As part of our existing bi-annual festival format, we are beginning a year-round programme of activity, with the Sloop Bus at the core of this. The aim - to allow us to take performance-based art to every corner of Thanet! Our experiments since 2013 with the Collaborative Touring Network have been with putting contemporary theatre, in partnership with Battersea Arts Centre, into unexpected and new spaces and situations, breaking the model of 'theatre' and breaking the boundaries that restrict people's taking part. The next stage is an itinerant model, with the Sloop Bus - which may be an old caravan, a disused library bus, or even a horsebox - and it will appear every month in local spaces. It will be a backdrop for a performance, an enervating space to come inside and do a workshop or just a place to hang out, meet artists and feel confident talking about that scary word 'art'. Oh, and 'theatre'. We have found that what we need to do is create interest and spark the imagination through the festivals (the next one is 15 - 25 October 2016) and then keep this going, delve deeper into the people who inhabit our isle and the areas they enjoy, to make theatre, art, culture a part of their environment and their sense of place.
We have 50% of core funds towards the Sloop Bus and need to find the vehicle itself as well as the remaining cost, so any support with this would be great. We are inviting artists to support the new initiative and who would like to come and play (work!) with us, to bring practical workshops, small-scale outdoor theatre performances or new work to scratch and explore with us and with audiences. We have a growing producer/practitioner network and we would welcome partnering with new people to develop CPD events that can take place in the Sloop Bus programme.