It’s Easy Being Green! CAE’S Top Tips for Environmental Sustainability

Earlier this month, we were contacted by Julie’s Bicycle, a leading charity that supports creative organisations to focus on improving their environmental sustainability, to deliver a talk to their staff and members of Arts Council England on the achievements that we’ve made over the last few years. Julie’s Bicycle was established in 2006, and they partner with Arts Council England to deliver their Environmental Programme to ACE’s National Portfolio Organisations (NPOs), of which we are one.

Apparently, we are one of their ‘exemplary’ organisations in terms of the strides we had made in reducing our environmental impact from 2015 to 201. Initially, we were surprised about this – even though we have a huge reach across Norfolk and the wider Eastern region in terms of the events and communities we support, we perhaps underestimated the impact our small team could have!

Our Office Manager Julie (of no relation to Julie’s Bicycle, but a happy coincidence!) is the one that takes care of our environmental reporting and has taken up the mantle to make sure we are adhering to ACE’s NPO reporting criteria and hitting our targets. Because of her hard work, being environmentally friendly has become of huge importance to us at CAE, so we thought we’d pass on some of the top tips that we’ve learnt, which might help other organisations be more environmentally friendly. Some of these are bigger changes, but most are completely free and take almost no time at all!

• Change your lighting to energy-efficient bulbs. When our office was refurbished, we changed to energy-efficient overhead tubing, and also did a big audit of unnecessary electrical appliances in the office. This led to a 20% decrease in electricity consumption.

Set yourself a bin bag target! We’ve managed to reduce our black bin bag waste to less than 1 bag a week between our staff of 10, and this has helped us increase recycling by 24%.

Are your radiators as efficient as they can be? To help feel the full impact when we do have the heating on, we’ve bled our radiators and moved cabinets to clear the space around them. This has helped us achieve a 10% decrease in gas consumption.

Encourage your staff to use public transport more! Think – that meeting in the next major town/city along, could you take the train instead of driving? We have reduced our car mileage and increased our train travel by around 35% by encouraging staff to use the train as much as possible for external meetings. We’re really pleased with this achievement, particularly as our promoters are based in rural, often remote locations.

Reuse, reduce, recycle! We use old coffee grinds as compost, recycle packaging that comes in to the office, and try to use electronic communications instead of paper where we can.

Eco-friendly can mean ethical too. We send old electrical equipment to a free service which recycles and refurbishes it to donate to companies, charities, and families without the budget to buy new equipment, and have also switched to ethical and animal cruelty-free hygiene and cleaning products.

As well as all of this, the ethos of our rural touring programmes is by nature environmentally friendly. By delivering arts events in the heart of rural communities, our promoters are also endorsing environmental sustainability because their audiences are not as reliant on car travel to cities and towns further away to access to these experiences. They can walk often as little as yards down the road to witness some truly great live performances, cinema screenings, and creative workshops, and this is something we’re really proud of.

A Warm Welcome to Our New Team Member!

We’ve got some exciting news! Last week, we welcomed a new team member to the organisation – the wonderful Abbie Line! Abbie has come on board in the new role of Touring Scheme Administrator, and will be helping scheme managers Alice and Karen with both CAE Screen, our community cinema scheme, and Live!, our rural touring live performance scheme.

The whole team here at Creative Arts East are thrilled to have Abbie join us, so it’s time for you to find out a bit more about her!

Firstly, welcome to the team, Abbie! Could you tell us a bit about what you were doing before you started working at Creative Arts East?

Thank you, I’m very excited to be part of the team! I studied in Nottingham where I developed an interest in the museum and heritage sector, and more recently in the arts on a wider scale. While I lived in Nottingham I worked as a Freelance Heritage Assistant, and got involved with lots of great projects in local museums. I also started a networking group called East of England Emerging Museum Professionals when I moved over to Norwich which I really enjoy.

What’s your role here at CAE, and what will it involve?

My role is the Touring Scheme Administrator, which means that I will mainly be supporting the exciting community cinema and live performance schemes Screen, LIVE! and Inn Crowd. I will also have the opportunity to get involved with lots of great events, and build relationships with the wonderful promoters and artists who work with CAE.

What are you most looking forward to in your new role with us?

