DUSK: Solstice Shorts 2017

Originating in Greenwich, on the Prime Meridian, and now in its 4th year, Solstice Shorts is  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 (Cornwall) 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 Cornwall 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 murmuration of starlings.

We’ve had much discussion about what I mean by Dusk – I’m going with astronomical dusk (as in to do with stars, not enormous!) which is the last ‘official’ segment, when the sun is down, but there’s still a lingering light in the sky, through to out and out night. Useful website here for those of you who are interested:

This is mainly a practical thing – if we started earlier the chances of an audience on a Thursday afternoon become vanishingly slim.

The stories and poems will all be new and unpublished, and the music either traditional or original.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. We are looking for match funding local to each venue as we confirm them. And of course we are CROWD FUNDING Feel very free to share with your friends.

We will 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, and we need to raise at least 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 (Intuitive Music Aberdeen), Inverness (Sherry Morris and Phil Baarda who run the Scratch Night at Eden Court), Carlisle (Carlisle Patchwork Opera), Lancaster (North West Literary Salon), Angelsey (Cybi Poets),  Rossendale (local writer Aziz Dixon and hosted by The Whitaker), Birmingham (Students a the University), Nottingham (Nottingham Writers’ Studio), Greenwich (That would be us), Redruth (Kernow Education Arts Partnership)

We also have potential organisers and venues in Hartlepool, (near) Barnstaple in North Devon and (near) Stoke. We thought we had a Bath partner but it turns out not, so we are still looking Bathonians. (Or Bristolians?)

We have over 40 expressions of interest from writers so far, many of whom are published and indeed critically acclaimed, and equally some who are relative novices, so it’s an exciting prospect. The Call out is now LIVE, DEADLINE 5/11/17


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