisations in the country have created silos where many of the local community feel they can’t cross the threshold. If artistic buildings are to survive then opening them up is key. Where its not been possible to open up to everyone Sophie and the team have taken work out – I have seen this work in schools, libraries, car parks and fields. This work allows the whole community to experience a quality artistic act.
Quality is key to why The Spring has become an Arts Council core funded company. A quality artistic experience can allow you to escape your world, reconnect with your self, challenge your preconceptions, celebrate your community, understand the world around you, learn something new. Art is vital to helping us come to terms with being alive. Sophie and the team have quality as their driving force and understand the importance of art being well conceived, made and delivered.
Are we making a space where there are no borders or barriers?
We have been discussing the word diversity a great deal at Trustee Meetings recently. It is very important that as a publicly funded community organisation working in the 21st Century The Spring, its work and its teams represent contemporary Havant, the wider region and the UK as a whole. Does our work and staff represent our community? Are we making a space where there are no borders or barriers? Would everyone recognise themselves in the work The Spring offers?
Some strong evidence of this is in the diversity of our programme. Through participation, theatre, heritage, film and music, there is something for everyone.
But there is still work to do and I am sure we can all think of more people who aren’t attending arts events than are.