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As we come to the end of our Scottish Government Performing Arts Venues Relief Fund (PAVRF) funded period and look ahead to Spring, we wanted to share a programming update with artists, companies, producers and our audiences.
It’s almost a year since we were forced to postpone our schools performance of Space Ape, the first of many cancellations, postponements and rescheduled shows of 2020. Since then, LAC has been able to quickly adapt and begin to deliver a suite of participatory, collaborative projects led by incredible creatives in our community. We will be extending and developing many of these projects and hope to start new ones over the coming months. But we also know many of our visitors and audiences are missing live music, live theatre, live comedy and exhibitions. We’ve missed hosting artists from across the world, both at our base in Lyth and across the county in village halls and community spaces throughout Caithness and North Sutherland.
In terms of where we’re at just now, we’ll not be setting any fixed dates for when we will return to presenting live performance. We’ll find a suitable balance between whatever restrictions are in place as part of Scotland’s Strategic Framework, and our ongoing funding situation. We are looking at a series of outdoor and offsite gigs and events for 2021 that can hopefully start this Summer. We imagine this will be an exciting and diverse programme showcasing local talent alongside some of Scotland’s best artists.
We know our residency programme is a vital part of Scotland’s creative ecology and the chance to have a creative retreat to make and develop work in Caithness is something lots of artists will be eager to take advantage of. Before restarting residencies, we will be following Scottish government guidance on travel and shared accommodation and ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our Caithness community is at the heart of any decisions we make.
We’re not sure when we might be able to start indoor programming in our theatre again. We will need to consider things like social distancing (we anticipate we’d only get about 10 – 12 audiences in our wee theatre with social distancing in place) and ventilation, making sure the safety of our audiences and artists is a top priority. As a project funded organisation, we also have no confirmed funding for a return to this programme yet but are hopeful we will get that support.
In the meantime, there’s lots to look forward to and get involved in. Our Caithness Artists in Residence programme is up and running with lots of projects looking for participants – read more about the projects here. In May, we’re also hosting our first online performance Distance Remaining in collaboration with the company who bought us the sell-out show Islander. We are excited to soon be announcing a new collective of LAC Associate Artists who we are supporting with seed commissions and development time.
Artists, companies and producers, can contact Charlotte and Tom for more information and any updates. Our programming policy is also available to view here. Any community groups, local charities or organisations in Caithness who want to get involved in any of our programmes or to suggest something else, please do also get in touch.
With so much uncertainty for the future, one thing we do know for sure is that we are committed to remaining flexible and optimistic. Thank you to our small but mighty LAC team and all of our audiences, collaborators and participants for your support and inspiration over these last few months.
Hopefully see you soon.
Charlotte Mountford & Tom Barnes