I am really looking forward to getting to know more about the rural communities in and around Norfolk and Suffolk who work with CAE, and those who get involved with lots of the various projects and schemes. It’s great to see how the events being put on are so beneficial to so many people, and I can’t wait to get involved with helping to make it all happen.

If you had to plan a fun day out for the CAE team, where would you take us and why?

I’m a really foody person, so I would plan a trip to somewhere like Cadbury World or find a baking workshop. Judging by the fact that some of the CAE team bring in things they have made I think that would go down well!

And lastly, tell us a fun or perhaps unexpected fact/hobby about yourself!

I have quite a few hobbies really but I love all things creative. I enjoy experimenting with different art forms so I do a lot of painting, sewing and printmaking at home. I also love history (having studied it at uni) and have a slight obsession with the Tudors!

Thanks Abbie! We hope you enjoyed meeting our newest team member, stay tuned for more blog posts coming up over the next few months!

Take a Peek into the CAE Office!

The sun has been shining all over the Eastern region this week, and here at Creative Arts East we’ve been busy prepping for a busy summer ahead! Lost In Translation Circus will be performing in King’s Lynn this August to celebrate 250 Years of Circus; Glass House Dance and musician Les Chappell will be working with the ‘Our Day Out’ participants to create a movement and sound piece inspired by the Norfolk landscape; and we’ll be holding our first Screen Promoters Day since we relaunched and rebranded our community cinema scheme!

We’ll be talking more about all these exciting projects and events soon, but for now, we’d like to give you a glimpse into what goes on during a normal day at the CAE office!

Our Community Touring Manager Karen and Community Touring Assistant Becky were in Worcester this week for the National Rural Touring Forum (NRTF) Conference – New Directions 2018. The NRTF is an organisation that works with rural touring schemes to help them develop their work in delivering high-quality arts experiences to rural communities, and the annual conference is a great opportunity for other touring schemes to network with one another, and see some brilliant excerpts of new work that they may want to programme in future. We can’t wait to hear from Karen and Becky about how it all went!

Back in our Wymondham office, the rest of us have been getting on with the day-to-day activities that comprise our roles. Our Marketing Design Officer Sophie has been working on a huge 5-metre long banner to promote Lost In Translation’s circus performances in King’s Lynn this August; Project Assistant Lea has been out and about visiting community groups in Dereham to promote our creative workshops for older people; and our Communications and Content Assistant Zoe has been busy tweeting away as usual, and developing a corporate sponsorship strategy! Businesses who want to support a local charity – come on down!

Since we relaunched our cinema scheme as CAE Screen, our Community Cinema Manager Alice has been preparing a new film menu to be launched at the Screen Promoters Day on 11th July, which will include an exciting selection of suggested film titles for our promoting groups. We don’t shout enough about all the hard work our brilliant Office Manager Julie and Finance Manager Sheila do to keep all things admin, logistics, office management and finance ticking over – this week they’ve been reviewing the Risk Register and working on a new internal appraisal process. Oh, and starting to plan our Christmas celebration for December – that’s how organised they are!

Part of our Executive Director Natalie’s role is to safeguard the future of Creative Arts East through funding and development, and it’s these areas she’s been squirreled away in her office working on lately, fuelled by coffee and cake! We’re also one team member down this week, with our Deputy Director Elly currently enjoying the delights of the South of France (although with the weather we’re having this week, we’re hoping to compare tans!).

We do hope you’ve enjoyed this sneak peek into the goings-on inside the CAE team – and do stay tuned for more blogs this Summer about all of the fantastic arts events we’re delivering in rural communities near you!

Keep Dancing! Norfolk’s Older Generation Learn to Belly Dance

Hopefully you’ve had chance to read our last blog post, which was all about our Big Sing event in March, celebrating the ‘Our Day Out’ participatory singing and dance workshops. Every three months, we work with different professional artists to deliver brilliant participatory arts sessions, specifically designed to engage Norfolk’s older generation in creativity and culture. The Big Sing event in March marked the end of our groups’ time with local singers Mary and Kim, but did signal the beginning of perhaps the most ambitious activity our groups have tried yet – belly dancing!

