Thursday 26 February 2015

Pop Up Arts Space - The Fleeting Arms, A Reverse Jumble Sale

This process has been amazing. From a little idea and a small blog, people have come en masse - weilding paint brushes, floor sanders, light fittings, bin bags, white spirit and art work. There is, it would seem, a huge desire for a open, grass roots art space in this city. I'm damn pleased that this pub landed in our laps and we can help fill that hole a little.

I had expected a few known faces - people who I know who work all the time to make things happen and create in and with a community. But I have met so many people. People have turned up to help who I have never seen before, having been told to come and help by someone else who I equally have never met. Word is spreading and it's just lovely. You are wonderful folks.

Last weekend nearly 30 people came down to help transform the spaces. It's slow going and hard work, but the good chat, the meeting new people, the rolling up of sleeves and getting our hands dirty makes the time and work fly. It's such a pleasure. It bodes for a brilliant 6 months.

So what's next?

Well, the floor is nearly done and the walls are done and some graffiti artists are coming in and the pool table is arriving. So now we need stuff - lots of people have said they have the odd chair, or light, or table. We'd love to have them. We want to make a cafe and bar, a performance and rehearsal space, a  shared open office space and an art studio. So the more stuff, the better. Lights, sound, instruments, tea sets - all very welcome. Let's think of it as a reverse jumble sale*.

We will be in The Fleeting Arms working away over the weekend. If you want to bring anything down, then that's your time. Specifically (and I'm saying this based in my availability, so I can guarantee the building will be open, but I'm sure it will be open more than these times) let's say Sunday 1st 2-6pm and Monday 2nd 12-6pm. If those times don't work for you, then drop us an email and we'll sort a better one.

There's still lots to do and hopefully lots of people to meet, so please do pop in and say hi or get in touch.

Our opening party will be in the 6th March. More on that soon.


*All furniture etc has to comply with fire regs, so if you have sofas or armchairs or anything that you want to reverse jumble, then check they have the right labels or we won't be allowed to use them. Thanks.

Saturday 14 February 2015

Pop Up Space? YAY - The Fleeting Arms

Very recently we (me, Brian and Brian) asked this question - would it be a good idea to open a pop arts and community space in the middle of York?

On Tuesday we held an open chat for anyone who was interested and available to come for a drink. 

The result? The Fleeting Arms will open its doors on the 6th March at 54 Gillygate, York. Just two doors up from The Gillygate Pub.

Naturally we'll open with an opening party, and a programme will follow from there. Quite who, how and what is by no means decided or even considered. 

It is amazing that an arts community - or at least some representatives from an arts community - can come together, look at an empty building, listen to a big and silly idea, and turn around and say 'Yes - I can help with that.' Some time ago, when we ran our first ever Little Festival Of Everything I wrote about the amazing power of people saying 'Yes'. And it's happening again here.

'Should there be a pop up arts space?'
'Will you help me?'

Quite quite amazing. 

We'll call it The Fleeting Arms. It will last for about 6 months. It is temporary, but valuable. We hope. 

It will be a place of exhibitions, art up on the walls, behind the bar and around the corridors; of rehearsals and R&D and sharings; of performances, finished work, and touring shows; of festivals and cross genre events;  it will have an artist studio to be messy and make work; it will have a communal shared office space; it will have a bar and cafe for sitting and meeting and writing and chatting; it will also have a pool table. It should have more - yoga classes, acting classes, debates and lectures. 

So we'd like your help. 

We need to clean, tidy, paint, find furniture, fill a skip or two, tile a shower, staff the bar, build a website, paint the door, pull up the carpets and sand the floor, drive a van around to pick stuff up, figure out a booking system, mount work on the walls and put together a damn good opening party. 

And to tell people about it.

We'll be starting next weekend. 4 big days of work on Friday 20th - Monday 23rd February. We'll be rolling up our sleeves and getting stuck in. We'd like you to join us - the door will be open, maybe being painted. 

So - this is an invitation to get on board. We like your hands, hearts, heads and help. 

Or rather, this is a question.

'Can you help?'

If you're interested then email

I'm proud this is happening. 


Wednesday 11 February 2015

Romeo & Juliet - Ensemble Call

We'd like to be really transparent about this. 

We have an ensemble of 5 brilliant, energetic, imaginative, inventive, musical, creative and good hearted folks for our upcoming production of Romeo & Juliet. We would like that to be an ensemble of 6. 

The 5 folks already cast are all women, and we'd like the 6th to be a woman too. 

The 5 folks we have invited in to the show are people we know, have worked with, have connections with. This is often how The Flanagan Collective works - it's about bringing together a damn interesting group of people and often we do that with people we know, have seen, or have worked with before. That group then creates a show.

Now, when we started these conversations, we were talking to 6 people. But one of them can't do it because they're on a different tour. That is fine and normal. But, in the hope of meeting and seeing some new folks, we wanted to ask around to fill that 6th ensemble member. 

So, we are look for someone who -

. Has decent experience in performance - whether that's theatre, dance, music or art. But someone who is confident with verse and has a good, confident voice.

. Has a decent experience in devising and working as an ensemble. We want someone who will bring ideas to the table, who will contribute and who will work incredibly well with other people.

. Has a decent experience in music. Whether that is singing or playing or rapping, in choirs or bands or orchestras or solo. We need someone with a good musical vibe, who can jam and riff and not wait to be given the notes. 

. Has an open, honest and creative personality. We will be working together, creating and imagining. We want someone who is bold and colourful and can be gloriously loud and heartbreakingly soft - both on and off stage.

It's fine if you have an agent. It's fine if you don't.
It's fine if you have a CV full of professional Shakespeare. It's fine if you don't. 
It's fine if you have Grade 8 in four instruments. It's fine if you don't.

Like say - we're looking for an exciting, creative, open, honest person who can bring something to the show.

If you're interested, please send -

. A CV of your recent / relevant work
. A summary of your musical abilities
. What interests you about being in R&J
. If you have a headshot and would like to send it, then please do
. If you have any links to any trailers, videos, recordings or songs of yours and would like to send them, please do.

Please send these to by midnight on Wednesday 18th February. That's a week from now. We will work through anyone who is interested and hopefully meet some people after that. Hopefully there'll be some people we know, hopefully there'll be more that we don't. 

We will try and get back to everyone, we can't promise we will though. But, if you do send something in the, genuinely, thank you for doing so - it's a pleasure to know you're interested in being in our show and thank you for taking the time.

Here are the details of the show. You will need to be available for all dates, without exception -

. Rehearsal / North Yorkshire / 14th April-4th May
. Tech & Dress / York / 5th & 6th May
. Run / York / 7th May-23rd May
. Tech & Dress / London / 25th & 26th May
. Run / London / 27th May-13th June

£400pw. We will organise your accommodation where necessary. 

This is an ensemble show are, at this stage, we are not offering names parts. The show will involve multi roling.

Production -
The Flanagan Collective in association with York Theatre Royal
Premiering as part of York International Shakespeare Festival
Director - Alexander Wright
Producer - Brian Hook
Dramaturg - Tom Spencer


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.