Thursday, June 19, 2014

In Battalions Festival, Friday 4 July - first speakers confirmed!

19 June UPDATE - Confirmed speakers

In Battalions Festival
Friday 4th July 2014, 10am - 5.30pm
Drama Centre London, Central Saint Martins

Confirmed speakers so far

The first In Battalions Festival at Central Saint Martins on Friday 4 July is shaping up to be the summer's unmissable event of cultural debate and provocation.

Confirmed speakers so far include:

  • Neil Darlison, director of Theatre at Arts Council England - taking questions on ACE's National Portfolio funding decisions, which will have been announced just three days prior.
  • Kumiko Mendl, Gillian Hambleton and Chris O'Connell in conversation - all artistic directors whose theatre companies experienced a 100% Arts Council cut in 2011, but which somehow survived.
  • Tassos Stevens of Coney and Alan Lane of Slung Low - both new NPOs in 2011, talking about what NPO status has allowed them to achieve.
  • Dawn Walton of Eclipse, Jennifer Lim of British East Asian artists and 'disability diva' Mandy Colleran debating how cuts to the arts have affected diversity in the sector.
  • Natalie Wilson of Theatre Centre, Paul Webster of Pearson Education, plus some London school teachers, on the state of young people's theatre and the future of Drama as a subject in schools.
  • Mags Patten, head of Communications at Arts Council England, on the PR challenges facing the organisation.
  • Delphi Champions - theatremakers who took part in the In Battalions Delphi study making the case for their top proposal and inviting delegates to form a consortia to take it forward there and then. These include Jonathan Petherbridge from London Bubble and playwrights Ben Yeoh, Samantha Ellis and Hannah Khalil.
  • Stella Duffy, writer and performer, talking about her new project Fun Palaces and how she got it off the ground.
  •  Jez Bond of Park Theatre and Paul Robinson of Theatre 503 - thriving theatres without any regular public investment - talk about how they pull it off and the daily challenges they face.
  • 'Funding Provocateurs' - David Powell, co-author of Re-Balancing Our Cultural Capital, cultural policy guru John Kieffer, and UKIP's culture spokesman Peter Whittle all present radical ideas on the future of arts funding in the UK.
  • Experienced political lobbyist Rosie Luff of Hanover Communications and Nick Ewbank, regeneration consultant and director of the AHRC's Cultural Value Project giving their tips on how the arts can make their case to politicians from all sides in the run-up to the 2015 election.

As if that wasn't enough, keynote speaker Taryn Storey of Reading University will be unveiling her doctoral thesis The Arts Council and the Politics of Risk: Funding for New Writing in a Neo-Liberal Age. Taryn's research forms part of the AHRC funded project Giving Voice to the Nation: The Arts Council of Great Britain and the Development of Theatre and Performance in Britain 1945-1995, a collaboration between the University of Reading and the Victoria and Albert Museum. 

There will also be ‘open mic’ slots for delegates to pitch their own ideas for new projects and innovative solutions to protect artistic risk-taking, with the opportunity to found a consortium to take the idea forward there and then, using online crisis-mapping resource Crowdmap – tutorials for which will be available on the day.

Tickets start at £20 for freelance culture professionals and are selling fast! Box office:  


Notes for Editors

The In Battalions summer festival is a follow-up to playwright Fin Kennedy's 2014 In Battalions report ( The event is a new opportunity for professional theatre-makers, academics, politicians, journalists and other culture professionals to share innovative ideas and practical models for maintaining a vital theatre ecology in the UK.

The Festival will be arranged across three rooms:

NPO Analysis: a room dedicated to charting and debating the Arts Council's funding decisions announced on the 1st of July - just three days prior to the Festival.
Building the Battalion: a room dedicated to founding a permanent online In Battalions community inspired by open-source crisis-mapping platform Crowdmap.
Money and Politics: a room devoted to discussion of alternative arts funding models, and ways for the subsidised theatre sector to make its case to politicians in the run-up to the 2015 general election.

The one-day Festival runs from 10am to 5.30pm with a social event in the evening. It will take place in the new Central Saint Martins building at Granary Square in central London, just behind St Pancras and Kings Cross stations. The Festival is organised with students from Drama Centre London's new MA Dramatic Writing programme, and is part of The Year of Experimentation, a three day new writing festival taking place as the culmination of the first year of the course.

Tickets to the Festival cost £20 (Non-NPO), £35 (NPO funding up to 500k) and £50 (NPO funding in excess of 500k). They can be booked through

For further information contact:  

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