Studio Open Days: Coburg House Art Studios

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Art, Networking, Promotion

Artists need space.

 

Whether we find ourselves requiring more so set up a studio, the need for a professional business address, a little extra storage to free up some space in the house or just the need for a bit of company, we often seek out studio, office or rehearsal space to work in.

 

And I don’t know about you but despite the fact I ‘work from home’ most of the time I actually find it immensely difficult to work at home. Whether I move to a coffee shop, a coworking space, a mate’s house or even a train (which I am currently on) I tend to get a lot more done! I think this is down to the naturally collaborative nature of creative work.

 

There are loads of these spaces all over the country for every different field of work and every price bracket. Usually located alongside the artistic suburbs of towns and cities not only do they make excellent workspaces but they can also make for great communities!

 

One of my favourites of these is Coburg House Art Studio situated in Leith, Edinburgh and home to over 80 designers, artists and makers.

 

It has been running for over 20 years and across that time has built up quite the reputation as an exciting, unique creative hub.  To get a studio space at this former granary there is a wait list and (I’m told) it costs a pretty penny, but for good reasons! Very good reasons indeed.

 

First and foremost, much of the ground floor of the Coburg House Art Studio forms a shop and gallery where studio users can display and sell their work. It is open every Saturday and Sunday 11am-4pm.  A really nice touch with this shop is the counter which consists mainly of a display of artistic business cards, presumably from every designer, so that if you should find something you like you can find that artists card and contact them directly or take them as a keepsake from your visit.

 

Another great idea is that twice a year they run weekend open days. One during the spring/summer and one just in time for Christmas. Not only can you learn more about how their artists work, you can talk to them about, well, anything you have ever wanted to know! It’s like a living museum where you can learn about any craft you could imagine.

 

Coburg offer their artists in residence the opportunity to display their work in exhibitions both independently and collaboratively.  They have quite a unique range of arts and crafts including: painting, print work, ceramics, glass, jewellery and illustration so I can only imagine the diverse and imaginative installs hosted.

 

A few of the artists in residence offer courses which you can take in the studios to and in case that wasn’t enough they also have a combined social media following of around 6500.  It is a hugely positive and inspiring environment which is clearly adored by its artists in residence!

 

So how can your Arts Business take inspiration from the Coburg House Art Studios? How can you get the public involved and improve awareness and income for the artists and you company?

  • Think about having open days for the public where they have the opportunity to get a special behind the scenes look at how you run your arts business.  Do you run a theatre company? Think about running an open rehearsal or script read throughs.  Do you have a dance school? Try having an open workshop.  What about a museum? Have an access the curators or scientists day or run specialist educational tours.  Think outside the box to develop unique community events.
  • Run specialist workshops encourage the local community to learn new skills or try something new.  You could offer these for free to raise awareness or charge a ticket fee as a way of bringing in additional income
  • Think about introducing a shop or gallery.  This works great in galleries and studios as it gives artists an immediate connection to sell their work and the commission you earn can be used to put money back into your venue and make it even better for clients.  Think outside the box here, the RSC runs
  • If you have the space available, you may consider launching a coffee shop or bar.  Make your work place a cool place to hang out!

 

Coburg House Art Studios have created a community beyond their community and become creative hub for the people of Edinburgh as well as the artists.

How could you do the same?  Let us know in the comments below!

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How Theatre can Inspire Revolution: ‘First Time’

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Promotion, Start Ups, Theatre

Theatre has a unique ability to inspire audiences.  It can work particularly well when raising awareness about charitable causes.

 

Well, recent winner of a Best Show of the Fringe award from The Stage Nathaniel Hall does just that with his new one man show ‘First Time’ in collaboration with Dibby Theatre.

This autobiographical play explains how Nathaniel contracted HIV from his first sexual partner.  He cleverly uses a variety of storytelling techniques to portray the emotional rollercoaster he had been on from when he first received the news through his journey of coming to terms with his diagnosis.

 

A self-proclaimed activist Manchester based Nathanial aims to speak out for and with those who have previously been unheard or ignored.

 

It is a combination of his immense bravery in telling his own unique story, his natural ability to inspire others to come out and speak openly about their own experiences with HIV and his incredible fundraising drive to work alongside locally based HIV charities offering workshops and talks that have led to some unbelievable (and well deserved) National Press Coverage.

 

This has included editorials in AttitudeBuzzfeed, and BBC News.

 

In fact, flicking down his press page is basically like the perfect lesson in who to contact when developing a press release list for a show like this: the national news platforms, the local reviewers and papers, the LGBT community and theatre-based media companies across the UK.

 

What is particularly special about Nathaniel’s show is how in talking about his diagnosis he has begun the healing process of his mental health and finally he is looking forward to the future. He has used his story to encourage a revolution.

 

You can take inspiration from Nathaniel when developing your own work.

  • Could you get involved with charities that are relevant to the work you’re producing?  This could open up funding opportunities for your own show and help boost donations to the charities you are supporting.

o   ‘First Time’ has run after show parties to raise money for local HIV charities

  • Could you offer specialist workshops or talks to help others learn from the themes in your work?  Could you contribute to the community alongside your performance to help spread your message and could increase your ticket sales.

o   ‘First Time’ has run post show discussions about Rapid HIV Testing.