Our participants have taken part in their fair share of dance styles before, including tea dances and contemporary ballet with renowned company Rambert, but since April, our groups in Attleborough, Dereham and Thetford have been trying out a completely new style with the brilliant Henrietta from Zahara Belly Dance. Music and dance activities have been proven to have a huge impact on the wellbeing of older people, especially those living with dementia, which is why our sessions focus on engaging our participants in these activities. It’s fantastic that by working with Henrietta, Creative Arts East are able to offer our participants the chance to try something different.

 Henrietta said about the sessions:

I am really enjoying delivering a series of belly dance sessions for ‘Our Day Out’ in Dereham, Thetford and Attleborough. Everyone joins in as we shimmy and jingle wearing the brightly coloured hip scarves. There is lots of laughter and joy as we dance together. It is such a rewarding experience for me, bringing my passion for the dance to a new group of people and seeing them respond to the music and moves. Belly dance has the ability to transport people to a different place where we can feel the music and just dance together. I am so pleased to be involved in the project.”

Not only are the belly dancing sessions an excellent way for Norfolk’s older generation to remain active and mobile, and in the words of one of our budding belly dancer Sylvia from Attleborough, they’re also “a good laugh”! They can be tailored for any ability, undertaken seated or standing, and are fully inclusive to those with dementia and other long-term health conditions. The sessions take place twice a month in Attleborough, Dereham and Thetford, and we are also running music-making workshops twice a month with our Watton, North Walsham, and Wells-next-the-Sea groups. For full dates and details, visit our website here, or contact lea@creativeartseast.co.uk. We’re always looking for volunteers to help out and more participants to take part, so do get in touch!

The ‘Our Day Out’ project is funded by Spirit of 2012 Trust, with additional funding supplied by Breckland Council and North Norfolk District Council. For more information about Henrietta’s fantastic belly dancing sessions, visit her website here.

The Big Sing: A Recap of a Great Day Out

As well as our core rural touring schemes (Creative Arts East Screen and Live!), we also deliver a variety of projects in the Eastern region, which involve different community groups. Over the last few years, one of our biggest projects has become ‘Our Day Out’. This project began in 2016, with the help of our major funding partner, Spirit of 2012 Trust. As part of the project, we work with professional artists to deliver creative, participatory music and dance workshops specifically designed to involve the older generation in arts and cultural activity. We run sessions twice a month in 6 different locations across Norfolk, with the artists leading the sessions  changing every 3 months. The project offers participants the chance to meet new people, have fun, and get creative, all in a dementia-inclusive environment.

Since January, the sessions have been delivered by local musical artists Mary and Kim, and participants have been taking part in singing workshops, singing favourites from yesteryear, learning new styles, and even trying their hand at song-writing! To mark the end of Mary and Kim’s time with our participants, we brought all of the groups together for a ‘Big Sing’ on Thursday 29th March at Dereham Memorial Hall.

The Big Sing was a fantastic celebration of the songs the participants have been learning over the last few months, and it gave everyone the opportunity to meet people from the other groups. Each of the 6 groups had been working on their own verse of the sea shanty ‘In This Windy Old Weather’ over the course of the sessions, and so ‘The Big Sing’ allowed all the groups to join their verses together and create their own personalised version of this classic song. As well as the singing, there was laughter, chatter, and of course, no ‘Our Day Out’ event would be complete without refreshments, so we made sure there was plenty of tea and cake on hand!

Our funders, Spirit of 2012 Trust, attended the Big Sing, and said this about the success of the event:

“It was a great event and the joy amongst participants was palpable when they were singing and in the breaks. It was genuinely moving to see what a great time they were having and the release that singing and being in a group can bring. Spirit of 2012 is very proud to fund such an inclusive and inspirational project, bringing people together to have fun, make friends and explore their creativity. ”

We’ve loved partnering with Mary and Kim, and are looking forward to our next lot of ‘Our Day Out’ sessions kicking off this week! The artists we’ll be working with from April till June will be Tessa Wingate, and Zahara Belly Dance. Half of the groups will make more music with Tessa, while the other half will join Zahara with gentle belly dancing-style movements! Check out the upcoming sessions here!

