The Whose Theatre....? Report stated that:
There should be more international work coming to Britain in order to counter cultural insularity
Appropriate resources should be made available so that exchanges that currently take place could be developed further
As it develops its strategy for pursuing opportunities for international exchanges, etc, the Arts Council should pay particular attention to the specific needs of The Sector, as identified by The Sector
Resources should be made available for The Sector to play a leading role in ongoing development of international cultural relations
The Arts Council should work in partnership with The Sector, the British Council and other agencies and organisations in the UK and overseas charged with fostering international cultural cooperation and exchange
Participants in the Sustained Theatre consultation process made the observation that mainstream organisations constantly broaden their programmes with international cultural activity. However, in spite of the fact that being part of a diaspora usually means that Sector practitioners are keen to develop international ties, there are a number of barriers that prevent artists from fully realising these ambitions and benefiting from international exchanges. Creativity thrives on exchange and dialogue with practitioners from a range of backgrounds and perspectives.
Sector practitioners want to have more opportunities to learn from artists outside of Britain and share their skills and knowledge.
Sector practitioners are keen that it is the art that should drive the international strategies being developed and the decisions made. Although there are obvious and immediate connections to be made to the countries most closely linked to The Sector – for example, India, China, the Caribbean – exchanges with other countries that already take place could be developed further with appropriate resources made available.
Participants asked whether it was even possible to develop strong, reciprocal links internationally without a permanent home in the shape of a building led by Sector practitioners.
The lack of financial and human resources required and the demands of keeping a company going without regular funding often prevent the development of viable links with overseas individuals and organisations.
International visiting and hosting can be complex and difficult to arrange. For
example, it would be difficult for a small, under-resourced company to negotiate the bureaucracy that results from the restrictions for artists from abroad trying to work in the UK.
There is a also the risk that British-based artists in The Sector will be overlooked in the UK in the quest for the ‘exotic’ other ’from overseas.
Some participants felt that there is potentially a problem in working to what was characterised as the political agenda of the British Council; participants perceived that only a certain type of the work would engender support and sponsorship.
In 2008, Pervaiz Khan was appointed as Sustained Theatre International Broker, and developed an Action Plan, based on the actions developed by the Artists Delivery group tasked with International planning. Four areas were identified for prioritisation:
The development of the North European Network