- Date: 11 December 2009
- Artform: Theatre, Visual arts
- Area: South West
On Saturday 28 July 2007, the first PL:ay one day festival of adventure, anticipation and encounters was staged in Plymouth by ‘LOW PROFILE’ (Hannah Jones and Rachel Dobbs) and ‘one.c’ (Kath Wynne) to showcase 33 artists from the south west and build new audiences for visual arts.
Supported by a grant of £11,165 from Arts Council England, South West, the mixture of visual and live art, performance and theatre at six venues across the city reached audiences of over 3,700 people.
A community initiative
PL:ay brought together artists, supporters and audiences from throughout the community. Plymouth City Council, Plymouth College of Art and Design and Plymouth Arts Centre each contributed funding, while Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery and other organisations provided support.
Over 73 people worked behind the scenes, including the three project managers, three project interns recruited to gain experience from the event, plus project assistants, technicians, documenters and venue staff.
Day-long events programme
13 live events and a gallery exhibition were staged at various venues from Plymouth College of Art & Design, Plymouth Guildhall and Plymouth City Museum to Smeaton's Tower, Annabel’s Cabaret & Discotheque and the shop window of Dingles department store.
Broken down into easily accessible elements – PL:ay Launch, Exhibition, Out and About, Studio Theatre and After Show Party – these sought not only to attract audiences to accepted art venues, but also to take the festival out on to the streets so that audiences could see works without having to make a conscious decision to visit a gallery. Audiences were also offered a snapshot of the festival in a 30-minute guided tour of venues.
‘Take up the Table Tennis Challenge’ attracted people to join in a marathon tournament, while ‘Fancy a cup of tea?’ enabled them to analyse their tea-drinking habits, have their fortunes read and collect memories.
‘Three Minute Warning’ at the ‘After Show Party’ created the opportunity for audience members to showcase a three-minute piece of performance from a range of film, video, time-based or sonic art, live art, text, experimental theatre, cabaret, dance or movement, intervention or other miscellaneous event.
Project manager Rachel Dobbs said, ‘PL:ay was a pilot to test out whether there was a need for a festival in Plymouth and the large audience it attracted proved there was by exceeding our expectations.’
Evidence of fruitful collaborations between artists, involvement from across the community and participation by audiences compiled from comments documented on the day all point to PL:ay’s success. Rachel Dobbs suggests that this demonstrates the need for a regular PL:ay event to build on this year’s achievements.
For further information visit www.playfestival.org