Platform 4: UK (2015 – 2018)
From August 2015 – January 2018, XTRAX was supported by Arts Council England’s International Showcase fund to deliver Platform 4:UK , a strategic programme designed to support the international promotion and export of UK outdoor artists. The ultimate goal of this project was to open up new market opportunities internationally for the best work from UK outdoor artists.
We achieved this by creating a variety of showcase opportunities in the UK and overseas, accompanied by targeted training and development support that has introduced artists to new touring networks and equipped them with the skills needed to thrive in these new territories.
Read on to find out how we did this
Partnership building and Reciprocity:
We worked with a number of key partners including:
–Belgium: Theater Op De Markt (Hasselt) and Flanders Arts Institute
– Germany: Tête-à-tête Festival (Rastatt), Internationale Kulturbörse Freiburg (Freiburg), Holzminden International Street Theatre Festival, Bundesverband für Theater im Öffentlichen Raum (National Association for Open Air Theatre)
– South Korea: Seoul Street Arts Festival (formerly Hi Seoul Festival), Seoul Street Arts Association, Performing Arts Market Seoul (PAMS)
– Spain: FiraTàrrega Festival (Tàrrega)
– France: Festival d’Aurillac (Aurillac), Accroche-Coeurs Festival (Angers)
– UK: Greenwich + Docklands Festival and Out There Festival Great Yarmouth
We delivered 5 UK Focus events overseas (in Belgium, Germany, France and South Korea) and hosted 7 stands at international marketplaces in Germany, Spain, and South Korea promoting UK outdoor arts.
Training and Artist Development:
We built relationships with organisations such as British Council, Circostrada Network, and the Department of International Trade (DIT), and worked with experts from overseas and several Cultural Institutes, including Flanders Arts Institute and the Korean Street Arts Association to offer advice to artists about touring internationally. The training sessions were designed to share information about international touring and to support artists to develop the skills required to succeed in these new territories.
- We delivered 10 seminars and training sessions for artists;
- and offered a further 15 opportunities for artists to network with international promoters in the UK and overseas.
Impact on the Artists:
Central to this project was to generate booking for companies in the UK and internationally through international showcasing. We supported emerging artists to more established companies, National Portfolio Organisations to non-regularly funded companies. The work was wide-ranging; from intimate theatre pieces to large-scale aerial spectacles, German Wheel walkabouts to interactive sound installations, dance duets to large circus productions.
- 101 UK companies benefitted from Platform 4: UK
- 16% of supported companies were Black, Asian and ethnically diverse or deaf and disabled
- Our initial research shows that Platform4:UK has generated over £900,000 in additional income for the companies, three times the funding investment from the Arts Council England
Impact on the wider sector:
Platform 4: UK has played a direct role in raising the profile of UK outdoor arts amongst international promoters and industry professionals. This is reflected through the increased attendance of international promoters at our UK Showcases, increased number of international bookings for UK artists and increased interest received by XTRAX from international partners willing to collaborate with us to present UK work as part of their programmes.
The programme has contributed enormously in changing the perception of the UK outdoor arts by showcasing the best of UK outdoor work and by exposing international promoters to high-quality work that they may not have encountered before. This has included celebrating inclusive and diverse work, an area in which the UK is an international leader.
Platform4 UK has demonstrated the demand for UK outdoor arts internationally and has generated considerable interest from international partners wanting to present high-quality UK outdoor work. After three years of activity, there is a general sense of momentum which feels important to embrace and we will seek further funding to continue this successful project.