New readers start here…
The story so far Our ‘new generation team’ – chair Genevieve Rudd, secretary Jo Butcher, marketing Hatty Leith – are introduced to acclaim at the 2019 agm. They are a hugely successful injection of youth, but sadly have to resign in the face of the personal economic pressures that covid brought. And W&BA’s finances are hit hard by the cancellation of most of its 2020 events – critically, the sculpture trail. The 2020 agm brings back two of the old guard – Nicky Stainton as treasurer, Brian Guthrie as secretary – and a relatively new face as chair, Halesworth representative Ann Follows.
Now read on The management committee, and its Recovery sub-committee, have worked hard, over many Zoom meetings, to plan for 2021. And there is good news.
Thanks to our reserves, and some judicious fund-raising, we are planning three main events over the spring and summer. All are helped by the government’s new roadmap for easing lockdown (as well as subject to disruption if things go badly after all).
The sculpture trail – Sculpture in the Valley, at Potton Hall, near Westleton – is on. After some difficult date juggling, we’ve settled on Friday 28 May to Sunday 27 June. Most of the sculptors lined uo for last year are still there, with some others. The yurt café will be open and we’re hoping to feature a short film and some music. ‘Looking forward to it’ is a bit of an understatement.
Spell Songs in the Green is an exciting project invented by Janet Koralambe, who some of you will know as an inspiring choir leader round here. She has recruited a choir (rehearsing on Zoom is a challenge of course) to sing a suite of songs based on the Lost Words book by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris. The Millennium Green in Halesworth was to be the venue for performances involving the 50-strong choir, local schoolchildren, adult dancers and various community groups. Covid restrictions scuppered that, so instead we are commissioning a film of the whole thing. That is in turn an exciting project, and well supported financially by the town and others.
The Two Rivers Book Festival will be early in September and will incorporate some of the events we had to abandon last year, as well as new stuff. Dates and details to come. We had one date, 2 July, when we were planning an event at the Southwold Arts Festival. But, stop press: sadly, the organisers have taken the agonising decision to cancel the festival for this year because of the uncertainty about covid. They will regroup and so will we.
As there have been for the last 11 years, there will be Walks, starting in July and so far including Great Yarmouth, Westleton, Lowestoft, Earsham, Bungay, Halesworth and the climate-threatened coastline.
And that’s not all We have just begun planning an ambitious project linking the arts and the climate emergency. We will keep you informed of course, but meanwhile those of you who remember our successful Arts in an Age of Austerity conference in 2018 will have a clue.
As part of our new strategy we have hired Jo Leverett to work part time on marketing and project coordination. Jo is very experienced in this field, and has done similar work for among others the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival and The Cut.
Just in the last month we have also recruited three new area representatives as part of the management committee – Lisa Henshall in Harleston, Clare Johnson in Lowestoft and Chris Reeve in Bungay – with more to come we hope.