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 7,784, across Manchester’s leading theatres, Flare is taking time to reflect on what has been achieved and in what direction the project should head in the future.
We know that supporting experimental arts practice 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 maintains its genuine commitment to introduce innovative international new theatre to audiences in Manchester and England more broadly, and to supporting 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 look forward to the next chance we get to support brilliant new artists across Europe and elsewhere, making ground-breaking work, to offer emerging producers the chance to build their experience of the work and the festival context, and to provide the range of opportunities and experiences that the Flare International Festival of Theatre represents.
We especially 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.