Wells-next-the-Sea (The Sackhouse at Wells Maltings, Jicklings Yard, Wells-Next-The-Sea, NR23 1AU)

Tuesday 10th April 1pm-3pm
Tuesday 24th April 1pm-3pm
Tuesday 8th May 1pm-3pm
Tuesday 22th May 1pm-3pm

Thetford (Thetford Methodist Church, Tanner St, Thetford IP24 2BQ)

Friday 6th April 2pm-4pm
Friday 20th April 2pm-4pm
Friday 4th May 2pm-4pm
Friday 18th May 2pm-4pm

Dereham (The Meeting Point, St Withburga Lane, Dereham, NR19 1DF)

Friday 13th April 2pm-4pm
Friday 27th April 10am-12pm
Friday 11th May 2pm-4pm
Friday 25th May 10am-12pm

Watton (Christian Community Centre, 57 High Street, Watton, IP25 6AB)

Thursday 5th April 2pm-4pm
Thursday 19th April 2pm-4pm
Thursday 3rd May 2pm-4pm
Thursday 17th May 2pm-4pm

Attleborough (St Mary’s Community Hall, Church Street, Attleborough NR17 2AH)

Friday 13th April 10am-12pm
Friday 27th April 1:15pm-3:15pm
Friday 11th May 10am-12pm
Friday 25th May 1:15pm-3:15pm

North Walsham (Cameo Café, Furze Hill Resource Centre, 73 Happisburgh Road, North Walsham, NR28 9HD)

Thursday 12th April 1:30pm-3:30pm

Thursday 26th April 1:30pm-3:30pm

Thursday 10th May 1:30pm-3:30pm

Thursday 24th May 1:30pm-3:30pm

 

If you’d like more information about the project, whether it’s joining in yourself or recommending a friend or family member, please do get in touch on 01953 713390. We’re always looking for volunteers as well, so get in touch here if you want to give back to your local community by helping out at the sessions.

Our Pick of This Year’s Oscar Nominations

We’re huge cinema fans here at Creative Arts East, which means we’ve been keeping an eye on the big films of the moment nominated for the most prestigious awards in Hollywood – the 90th Academy Awards. The ceremony, otherwise known as ‘The Oscars’, takes places this Sunday 4th March, so let’s take a look at the some of the nominated films our team have been raving about. You never know, they could be hitting a community cinema screen near you next season!

SophieBest Picture: ‘Call Me By Your Name’

Stunning visuals of rural Italy, a fantastic soundtrack and a real tale of true romance! I found this film mesmerising and haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since I saw it at the cinema. Your heart will ache and break for these characters, you can’t not see this film!

 

ZoeBest Director: Paul Thomas Anderson for ‘Phantom Thread’

Part gothic romance, part crime and part period drama, this is a film that resists categorisation. It’s an exquisitely crafted, Hitchcockian character study, in which director Paul Thomas Anderson transports us into the decadent and glamorous world of 1950s haute couture. Allow yourself to be taken in by the fairy-tale enchantment, but watch out for something darker lurking beneath the service.

 

Sheila

Best Animated Feature: ‘Ferdinand’

Ferdinand is a gripping, big-hearted adventure that my children loved, and yet has jokes for the parents too. It’s easy watching fun with a simple storyline, and my girls liked it so much that they came out wanting a pet bull!

 

Karen

Best Actress: Sally Hawkins in ‘The Shape of Water’

The film has stunning visuals and cinematography throughout, but I was most struck by Sally Hawkins’ portrayal of Elisa. Her character is mute and as a result is often over-looked.  The emotion portrayed without dialogue, through not only expression and manner, but also physicality stayed with me and captured my interest. I was instantly captivated by her. 

 

LeaBest Cinematography: Blade Runner 2049

Blade Runner was a visual treat! You will be submerged in an expansive cyberpunk cityscape of neon colour and amazing special effects of the future, including massive holographic projections and virtual reality. It perfectly reflects when a new world meets the old – from gritty scenes of a ruined past in the desert to an excitingly new but ominous new technological world lit up in the dark.

 

Check out the full list of nominations here. Let us know which films you’ve been enjoying lately!

“Great to have Theatre ‘Out in the Sticks’”: The Third Season of INN CROWD has Begun!

