CEO Weekly Blog – w/c 15 Apr


boat-house-theatre will be taking place on Stockton High Street Fri 26 – Sat 27 Apr


I’ve been thinking a lot about time this week. In my first blog this year I wrote about wanting to learn and reflect more, but acknowledged this might mean doing a bit less – and needing to be OK with that.

I’d like to revise that statement now. I don’t think it’s about doing less, it’s about giving myself permission to take a bit longer to do things. Why are we always rushing to do things? Where does that urgency come from? Sometimes it is rooted in reality, where deadlines exist for a good reason, but sometimes it is of our own making. My internal voice wants to keep people happy, to look efficient and to not disappoint people by saying ‘I can’t do that until next month’ or ‘I can’t meet you until June’. The truth is, I can do a much better job if I avoid over-committing, and of course it is better for my work/life balance too.

This week has been full of things that have benefitted from being given time to develop.

ARC has been buzzing this week, with four artists researching, developing and creating new work. At least four new shows have been in development. Some will take years to come to fruition but the roots were planted in Stockton this week. Other pieces are close to the finishing line, but our relationships with them started way back.

We’ve been working with one of the artists for 10 years, and another for five. The other two are much newer to us, and next week, we will be welcoming a company spending their very first week with us. It feels like a positive, healthy ecology – keeping our programme vibrant and fresh whilst at the same time, benefitting from relationships that grow stronger every time we work together.

On Friday we will be parking a 28ft boat on Stockton High Street.

It’s part of an amazing project called boat-house-theatre, led by artists Dan Scott and Tom Adams. It’s taken two years to develop, from an initial meeting with our partner River Tees Rediscovered, through a commissioning and making process, to negotiating the health and safety considerations. It’s not been the easiest project but thanks to the commitment and determination of everyone involved, and the support of Stockton Borough Council, patience has paid off and we’ve been able to make something happen that we think will be really special.

On Easter Saturday, we celebrated something else that has benefitted from growing over time: the 10th anniversary of Stockton Calling, a multi-venue music festival that has now become an established part of the local events calendar. It’s pretty much tripled in size since 2009, and this year hosted 70+ bands across nine stages, attended by more than 2,000 people. Again, its success has been rooted in allowing time to build relationships, with our festival partners Ku Bar and Tees Music Alliance, and beyond, with agents, promoters, sponsors, bands and of course audiences.

I’m never going to be a ‘things take as long as they take’ person – I’m definitely too impatient for that, but it is good to remind myself that sometimes things are all the better for taking a bit longer.