  • Could you use your work to raise awareness of and openly campaign for an important cause? If you found communities that would be helped with your work this could not only mean sponsorship for your performance but also opens new marketing outlets so that your show is reaching the right audiences.

o   ‘First Time’ aims to erase the stigma around HIV and campaigning for the UN Goal of zero new HIV transmissions by 2030.

 

We would love to hear about any work you’ve done like this.  Let us know in the comments!

 

Nathaniel J. Hall and Dibby Theatre will be touring ‘First Time’ soon so keep your eyes peeled on their website here to check out when where you can see this remarkable show.

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To Flyer or not to Flyer

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Marketing, Promotion

That is the question

 

Yes, it’s tiring, emotionally draining, time consuming, environmentally unfriendly and you’ll probably get soaked to the bone due to the terrible and completely unpredictable nature of Scottish weather, but yes! To Flyer is always the answer!

 

The Arts Business have complied all the reasons you should flyer, the where’s, the when’s, the who’s, the what’s and the how’s all of which will make your flyering the most effective and enjoyable it can be.

 

1.       Be Human – build up report, have a chat, some human interaction and conversation goes a long way.  You want to show off your personality, see if it matches.  If you’ve got some great banter with your flyeree chances are they will take a shot at your show.

 

2.       Never Flyer Alone – Always have a partner! Flyering can be exhausting and the constant rejection can really get to you so have someone in the trenches with you, someone who is going through the same thing, someone to rant to, someone who will be your comrade!

 

3.       Rope in the Family – no one is more on board with your show than blood relatives who will rave about you to unsuspecting flyerees! Chances are they are coming to see your show anyway and with crazy low budgets who doesn’t love a bit of free and passionate labour.

 

4.       Schedule Times – Protocol usually dictates that you should flyer in the two hours a day before your show as this will be the most effective time to draw in the punters.  Don’t over flyer: you have to keep up your flyer enthusiasm for the entire festival so better to have short but constructive bursts.

 

5.       Have Breaks – very few of us are resilient enough to flyer for 2 hours straight so start 15 minutes earlier and have that cheeky tea break in the middle where you can try to chat about anything but flyering!

 

6.       Mix it up – An entire month promoting the same thing day in day out can be boring so why not trade flyers with a company you know and trust for a day, they flyer you, you flyer them, it adds a little variety to what can otherwise become a tedious activity.

 

7.       Location, Location, Location – obviously the Royal Mile but you are guaranteed a load of competition so other areas to think about are Princes Street Gardens, Bristo Square, George Square and The Mound, especially the paved area by galleries where the Half Price Hut sits. This is filled to the brim with undecided audience members just looking for your suggestion.

 

8.       The Royal Mile – you have loads of competition here so make sure you stand out.  Another cheeky tip is to have a wander up and down in the morning and check out the pop-up stage performers for that day.  Any with a similar genre to you? Chances are those crowds who stop will also be interested in you and your show!

 

 

9.       Flyer at your Venue – basically the only place you don’t have to ask permission to flyer so get up and down their box office queue, find shows that are like yours and flyer at the beginning or end of your show! Take advantage of your space, chances are you’re paying enough for it.

 

10.   Flyer entries and exits – do your research into similar shows and ask if you can flyer either the start or end of their shows, maybe even ask them to leave flyers on chairs inside.  Remember in queues there are bound to be paying customers just looking for their next show and if it’s a similar genre to yours chances are the audience will be interested.

 

11.   Find your Audience – Take the gamble out of flyering by finding out where your Target Audience hang out.  Are you a magic show for kids? Try mummy and me clubs or creches.  LGBTQ+ Comic? Look into the gay bars and clubs of the city.

 

12.   Have a Gimmick – something that makes you stand out in the crowds, wear your costume, create a photo opportunity, carry around that puppet, give out free condoms: draw attention to you!  Think outside the box and have fun with it.

 

13.   To hire or not to hire – street teams can be pricey, but they are also time saving.  Their pros are that they know the distribution channels and the city better than you do but remember they don’t know your show as well as you and your crew!  Just do your research and figure out if the money for time trade-off is worth it.

 

14.   5 second performance – think of it like a micro show, hook them in with a fun 5 seconds, then make a plan for the next 5, then the next 5 and the next.  Reel them in and keep them hooked!  If they like you then they will most probably like to see your show.  And don’t be afraid to practice before you flyer!

 

15.   Don’t force it – sure offer a flyer out but don’t force it into their hands, let the flyeree take it from you.  If they show genuine interest in you they are way more likely to come and see you, remember one flyer gently given is better than 10 thrust into uncaring hands.  It’s more environmentally friendly to!

 

16.   Nail your Exit Line – Don’t let the goodbye be awkward, like a farewell after a one night stand it is better to be confident not weird.  So, come up with a killer one liner which will make them remember you when they’re looking for they’re next show to see.

 

17.   Stay Positive – I know this is easier said than done but at the end of the day flyering makes up a big part of everyone company’s fringe experience so you may as well have fun with it.  Remember, we’re all in the same boat so turn that frown upside-down and don’t let the haters bring you down!

 

 

Don’t worry about flyering! Be Happy!

 

 

Have you got any flyering tips and tricks? Let us know in the comments so we can add them in!

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