Thursday, 5 February 2015
Opening Space - Yay or Nay?
We have been given the potential of opening a new, temporary space in York.
As a group of folks we try to spend an amount of time bringing people together - whether that's bar nights, festivals etc - and we have benefitted a lot over the years by being brought together by other people. It's a valuable thing, being able to spend some time in some space with people.
Also, in the early years of being a theatre maker there seems to be no end of needing space, of people saying that they can't programme your work because it hasn't been on anywhere, of needing somewhere free to rehearse. Space is important and people are important.
One of our very good friends is Brian Furey. He runs pubs and he's damn good at it. Because is good friends with other folks who run pubs he's been offered an empty space for no rent - just rates. We think it would cost about £1,000 a month in rates (at a wild, rough guess). Brian has asked us whether we want to use it. We think it would cost a couple of grand to get up and running. So let's say a total of £3,000. A number of things spring to mind.
1) It's not often that spaces can pop up in York, everything is usually very expensive and protected.
2) We might be able to make the rates back by hiring out car parking spaces.
3) The building is big. It could host rehearsals, performances, a bar, office space and maybe accommodation for any visiting artists. There'd be space for exhibitions, workshops and all sorts. It would be free, but we'd have a jar to contribute to the heating and such.
4) The building needs doing over. It would take a week or two of a group of people's time to fill a few skips, take up the carpets, paint everything white, drive around in van getting anything from Freecycle we can. I would need to be a community effort. We'd be looking for free paint, chairs, tables, beds etc.
5) We probably shouldn't leave spaces empty if we can use them - especially if we can use them locally and independently. The more than is open and thriving and being used, the better.
So, that's that question - do you think we should open and run a pop up arts and community space? It would be on a temporary lease, which means either us or the landlord can give a weeks notice at any time. We hope we'd have it for about 6 months, but that's not certain. It's not something we had planned to do this year, it's just fallen in to our laps and we feel like we'd be rude to ignore it, if we can make something good come of it even if it's only for a few months.
I guess because we've been offered the opportunity to do it, we have a responsibility to try. But it would be temporary, it would be fast and it would have wide open arms.
And we couldn't do it on our own. So half question and half appeal to the good, the great and the go-getters - would anyone be on board?
It might be as early as next week.