You should already be aware that this year marks my 10th year as an artist! We’ve been sharing projects from my archive using #Scottee10 on instagram and twitter. We’ve also started collaborating with LADA on a series of publications (published September 2018) and events looking at the stuff my work has helped instigate. Later this year we’re also bringing everyone’s favourite Hamburger Queen back for one night only! (you can read more about our Scottee 10 plans here)
After getting into the arts through the back door it’s taken a decade of learning on the job to get to this point. However, my survival and continual survival as a firestarter, troublemaker and instigator cannot be attributed to just me. I’ve been championed by, egged on and pushed forward by many folk over the past decade, many of whom have allowed me the space to discuss stuff like homonationalism, working class masculinity and queer activism with communities across the UK. None more so than Executive Producer, Molly Nicholson, who, in the 3 years since she joined the company has implemented systems that have kept us afloat and pushed the ambitions of our work.
We’ve lived from project to project, trying to find ways of making the stuff we’re talking about have a bigger impact whilst trying to keep the doors open. We’ve often been limited to the fact that Molly and I are only paid two days a week to make everything, keep it ticking over and jump through the hoops the arts like to put in the way. Despite our work getting bigger alongside sector trust and audience growth, once a month we sit down to look at the cash flow and ask each other how we might get through the sticky stage that’s fast approaching.
Imagine our face then when the Paul Hamlyn foundation send us an email telling us we had been nominated by some brilliant person in the sector to apply for support that is about helping folk like me reach the next level, to push our ambition, support determination and give us a bit of breathing room. Our jaws dropped to the floor!
For the past year we’ve been working with the foundation to explore what a grant like this could mean for me, for us. After making it to the short list and then a very grown up meeting with some of the big wigs of the sector, last week I took a phone call that confirmed we will be one of four recipients of this years Breakthrough fund!
Over three years the Paul Hamlyn foundation are investing £304,000 to help us grow, get better, do bigger and live longer in our hometown of Southend-on-Sea! We’ve got a lot of exciting things planned including three years of small scale interventions across this bit of coast with our new ‘Room to Respond’ pot. All of our touring theatre work will now be seen first in Southend before they tour nationally. We’ll also be helping to develop local talent with new opportunities in the company including an Assistant Director - training someone on the job in the same way I got into this sector! My mentoring scheme will also increase to 20 artists living, working or making in Essex.
This investment is a proper game changer for me, for us. It means that Molly and I can build our capacity to push forward with some really exciting things and implement some really important conversations around class, queerness, fatness, gender, age, environment and opportunity!
With this increase we’ll be able to share resources, make bigger work, reach more people and grow - we’re really excited!
I wanna give proper props to everyone behind the Breakthrough Fund and all those at Paul Hamlyn foundation for their commitment to my work and its longevity. This sort of stuff doesn’t usually happen to people like me, to people from where I’m from so I’m still trying to process it’s actually happening!
I’m hoping the foundation will send a giant cheque in the post because my only reference point for this is when people used to win the lottery in 1997 and Anthea Turner knocked on their door with a bottle of cava and a great blow dry.
You can find out more about the fund here and more about the other three brilliant companies who are also getting support - each of whom I love, admire and I’m super chuffed for!
To celebrate this good news we are offering a small bit of cash for an individual to create an intervention in Essex working to the brief of ‘Working Class Success’
The cash is for a £250 artist fee and £250 materials budget to make it happen.
For this we’re expecting something small, achievable and directly discussing the theme.
We're looking for ideas that are achievable in relation to the budget. We welcome digital, public and performative interventions. We’re keen to see applications from working class makers.
Deadline for applications is 12 noon on 4th May 2018.