A creative laboratory

Author: Simon Casson

I feel very grateful to the Culture Rest programme for giving me the opportunity to step back and reflect on where my company is going.  It’s Duckie’s 25th Birthday this year, marking a quarter of a century of putting on shows, clubs and events.  Because of the time pressure of producing a full programme – last year we staged 140 events and 120 workshops – it’s a rare privilege to take the time to step back and take a view of what we would like to achieve in the next 25 years, should we be lucky enough to get the chance.  All on Zoom and easy to access, and really time efficient for people with busy work programmes, Culture Reset asked the big questions I hoped it would.

Apart from a brief frisson with the Barbican in the noughties, Duckie doesn’t tend to work in the legitimate cultural institutions – publicly funded theatres, galleries and arts centres – preferring our grass roots, working class stomping grounds of pubs, nightclubs, church halls and community centres that Duckie can make our own and don’t come with the established middle class cultural baggage, expectations and audiences.  Using variety, catering and club culture, Duckie have lots of hits and staples in our stable, but our big dream is to create the new large scale working class outdoor community theatre for the roaring twenties.  Stewarded by the excellently encouraging Michèle Taylor I was in a dynamic mixed group of arts producers, and was inspired to have quite a few new ideas sparked through the workshops and conversations.  The participants were very openminded and supportive and creatively critical and I made a couple of new pals. The package of podcasts and videos were really good food for thought, I loved the Bryony Kimmings one.

Culture Rest was a well timed, well judged creative laboratory for me, and a real tonic in this weird, disconcerting summer.  The ripples from it are just about to be put into action.

Simon Casson, Producer, Duckie