Art Outside the Ordinary

Pop-Up Theatre is theatre than can happen anywhere, for anyone. It might be a venue, or street-theatre, or a travelling circus act. It could be in a bus shelter, a playground or in a former Woolworths (more on that later).

The most important thing is that it gets out of its box. It throws open the doors or infiltrates (politely) into public spaces. It bangs drums or pulls you in to a moment. It’s not sitting there waiting for audiences to come along. It’s being open and inclusive so that anyone can experience art, theatre & performance.

I have always been very proud of Lincoln Performing Arts Centre and it’s goals with POP OUT Festival; finding new and innovative ways to connect with more people across Lincolnshire and beyond. Collaboration and strong partnerships with our community and other venues have been really important in strengthening the cultural ecology of our region. So when the opportunity to pop-up in an empty shop unit, right in the heart of Lincoln’s bustling shopping centre, we couldn’t possibly turn it down.

Coming on board as Associate Producer for the project, my first port of call was speaking with Sarah Sharp; Producer and Artistic Director of Theatre Delicatessen in Sheffield. Until very recently, they set up shop in a former Woolworths. The space was massive, and Sarah’s role was to find brilliant theatre, performance and workshops which often had very little technical requirements and on a shoe string budget. But perhaps the most positive outcome was the community that came together to make Theatre Delicatessen a joyous, welcoming space. Knitting circles, ‘Death Cafés’, reading groups, students, theatre companies – they all used the theatre as a space to feel safe, comfortable and creative. This was my inspiration for Waterside Pop Out Theatre.

So, after a couple of months of research, lots of meetings and phone calls, our programme is now complete. It’s packed with drop-in craft activities, street theatre, workshops, community group take-overs and small scale studio performance – it will be so much more than just an information desk.

Very importantly, all of our events are free. We wanted to make it accessible for anyone to just drop in and try stuff, and find out more about getting involved in the future. It’s 100% risk free for our potential audiences and participants, and that’s really important to us.

This is just the start, I’m sure of it. This partnership is such a tremendous step in bring arts and creativity to more people in Lincolnshire. It’s breaking down those barriers around theatre venues, that lots of people feel they can’t cross. This is a space for them, for everyone. I can’t wait to throw open the doors and see what happens.

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