Between November and January a collaborative project called ‘Working Together to Strengthen Puppetry’ funded by Arts Council England and coordinated by Puppet Centre Trust, brought together a group of individuals working in puppetry and related fields such as theatre, circus and street arts to explore how the puppetry sector might be better equipped to capitalise on its undoubted artistic successes by raising its own profile, building audiences and optimising funding opportunities. Among the issues the puppetry leaders discussed were how to coordinate training provision, how to get more support from stakeholders and generate more funds for puppetry, how to provide support for touring work, and how to boost the production of mid-scale work.
In each area it was clear that the puppetry leaders needed to invest time and effort in working collaboratively on strategies and initiatives. Out of this the puppetry leaders involved came up with a proposal to establish a Puppetry Development Consortium. This Consortium, independent from Puppet Centre Trust, is conceived as a partnership of puppetry leaders who want to work together to achieve shared objectives. An additional part of puppetry's infrastructure, this Consortium intends to augment the exceptional work done by existing organisations across the country – many of which will be Consortium members.
The Consortium will be membership-led with a clear collective vision that will identify and address its long-term priorities for sector development and short-term plans to help achieve them, focusing on:
· Leadership and Advocacy
· Talent Development
· Audience Development.
The Consortium will be light on its feet and able to make things happen effectively. The Membership Specification has been considered carefully to ensure representation of different parts of the puppetry infrastructure and a good geographical spread. There are currently 9 members and we are still seeking 3 more to fill the criteria. This is an unpaid role, which relates to the leadership responsibility each member has in their own field.
The Consortium is not intended, nor could it claim to represent the views of everyone who works in puppetry. However, each member will be charged with the job of liaising with other puppeteers with the intention to ensure that a wider community feel engaged and involved.
Following a competitive bid process, Puppet Centre Trust has been appointed to coordinate the Consortium for year one. This is a purely administrative role and is not part in the decision-making process which is the preserve of the membership. Puppet Centre Trust will also provide a communications outlet for the Consortium to work alongside and complement existing infrastructures and channels.
Please read the attached Establishment Action Plan for details of the Consortium.