24 Hour MAD Show
|Organisation||Lighthouse, Poole's Centre for the Arts (formerly Poole Arts Centre)|
|Programme strand||Sample the Arts|
|New Audiences grant||£10,000|
The 24 Hour MAD Show (Music and Arts Development Show) was created by a team of Arts Centre staff, professionals and participants all recruited from the Poole and Bournemouth areas. The team created, produced, marketed and performed a stage play of the Wizard of Oz in just 24 hours, from start to finish. The project targeted young people in the local community and created development and networking opportunities for both Arts Centre staff and local arts professionals.
about lead organisation
The Lighthouse (formerly known as Poole Arts Centre) promotes and supports performing, visual and media arts. It offers a range of educational programmes and has developed itself as a resource for creative artists. It aims to increase access to the arts for all sectors of the population and to integrate the arts into the local community.
In October 1997 a new joint arts policy arts enabled arts providers in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole to work together cooperatively to provide arts and cultural provision in the area. There are a high proportion of older residents in the area and it was felt that existing arts provision had targeted this sector of the population to the exclusion of younger audiences. This project brought together Poole Borough Council, Youth Services and the Lighthouse who used the MAD show to tackle these issues and to provide local artists with networking opportunities and experience of working in participatory arts.
The concept of the MAD – Music And Arts Development Show was first devised by a group of students from Bradford University. The show is performed annually .
aims of the project
- To develop new audiences, particularly amongst young people and those excluded on economic or social grounds
- To draw in audiences from a wider geographical area
- To develop staff skills
- To create a network of professionals in the area
about the project
A team of 30, which included a consultant, administrator, Arts Centre staff, led the project and arts practitioners recruited form the local area. Staff at the Lighthouse staff were given new areas of responsibility to develop their skills. The show coordinator took time off from her usual role of organising room hire, one of the ushers took on the role of customer services officer and welfare manager, and the catering was managed by one of the centre's waitresses. The whole team met a week in advance of the event to discuss the concept and organisation of the Madshow. An application form based around the strap line “no experience needed, simply enthusiasm and energy” was drawn up. The form was distributed to 135 outlets and 26 amateur dramatic societies in Poole and Bournemouth area. A Youth outreach worker assisted with recruitment. The project was also publicised in local magazines and papers including the Blackmore Vale and The Daily Echo. On the first night of the event a team of five worked through the night produce posters and flyers and to notified local radio stations and newspapers.
Potential performers arrived at 7:30pm the evening before the show for auditions, which were completed by 10:30pm. Participants were asked to make a contribution of £20. They received a specially designed T Shirt and working with the team put together a performance of the Wizard of Oz. They took part in day and a night of choreography and rehearsals as well as practical activities including costume making, scenery building, and ticket selling for the Show, which was also the first in house production at the Lighthouse. The participants were asked to complete a feedback form at the end of the project.
about the audience
- Over 150 volunteer performers took part in the project, from a wide catchment area within Poole and surrounding areas.
- More than half were under 18 years old
- 465 people attended the performance of the Wizard of Oz
- Almost all of the audience and participants were new to the arts centre
outcomes and lessons learned
The Arts Centre felt that the project was a success both for those taking part and the audience. The professional team commented on the exhilaration of working in such a fast and focused way and staff members took on new responsibilities. In two instances this resulted in promotion.
30% of the feedback forms were returned and the comments from the participants were very positive. Two participants who had been involved through their contact with social services said it was “the best weekend of our lives”.
On the night 80% of the seats were filled and the final performance received positive reviews and this was attributed to the style of the show, the high quality of the directors and assistants, arts centre staff and the building itself.
It was suggested that meeting a week before the working week it would have been useful to finalise the script. Working on the script during the week held up the production and had an impact on the scheduling process. The time allowed for organising advertising and recruiting was too short and in some cases staff had difficulties with new responsibilities.
New audiences were reached and have developed a relationship with the centre through further events and a database for future contact.
The creation a new network of professional workers was seen as an extra benefit to the Arts Centre. This team are motivated and willing to do the project again.
The event was so successful that it was repeated the following year when the number of participants increased to 250 local people. It also led to other participatory arts activities in the area including a story trail for young people, Bournemouth and Christchurch and a programme of workshop activities.