Dusk: a wave of words across the UK for Winter Solstice 2017
The 4th Solstice Shorts Festival: Stories Poems & Songs from Scotland to Cornwall as darkness falls on the shortest day of the year
Solstice Shorts Festival is a time themed live literature and music event held on the shortest day of the year, 21st December (Winter Solstice and Short Story Day)
Originating in Greenwich, London on the Prime Meridian, now, in its 4th year (despite what it says in the basics for this project) we are going nationwide.
The theme this year is Dusk, that time between day and night when everything changes. It lasts roughly 45 minutes and the idea is to have multiple sites across the UK all reading/singing different material (Chosen by us, read by actors/ sung by musicians) in several locations, starting as far North East as we can get and ending as far South West as possible, taking in key spots in between. On 21st December Dusk starts in the UK in the far NE (Shetland) at 16:53 and finishes in the far South West at 18:21, taking between 40 and 50 minutes depending where you are. We want the performances to match this exactly, and to have a live link up (Facebook, Youtube...) - so that Penzance wouldn't start reading until Shetland had almost finished (supposing we can get someone in Shetland interested) and all the other performances will overlap, so that somewhere in the ether we are all reading/singing together, like a mumuration of starlings.
The Stories and Poems will all be new and unpublished, and the Music either traditional or original. That 40-50 minutes suggests there will be only 2 of each at each location, so the more locations we sign up the more material we can use.
As you can imagine this is quite a tricky idea to pull off, and could be expensive. We are applying to the Arts Council for most of the money but even if successful we will need match funding, hence this! We are also looking for match funding locally to each venue as we confirm them. Of Course if YOU love the idea so much that you fund the whole shebang here that solves a lot of problems! Feel very free to share with your friends.
We need to pay 2 actors plus 2-3 musicians for each venue, pay for the venue for about 2 hours to allow for set up and clear down, pay the organisers, pay for marketing and insurance. So the more venues the more expensive, Often people let us use venues for free and sometimes people give some of their time for free (I've never been paid for all the time I put in for example) but it could cost as much as £2k per location, so this will cover 10% of the costs, which is the minimum match funding the Arts Council will consider.
Multiple calls out are at last bearing fruit and we have definite (subject to funding) organisers and venues in Aberdeen, (Scotland), Inverness (Scotland) Lancaster (NW England) Angelsey (NW Wales), Rossendale (NW England) Birmingham (Midlands), Nottingham (Midlands), Greenwich (London), Barnstaple (SW England) Redruth, (SW England)
We also have potential organisers and venues in Carlisle (NW England), Hartlepool (North East England), Penzance (South West England) and Stoke (Central Midlands).
We have over 40 expressions of interest from writers so far, and we'll be doing another call out now we know where the events will be, many of whom are published and indeed critically aclaimed, and equally some who are relative novices, so its an exciting prospect.
See those rewards over there on the right?
That's what you can have to play with as a thank you for your support. In case you need some visuals to help you decide, here they are.
Risks and challenges
We have run the festival for 3 previous years and whilst this is our most ambitious take on it, we have also organised a 36 date tour to 20 venues around the country in the last year (part funded by a crowd fund here) so some of the pitfalls of arranging at a distance we have already overcome, and we can advise the less experienced organisers of things to watch out for.
We have no idea how the link up will work but I'm going on a course! - I have been stressing to people that their venue MUST have a good phone signal or wifi and we tested the uploading part at our 5th anniversary event on 8th September. I definitely need a better phone picture wise but the sound isn't bad at all.
If we don't get the Arts Council funding (and its possible we won't) we will draw in our idea and either just have as many venues as we have found alternate funding locally, or worst case scenario, stick with our usual Greenwich base, but have a longer event that covers the 2 hours it takes for Dusk to clear the UK.
- (30 days)