At Basement, we privilege ideas of experimentation, the art and artists are at the centre. This has been the core of Basement since 2008 and is still at the heart of everything we do. Basement Visions is a new initiative to provide artists and their ideas with the support that they need to experiment, grow their work, launch it out of our space and take it to the world.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO CREATE THE BASEMENT VISIONS PROGRAMME?
Gabrielle Vincent: When we were designing Basement Visions, we were reflecting on the various opportunities that are given to artists by venues around the country such as STAB at BATS in Wellington and Matchbox at Q Theatre in Auckland. Both of those initiatives are providing an incredible opportunity for artists, but even though these exist, we felt there was still space for another programme. A large focus for us is supporting artists to develop their work. Typically at Basement, but also across our whole industry, we rush work to the stage. Artists have been thinking and dreaming of their idea over a long period of time but are usually pulling the show together in a matter of weeks. I don’t blame our artists for working in this way as it’s usually due to not having the funding to support a longer development period.
Basement has been known as a development hub for the last ten years - artists develop their practice by actively making their own work and producing it. Five years in, we started to introduce specific development programmes that were about growing skills and honing craft. Basement Visions extends previous initiatives but focuses on slowing down the development process and interrogating work at a deeper level. We have done this by programming the work at least a year in advance and by providing various development pillars along the way.
Basement Visions artists are given our previous PlayScience programme opportunity (two days of paid workshopping), two paid masterclasses (the artists decide who from the industry they might want to come in and learn from), a space to do a showing of the work, a contribution towards paying a Dramaturg, a longer pack in time, rehearsal space subsidy and a development period in the venue before rehearsing, to test ideas.
Over the years, work has been made in our little space that lives perfectly at our venue and has then gone on to tour internationally and become greatly successful.
Additionally, we wanted to provide an opportunity for those ‘mid-career’ artists that are still wanting to make work at Basement. We provide a lot of space for emerging artists as that is a core and necessary focus, but we didn’t have anything in place to support those artists that have been making work in our space for years. In this industry, we have a tendency to view Basement as a jumping off point and from there artists should be working their way to the “mainstage”, yet that is not what every artist desires. And truthfully, in the past, this has been the only viable pathway as far as we saw. Over the years, work has been made in our little space that lives perfectly at our venue and has then gone on to tour internationally and become greatly successful. We want to continue to encourage this alternative pathway.
Another key part of the initiative is to assist the companies in taking their work beyond our shores. We have been building on our international venue and festival connections for a few years now with the aim to potentially link our artists up with touring possibilities.
RECLAMATION is the second and final Basement Visions work in 2019 and plays 19 Sep - 05 Oct. Book tickets or find out more info here