The Solstice Shorts Festival always has a TIME theme, this year it 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) 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, So we are starting in Ellon, near Aberdeen (Scotland) and finishing in Redruth (Cornwall) all the other performances will overlap, so that somewhere in the ether we are all reading/singing together, like a mumuration of starlings.
We have organisers and venues in Aberdeen, (Intuitive Music Aberdeen), Inverness (Inverness Playwrights) Lancaster (North West Literary Salon) Angelsey (Cybi Poets), Rossendale (The Whitaker) Birmingham (Unbroken Cocoon), Nottingham (Nottingham Writers' Studio), Greenwich (London), Bristol (Bare Bones Collective) Barnstaple (Courage Copse Creatives) Redruth, (Kernow Education Arts Partnership), and we have made contact with actors and BSL interpreters, so the project is progressing nicely.
The material is being collected now via Submittable, Stories and Poems can be previously published, but new work is prefered and only new work will make it into the subsequent anthology, which is part of our funding bid. Music will be either traditional or original. We have 44 submissions so far, there will be roughly 2 of each at each location, so we will need 72 pieces in total, tell you writer/musician friends, Deadline 5th November. (UK only, sorry).
As you can imagine this is quite a tricky idea to pull off, and is going to be expensive. We are applying to the Arts Council for most of the money, and have applied to local councils and other funding groups to help, and have interest from four of them, but even if successful we will need some more match funding, hence this! Feel very free to share with your friends.
We need to pay 2 actors plus 2-3 musicians for each site, pay for the venue for about 2 hours to allow for set up and clear down, pay the organisers, pay for marketing and insurance, pay for production of the anthology, BSL interpreters, video filming and editing... and we'd like to be able to pay a performance licence to the authors for use of their work too.
We are getting 8 of the venues for free and some people are giving some of their time for free but the budget is around £1,700 per site, so this crowd fund will go towards the 10% of the costs which is the minimum match funding the Arts Council will consider.
We have over 40 expressions of interest from writers so far, 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? Many of those are donated by our existing authors, or our organisers. That's what you can have as a thank you for your support. In case you need some visuals to help you decide, here they are.
Risks and challenges
Money is very tight on this project and time is getting tight too. If we can pull all the strands of the funding together it will be magnificent. If we can't, there are various options: if we don't get any match funding we won't get the ACE funding in which case we've got agreement from the majority of the organisers to go for a slimmed down shoestring version where no one gets paid apart from expenses, there's no book and no BSL interpretation, and there are a couple of venues that might not be involved.
If we don't get the Arts council funding but we DO get the match funding, we will prioritise the sites where their local authority came up with the funds, and use any excess from this crowd funding (which under those circumstances would be Greenwich money - we already know we can't get money from them) to support some of the others to do a bare bones version, where we pay the performers as much as we can, and there is no BSL video or book. We've done many events successfully before, both funded and unfunded , but we really want to be able to pay artists for their work, they are always what gets cut when the funding fails, so help us make it magnificent and show the Arts Council people really want this to happen.
- (14 days)