Achates Philanthropy Prize Showcase

Published: 17 November 2020
Reporter: Sandra Giorgetti

Achates Philanthropy Prize
Theatre Centre/Theatre503 - ImagiNation Festival
Stage Beyond - Stage Beyond “Hamlet” for RTE Radio One,

For this year, the Achates Philanthropy Prize has re-modelled itself to examine and celebrate how cultural organisations have responded to the pandemic and the reception to this work from within their communities.

From 24 case studies put together by a team of Regional Prize Ambassadors, a panel of judges chose eight cultural organisations to be included in the National Showcase:

  • 20 Stories High for Knocking On, a piece of interactive doorstep theatre delivered on the streets of Liverpool.
  • Craftspace for the breadth of its work including artist Alinah Azadeh's online resource of five creative workshops.
  • Rifco Theatre Company for the Desi Lockdown series, five films from British South Asian artists each looking at a different aspect of the pandemic experience through drama, comedy and spoken word.
  • Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery for its twelve-week online challenge for members of the public to create their own miniature museum and distributing 500 physical packs to those unable to access creative resources online.
  • Scottish Ballet for Health at Hand, a series of movement and breath videos to support physical and mental health for people working in the NHS and Social Care services, including for support after periods of physical and emotional trauma.
  • Stage Beyond for Stage Beyond “Hamlet” for RTE Radio One, an adaptation of Hamlet created through workshops with 40 adult members each with learning difficulties and particularly at risk of social isolation.
  • Theatr Clwyd for facilitating creativity amongst Theatr Clwyd audiences and in their communities through Together, a multidisciplinary programme reaching up to 1,000 people a week of all ages, aged 5 to 84, including delivering 200 creative packages to young people in households receiving food packages during lockdown.
  • Theatre Centre/Theatre503 for ImagiNation Festival, 19 newly commissioned short plays to be recorded by members of the public, cut together and showcased in the three-day Festival.

Achates Philanthropy Foundation's Caroline McCormick, said, “the National Showcase marks how, at a dark time, arts organisations across the UK have risen to the challenge and responded to the priorities of their communities. The question of who owns and controls art has changed during the pandemic thanks to this groundswell of organisations who are actively seeking to engage more deeply with their audiences and communities, and to capture and share that work widely.

"The pandemic has exposed the limits of the argument of the economic value of the arts, and the breadth of the Showcase underlines the many ways in which arts organisations bring impact, whether on mental or physical health, in community building, educational, innovation, artistic development as well as economic value. We hope it will inspire and inform the work delivered under the next wave of the pandemic and drive a greater appreciation for the ecosystem which not only supports resilience but gives the arts its range and richness.”

The Achates Philanthropy Prize ceremony also saw eight Bursaries awarded to Echo Echo Dance Theatre Company, FEAST, Fermynwoods Contemporary Art, Hospitalfield Trust, Islington Mill, MOSTYN, Museum of the Home and People United, in support of their continued work.

The Foundation also curated and hosted its first conference Art, Audiences, Money looking at Power Dynamics in the Arts, Rewriting the Rulebook, an exploration of how traditional models and approaches are being disrupted, Philanthropy as Life Skill, Pay to Play, an exploration of stakeholders and power in the arts, and The Future of Philanthropy.

Participants included Hazel Wotherspoon, chief executive of Toonspeak Young People's Theatre, Abdul Shayek, artistic director and joint CEO of Tara Arts, director Fionnuala, theatre critic Lyn Gardner, Dave Moutrey, director and chief executive at HOME and director of culture for Manchester City Council, and Tarek Iskander, artistic director and CEO of Battersea Arts Centre.

Art, Audiences, Money and the 2020 Achates Philanthropy Prize ceremony are available to watch on-demand on the Achates Philanthropy YouTube channel.