We are sorry to announce that, due to insufficient funding support, the Flare International Festival of New Theatre 2020, planned for July this year, will not now take place.
After ten years, and five successful iterations of the festival, presenting 83 different performance pieces by 310 theatre makers and performers, to a total attending audience of 7,284, across Manchester’s leading theatres, we’re taking this as a cue to reflect on what has been achieved and in what direction Flare as a project should head in the future.
We know that supporting arts practice that doesn’t have a large following can be challenging for funders, particularly when budgets are being squeezed and there are so many other priorities. And we know that building the audience for new and often challenging work by broadly unknown artists is perhaps one of the biggest challenges of them all. But the genuinely new is always unknown and in need of enlightened folk to back it, and one of the best ways to refresh any sector in this country is to look abroad, even when national political priorities seem rather more inward.
Flare remains a genuine commitment to introduce innovative international new theatre to audiences in Manchester and England more broadly, and to support the artists making it. Shortly to relocate into the new Manchester School of Theatre building on Oxford Road, Flare is also invested in extending the practice and understanding of students of theatre and performance, so that they appreciate new forms and develop as the theatre artists, producers and audiences of the future.
But for now we deeply regret not being able to support the brilliant new artists making ground-breaking work that we have been in touch with over the last two years - in Ireland, the Netherlands, Spain, France, Belgium and elsewhere – not being able to offer emerging producers the chance to build their experience of the work and the festival context, and not providing everything that the Flare International Festival of New Theatre represents.
We look forward to staying in touch with all our networks – audiences, artists, producers, partners – and to the next iteration of Flare, whatever form it takes.