Since 2016, we’ve been working in collaboration with fellow rural touring organisation Applause (who do what we do – but in Kent and Sussex), to deliver a unique programme of spoken word-inspired performances, specifically tailored to rural pubs! INN CROWD’s aim is to support pub landlords in offering something a little different to their regular punters and attract new customers too, by enabling them to host high-quality performances in their pubs. This helps cement the pub as a vital part of rural community life, and allows local people the chance to see fantastic professional live art in a familiar and comfortable setting, often without having to travel far at all.

The third season of this brilliant project has just kicked off, with INN CROWD’s first co-production in the form of ‘Holmes & Watson: The Case of the Rhyming Crime’ by Dr Illingworth and Mr Simpson, delighting audiences in 4 rural pubs (The Burston Crown, The Wheatsheaf in West Beckham, The King’s Head in North Lopham and The Dun Cow in Christchurch). As well as this commission, the INN CROWD project will see local pubs host performances by critically acclaimed and award-winning poet Luke Wright (Norfolk and Norwich Festival hit for 2 years running); a one-man play where the famous Lord Byron regales local pubs with his tales of debauchery and romance; and an interactive show called ‘Voted Out’ by local performance poets Mark Grist and Tim Clare, in which audiences can use state-of-the-art technology to interact with the performance, voting real-time on the subject of the poems themselves. Other upcoming events include shows by duo Living Spit, who will deliver their unique brand of musical comedy, and previous INN CROWD hit David Mynne with a one-man version of Great Expectations.

So if you fancy a bit of poetry with your pint, head to our website to see if INN CROWD is coming to a pub near you! If you’re a pub landlord who’s interested, or an artist with a story to tell, more details about the project and how you can get involved are on the INN CROWD website. If you’ve been along to an INN CROWD event and want to share your thoughts and photos, use the hashtag #INNCROWD on Twitter and Facebook!

“Bring entertainment to the pub; that’s what pubs are for. Bring the villages together. Fantastic!”

INN CROWD is a partnership project run by rural touring organisations Creative Arts East in East Anglia and Applause in Kent and Sussex, with artistic support from Writers’ Centre Norwich and expertise from Pub Is The Hub. It will continue until 2019, with majority funding from Arts Council England and the Esmée Fairburn Foundation.

Introducing… James McDermott

We’re kicking off our blog with a brand new feature, Introducing…, where we pick the brains of award-winning Norfolk-based playwright and performer James McDermott, who makes his Creative Arts East debut on Saturday 27th January at Ovington Village Hall, with his critically acclaimed comedy, Rubber Ring.

Rubber Ring is a laugh-out-loud coming-of-age comedy set in Sheringham, and based on McDermott’s own experiences as a working-class Morrissey-obsessed teenager exploring his own sexuality against the backdrop of rural Norfolk. McDermott describes it as “a play with a big heart full of big characters and big laughs”, and his script blends song lyrics, music and autobiographical tales of his teenage years, and promises to be a night out audiences won’t forget…

Sum up your show in 3 words:

‘Funniest! Show! Ever!’

What is your favourite spot in East Anglia?

‘On good days, the clifftop walk from Weybourne to Sheringham. On bad days, Norwich Train Station so I can escape to London.’

If you had one super power, what would it be?

‘The ability to read minds so I could really understand human psychology and then hopefully write better characters. And so I would know who fancies me back and then I wouldn’t waste time pursuing people who don’t.’

What was the first film you saw in the cinema?

‘I want to say it was a Francois Truffaut film but it wasn’t. It was Rugrats In Paris. Very different type of French cinema…’

And finally, give us one reason why people should come and see your show!

‘Because coming out to see a laugh-out-loud coming-of-age comedy about growing up in Norfolk is better than staying in watching repeats of Maigret on ITV Three whilst wolfing down a box of Brandy Snaps.’

 

Rubber Ring will be performed at Ovington Village Hall on Saturday 27th January at 7.30pm. The show is a ‘Pay What You Decide’ performance, giving audiences the opportunity to come, watch, and pay what they think their experience is worth after the show. McDermott will also be holding an informal post-show discussion. Capacity is limited so it is advisable to book in advance. To do so, please call 01953 885848 or click here for more information.

Rubber Ring has been selected as part of our rural touring programme, and will also tour to Sheringham Little Theatre on 5th May and Wymondham Central Hall on 12th May. For more information on upcoming events, please visit our website.