A couple of months ago I took on the new position of Arts Engagement Assistant at The Octagon Theatre. It is an exciting new role as, together with Gemma Gubb the Arts Engagement & Outreach Officer we are programming arts opportunities across South Somerset. So watch this space!
Our aim is to engage all members of the community in the visual arts, dance, theatre, and music. We want to make the arts accessible for the young and old, for people with or without disabilities, and offer opportunities which are affordable.
So who am I? And what do I know about the arts? My passion and interest has centred around theatre since secondary school where my drama teacher once wrote in my school report “the sky is the limit”. Two years ago I graduated from The University of Birmingham where I studied Drama & Theatre Arts, after graduating I knew I wanted to work in the theatre and would settle for nothing less. I ended up working here, at Westlands Entertainment Venue and The Octagon Theatre in Yeovil, as a Duty Manager. My background has emphasised to me the importance of celebrating the theatre and the arts in schools, along with highlighting the need to support graduates and artists just starting out.
Carrying this understanding into our work within the community, we have been strengthening our relationship with various art groups, arts organisations, community groups, local schools and colleges.
This December we will be holding a visual art exhibition open to all secondary schools and colleges across South Somerset, entitled ‘Art in Somerset Schools’. The exhibition will be on display in the upstairs gallery at The Octagon Theatre, and will run from 5th December 2019 to 9th January 2020 coinciding with the annual pantomime and the Octagon Theatre’s busiest time of the year. The exhibition will be a great opportunity for us to celebrate young talent in Somerset.
Starting in September 2019, are the Octagon Academy’s, Youth Dance Company and Boys Dance Company. Both groups will receive multiple opportunities to perform across South Somerset, whilst also getting to work with professional dance companies, have exclusive access to rehearsals, and get the opportunity to meet artists at private events.
Primary & Secondary Schools across South Somerset have been offered free dance workshops in order to engage their students and promote the new dance companies. Classes are offered at £3 per session, however, we believe that the cost of our dance classes should not be a barrier to participation and in light of this we are supporting the Passport to Leisure Scheme.
Additionally, we are looking to support a Graduate Dance Company and Inclusive Dance classes for those with or without disabilities, for which we are in the process of applying for Arts Council funding.
And that’s not all! It is going to be an exciting couple of months watching all of our projects and ideas come to life!
Please do not hesitate to get in contact with any ideas for potential collaboration or possible engagement projects. We are open to discussion!