Audience Development - Activate Performing Arts | UK

Photo: by Harley Olif

For Activate Performing Arts, audience development and outreach programmes are a core part of their work and activity programme including the Inside Out Dorset festival.  With presentations and the festival being located at different rural and urban locations each year, Activate has the opportunity to engage with a wide range of young people across their region.  With sites being often in remote or unusual locations, the outreach programme can provide exciting and new creative experiences and connections to many local communities.  As part of the LAND project, Activate delivered a range of programmes.

Dutch artists, ‘Waterlanders’ delivered workshops at two local schools for 66 students together with hosting the school visiting the installation at Boscombe, Dorset.  These workshops offered the schools an opportunity to engage with international artists, experience high quality art in the landscape and vitally discover how the arts can enhance learning around different subjects, notably environmental communications in this case, bird migration and habitat.   ‘The workshop was great for wider general knowledge – talking about birds, their environment and adaptations’ Class Tutor  

Programmes of engagement and audience development have a two-way impact with benefits for not only the participants, but can provide vital opportunities for artists to learn, develop and engage.

‘I liked going to the schools that visited our project to do the workshops. I found that some children had had time to mull it over and I could answer their questions about the work in class. Their focus and energy in response to both the assignments in class and the experience of their visit on site were very pleasant.  It was a rewarding experience.’ Eric Langendoen (Waterlanders)

The Festival of Schools was an integrated outreach programme delivered with land stewards Dorset AONB in conjunction with the South Dorset Ridgeway Partnership and Lifecycles and Landscapes projects.

This one-day programme engaged with 6 schools in the mid-Dorset region involving 165 children through a range of artist led workshops and a site visit to the Inside Out Dorset presentation of And Now’s ‘Wayfaring’ at Maiden Castle, nr Dorchester. Sessions involving installation visits, dance, spoken word, natural materials and ancient landscapes were led by artists And Now: together with a range of local artists and specialists.

Thomas Lamers from Collectief Walden led a specialist writing workshop with special reference to nature, ecology and outdoor environments to a group of 20 emerging writers looking to expand their knowledge. Thomas shared his methods of devising and directing, using narrative structure and content creation that informs his approach to the landscape.  This workshops was delivered on-site during the Inside Out Dorset presentation of Collectief Walden’s ‘Olie’ and in partnerships with Artful Scribes DO Write project.