One of the drawbacks of having been funded by so many different agencies for Origins is that we now have to do a specific tailored Evaluation of the project for every single one of them. We finished our own internal Evaluation for the board meeting last week - but it's not enough just to send this to everybody. For one thing, most of them have their own form they want filling in, and the questions are not the same!
Evaluating cultural projects is always a minefield anyway. What constitutes a "success" or a "failure"? We clearly can't measure the success in purely commercial terms: if that were the sole criterion, then there would be no need for funding in the first place. On the other hand, if the cultural event only reaches a small audience, then there's a real element of failure about that - it feels like failure. One good thing about the Festival from this point of view was that there were lots of clear objectives which we were able to lay down before-hand, and which made it attractive to the funders. So yes - exposing London audiences to First Nations arts, but also providing a platform for these artists in London, networking opportunities, artist-to-artist interaction, the generation of the legacy in the Participation and Learning programme....
The latter is still in progress. Gabrielle from Polygon has just sent me the flyer for the play which is touring schools this autumn. This was generated in response to a series of workshops between Roma performers and the First Nations companies we brought over for the Festival. It's called O Patrin (which is Roma for The Way). The title refers to a system of Gypsy symbols imparting knowledge of conditions on the road or showing the way. It's touring London secondary schools 21 September - 16 October 2009, and the performance lasts 35 minutes, followed by workshop (up to 90 minutes). The package, for up to 60 students, can be delivered twice in one day. There's a Resource Pack with activities and curriculum links, and there is no charge for schools! Now, how about that for a good deal?
Teachers who would like to book should email email@example.com or phone 020 8368 1592. The co-producer is the Romany Theatre Company.