Cat Boot from theatre company Can’t Sit Still reflects on her experience
of pitching at the house Pitch Up event one year ago
How did you hear about Pitch Up?
A friend sent me information and I must have read about it online. I also knew someone who had done it before and said it was a good experience. I just applied on the off-chance and didn’t really expect anything to come of it, so I was really surprised when I was invited to pitch.
Was there some work already brewing?
Yes, there was an idea in the back of my head and Pitch Up was an opportunity to put it down on paper. Doing that made me think it was a good idea. It was about time to formalise something. I wrote some really early thoughts into the application, but when I was invited to pitch I was given some feedback on the way that I’d described the project. Getting feedback before I even arrived to pitch was so useful.
What work had the company done by that time?
We are a really new company: we’d done a couple of small projects in 2013 to 2014, then I had a baby and took a year and a bit out. After that, I feel the company found its identity. We’d done the R&D for our first show, Plink and Boo, which had gone really well. We were just putting in our Arts Council application to fund the tour when we applied to Pitch Up. Although I pitched about a new project called Invisible Thread, I also briefly spoke about Plink and Boo. We got four or five bookings for Plink and Boo out of it, which was a really nice extra that I hadn’t expected.
What was the experience like?
Richard, who was organising Pitch Up at the time, was really communicative and easy to speak with and gave help with the presentation I needed to produce alongside the pitch. On the day, I was really nervous! But I liked the fact that venues pitch as well. You could see that they were just as nervous about speaking to a room full of people. It levelled it out for me, it created an even playing field. And also, when I had arrived in the room, there was already a friendly atmosphere as the venues had been together for a morning meeting. Everyone’s pitches were warmly received.
What useful feedback did you take away for the creative development of your project?
Pitching opened up a few creative discussions – a writer wanted to talk with me, and someone I knew was also pitching about a one-woman show.
How have your Pitch Up conversations continued?
I had a few phone conversations and meetings with people that I’d met at Pitch Up, including teams from the Mill in Banbury, and the Place in Bedford. The process was defined by just chatting about what the project is, what it could be, what I would need etc. From those conversations came more commitments: just recently we were at the Mill in Banbury for a three-day residency for Invisible Thread. We’re a company of mums (which is a pre-requisite for working on this project), so it’s been really good for us to have some creative space away from our every-day routines, to explore and allow us to get to know each other better as a company, and establish our working practice together. We followed that with a residency at Farnham Maltings.
The relationships formed with The Mill and Farnham Maltings after Pitch Up enabled the R&D on Invisible Thread. These partnerships also strengthened our ACE application, which was successful first time round.
What advice would you give to any artist considering participating in Pitch Up?
Do it! It’s really good! Try not to be as nervous as I was. You don’t need to be. Just go along and share your idea and see what comes back. I had no expectations and I didn’t really know why I was going so it has been brilliant. If I meet people now and they ask me about it, I always say ‘you really must do it, it’s a great opportunity’.
© March 2019
More information about Pitch Up
Plink and Boo photos © Farelight Productions
Plink and Boo is on tour during spring 2019:
Wednesday 17 April | Corsham | www.poundarts.org.uk
Thursday 18 April | Bournemouth | www.pdsw.org.uk
Saturday 27 April | Banbury | www.themillartscentre.co.uk
Sunday 5 May | North Finchley | www.artsdepot.co.uk
Sunday 26 May | Barnsley | www.barnsleycivic.co.uk