An Errant Stage - and a new opportunity!
An initiative like this, which places accessibility and sustainability at its core, nurturing new talent and enabling artists to tour their work successfully, merits all the support the UK theatre sector can give it. -Simon Hart, Puppet Animation Scotland.
This alternative, professional platform only launched at the beginning of August and is currently crowdfunding to raise enough money to complete the conversion and get on the road. The stage has been created to offer artists an affordable space to perform and create work, whilst allowing new audiences access to a quality of performance they may not have seen before.
The Errant Stage wants to provide affordable performance space for artists, and accessible theatre for the masses; anything from puppetry to performance art.
Arts funding cuts are greatly affecting the amount of new work being made or performed, and the cost of venue hire and production is restrictive, especially to emerging companies. The alternative off-grid travelling stage has an audience capacity of 20 inside, creating a “welcoming and accessible”, “magical” and “wonderfully intimate” performance space. For larger shows and spectacles the van can swing open it’s doors and serve an unlimited outside audience. The venue offers artists an affordable professional platform to perform their work in front of an audience, whilst enabling that audience to be anyone, anywhere.
“Theatre and the arts is more than just an industry; It is a community. A community that we want to continue growing, to keep putting new work in front of new audiences. A community that is fuelled by passion and belief that the arts and performance are essential to our human connections with each other and the world around us; The Errant is our contribution to that.” Kate Powell and Jonna Nummela have had the vision for an alternative performance venue since they first met in drama school in 2011 and lived together on a canal boat in London. Then, when Kate bought the van from Kilter Theatre in January 2017, and The Errant Stage concept began to take physical form, she quickly joined forces with friend and performance artist Jonna. Growing increasingly frustrated with the current restrictive funding climate, Nummela jumped on the chance to make more space for artists and their audiences through a more accessible venue. “The Errant Stage is our vision for the future of the performing arts. It is a future of empathy and community instead of egoism and competitive industry.”
Support for the van is already evident as the team launched their crowdfunding campaign and raised over 20% from over 40 backers in the first five days. The Indiegogo campaign is looking to raise funds to enable ongoing maintenance and further conversion of the van into a more accessible and sustainable venue and will continue until the 15th October, 2017. Work started on the van back in January with structural repairs and insulation; Now attention turns to the inside of the van and its transformation into a multi-use performance space with high quality technical resources. Research into sustainable power sources from solar to wind has been immense, aiming to make The Errant Stage a trailblazer of sustainable off-grid venues.
The Errant Stage embarked on it’s maiden voyage when it was invited to the Ventnor Fringe Festival (www.vfringe.co.uk) on the Isle of Wight this summer. Following the success of this soft launch, the venue now continues to travel the UK hosting performances and scratch events at Puppet Place’s Bristol Festival of Puppetry and Skipton International Puppet Festival. The team are also headed to one of the world’s largest international Puppetry festivals; Festival Mondial des Théâtres de Marionnettes in Charleville-Mézières, France, in September 2017 to promote the project. With interest and return invites from various puppet and theatre festivals across the UK in 2018, including new Moving Parts puppet festival in Newcastle and Manipulate in Scotland, it is looking to be a busy and successful first season for The Errant Stage.
Find out more on The Errant Stage Website.