From the mouths of the little’uns

Notnow Collective did not get the ACE Emergency funding.

We cried.

Now, although we are small, with no real capital or loud voice, we want to make this weird position open and transparent.

Firstly, we acknowledge and are very appreciative of the immediate response that the Arts Council offered. We are sharing the relief for all the peers who were able to secure the funding, and will hopefully be able to navigate these times safely.

 

We are also humbly sharing this space now with those who profoundly feel the void.

 

At the point of theatres’ closure we were in the middle of touring our new show Pepper & Honey – a unique project connecting us with those who know our work, but also significantly expending our work to new audiences up and down the country.

Our audiences took part in the story about having in common much more than what divides us.  

Following the cancellations, we decided to honour our on-the-road team’s fees as much as we could, knowing how heavily they depended on those fees.

Plenty of touring overheads simply went down the drain.  Some hires already paid for we were able to reduce, thanking each individual and company who were forthcoming.

 

Arts Council were great, fully understood our position and reasoning, and agreed we ring-fence the remainder of the money to resume the tour when theatres re-open. They recognised how important it is for us to reachliveaudiences and participants with this liveevent. We would also like to pride ourselves in being able to give immediate work to our freelance team, as soon as we are good to go. We all now we’ll need it.

 

Right now, hanging over us are the ongoing expenses we cannot stop, avoid or reduce: they need to be extended for at least 7 months if we are to resume our tour.  

To finance these expenses we will either have to pay from our own pockets (as self-employed workers who have no savings and currently, no income) or we will need to cut into the ring-fenced pot, subsequently look at cutting the number of shows, or participation activity.

 

Inevitably, the sensation of “not being relevant enough” seeps in.  

Yes, this is not a good or productive place to linger in, but we’ve arrived here, accompanied by Fear and Worry.

 

We are a young company, made up of passionate, visionary freelancers with caring responsibilities, with four passionate, hard-core, relentless years behind us. Like many from this industry, (and despite business mentoring telling us otherwise!) Notnow Collective is made up of many personal sacrifices, and too many long or unpaid hours. This is reality of many in the independent sector – the passion often drives us forwards. We are not alone.

 

We were making it work despite the challenges of lacking support network – as our extended families live far away – juggling work, home, inflexible and expensive childcare, long hours and low incomes. We’ve set up new homes and found new communities.

Yet, we were steadily getting somewhere. We were growing.

With audiences and participants at the heart of what we are doing, we are continuously looking at how to challenge the language, the systems and the spaces that are not accessible and flexible enough.

We wanted to see more varied people call themselves active and happy audiences, or artists.

 

Over the last few weeks we have been connecting with fellow carers/parents-workers-from-home, which made us even more aware how much need there is for the work we have been developing. (This is also the cue to honour the magnificent efforts by Mothers Who Make and PiPA Campaign). Whilst acknowledging everyone’s precarious position, we are also aware how compromised is the mental health of those who juggle many plates in the air, but all from the spaces of our own homes – and for some those space are VERY confined.

 

We need to process the grief. Not just for the funding we did not get, but also for all the opportunities that were laying in front of Notnow – our projects and our collaborators: new venues, new partnerships, thrilled audiences, delicious biscuits. finding new ways to work and present work, celebrating artists who are navigating working alongside caring responsibilities, and seeing people celebrate other culture and language on their stages and in their communities.

Great core team, complimenting each other with individual strengths and skills.

Most of all, hard work finally started giving some fruit.

Today we are acknowledging our Good Work Done, alongside the Tears and the Fears.

 

Tomorrow, we will have to move on, one foot in front of the other, however small those steps might be.

 

Direction yet unknown.

 

Change is the only constant thing.

 

Radical things come out of radical times.

 

 

Although not sure at the moment in what capacity we will be able to exist, we want to keep connecting with people who find solace in knowing they are not alone – particularly those juggling childcare and work from home at the moment – more info soon on open (ZOOM) spaces for those who need them.

 

We also want to connect with more peers who have not been Emergency funded –thinking and actioning. Space to re-think our future(s) together?

 

 

Thanks for reading, and sharing this moment with us. If you recognise yourself in any of the above and want to get in touch, please do:

 

info@notnowcollective.com

 

or through our social media on Twitter and Facebook.

 

You are not alone. We are not alone.