The Touring Network team met at the Badaguish Outdoor Centre in early April  to welcome the new GET IN Youth Promoters, define the role and find out how the  programme will bring their interests and experience together to support live touring performance in communities across the Highlands and Islands.

Joining us and the Youth Promoters, from as far afield as Edinburgh, London, Shetland, Fort William and Edderton were promoter mentors Kresanna Aigner and Rhona Dougall,  guest speaker Vikki Doig, and evaluator David Stevenson of Queen Margaret University . We were also pleased that one of our Year 1 Youth Promoters Peter Egan, could attend in person. Chloe Rodgers joined us online on Friday evening to meet the new recruits.  Peter, Chloe and Kerry have volunteered to buddy the Year 2 intake, and will have continuing support from GET IN, in preparation for them becoming full Promoter Members. 

Rhona and Kresanna explained to the Youth Promoters their route to becoming promoters;  

Kresanna graduated to volunteering at big events whilst starting out putting on smaller ones and now is promoting, engaging and producing amazing experiences for people, including the Findhorn Bay Arts Festival. 

Rhona began promoting to overcome her frustration that events would pass by Oban, so she  made things happen there and now sees this as a community service. She described herself as the

‘Organiser person in lots of different ways, doing XYZ with the skills to make this happen, telling people it’s happening and getting people to the happening.’

A discussion around the Promoter role and why become involved, resulted in;

A Promoter’s role is‘ to make events super accessible’

The promoter is seen as the motivator – the centre point of a team ultimately getting people together.

Kresanna saw her role in the community as ‘Sharing Happiness’ and Rhona felt like a ‘bit of a Champion.’

It is a visionary role with strong leadership qualities, where the promoter must build resources, including a team to deliver. 

‘This role creates a 360 degree skill set which helps in every aspect of your life.’

We all prepared and cooked dinner together including a BBQ as the weather was mighty fine with artful Eton Mess to polish off. 
The evening gave us a chance to hear from the Year 1 Youth Promoters who have just completed promoting and hosting their tour artists Kathryn Joseph and Marcus MacKay. 
Saturday morning began with the question – How do we work as a team?
This session brought the group together to discuss what works for the individual and how this fits in the GET IN team. 
The next question was – What makes a good leader?  Suggestions covered skills such as listening, problem solving and open mindedness, as well as knowing what needs to be done where and when!

We looked at the challenges for the promoter in being able to stand still and reflect. 
The lines between work and leisure can be very blurred as events are fun – make sure to be able to define where work ends and leisure begins. Many more challenges will be addressed in the year ahead!

Thanks to Rhiannon, our Services Manager, the Youth Promoters are now all up to speed with their Go See bursaries and how to make the most of this opportunity. This fund covers travel, accommodation, ticket & subsistence costs to Go See unusual performances that the Youth Promoters feel may be appropriate for their audiences. In return, the Youth Promoters make a review of the piece to share and generate conversation with their colleagues.

There was a fun discussion on how many different genres and crossovers there are of live performance art, what kind of venues host which genre and what kind of genres do their local communities experience, begging the question – where are the gaps?  Within two weeks of the residential there had already been two events booked and we look forward to the reviews!

After a break for lunch in the sun and a bit of clambering around on the Badaguish play equipment it was back to work.

To support the performance conversations we invited Vikki Doig, Youth Theatre Arts Scotland, to lead a workshop on reviewing skills. She gave a fascinating presentation ‘Reading Theatre’ and a practical session, focusing on what to look for when booking a theatre show, how to interpret the show, and how to communicate what you thought of it clearly.  She also focused on how to then use your experience of seeing a show to sell it to others. This skill is a fundamental part of supporting touring performance as the promoter needs to know a lot about the show to be able to interest their neighbouring promoter.

Before parting company on the Sunday we got together one last time to run over the Promoter role, responsibilities and areas they cover, including the need for leadership.

We took a look at all the tasks that are needed to produce an event and came up with a summarised delegated skill / interest set which we will drill into at the next residential in Cromarty in June.

The Touring Network (Highlands & Islands)

Supporting live performance across the Highlands & Islands as part of a central, celebrated and indispensable part of the cultural life of Scotland.

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