Forest Forge Theatre Company Plan Theatrical Coup by kalai7


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									Forest Forge Theatre Company Plan Theatrical Coup

A MODERN industrial estate in Ringwood, Hampshire, is an unlikely place
to find a theatrical coup being planned.

Ringwood, Hampshire, UK, July 14, 2012 -- But that is what’s happening at
a highly regarded professional theatre company which nestles among sonar
equipment specialists, plumbers’ merchant and motor firms at the
Endeavour Business Park.

It’s an aptly-named location. Staff at the Forest Forge Theatre Company
are quietly working away on a plan spread its name further afield.

It’s a bold objective for a primarily rural organisation as general
manager Sophie Dubber explains.

“We were one of several theatre companies in the UK which lost 100 per
cent of their Arts Council funding in the last year.The money has just
run out and it was about half of our core funding. Of course, we knew it
was coming and we’ve had a year to prepare. We are now trying to reinvent
ourselves.Our strategy is not to close or reduce our activities. It is to
work even harder in our local communities and try to put ourselves in the
national picture too.”

One thousand arts organisations were included in the Arts Council England
(ACE) review in 2011.

A strategic decision not to fund rural projects meant some providers,
like Forest Forge, received nothing at all when the Arts Council had been
its main source of funding for years.

Kirstie Davis, chief executive and artistic director said:

“We had to stop panicking, think and be creative. We decided that our
stories should be heard and we could take them anywhere, be ambitious and
brave. By taking some shows to the national stage, the company can apply
for project funding from ACE because they will be reaching a wider, more
urban audience, rather than just Hampshire.”
But it’s not about throwing the baby out with the bathwater – the company
needs to find a balance between maintaining the success of its current
work and finding new followers further afield.

Sophie says:
“We will still be offering our local audiences a chance to see theatre in
their own communities. We will still perform three productions a year in
lots of rural venues in the New Forest, wider Hampshire and Dorset.”

Forest Forge was founded in 1981 with three distinct strands: staging
productions, running a youth theatre and engaging with specific community
groups. The company’s much-praised Creative Learning Programme includes
workshops for toddler groups and schoolchildren.
“The scale of our learning programme is unusual for a theatre company of
this size and community engagement is a vital part of our mission.”
Sophie says.

In the past year, Forest Forge has performed to 12,000 people and engaged
a total of around 37,000, with its hundreds of community workshops and
youth theatre activities.

There are seven full and part-time members of staff and professional
actors are hired for productions.
A MODERN industrial estate in Ringwood, Hampshire, is an unlikely place
to find a theatrical coup being planned.
The next two Forest Forge productions are hugely important because they
are the first steps in the new world.

Bloom is being staged in Hampshire from August to October.
In March and April 2013 the company will stage The Boy at the Edge of the
Room, with a focus on autism. Some London dates already booked.

Sophie Dubber
Forest Forge Theatre Company
Endeavour Park
The Theatre Centre Unit 9-10
Crow Arch Lane, Ringwood
+44 0 1425 470188

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