Bigfoot Theatre Company, has established a national scheme that combines arts in education practice with enterprise. Kitty Gould explains.
The Bigfoot Local Provider (BLP) programme allows arts practitioners to earn a living on a full- or part-time basis, undertaking flexible work they can fit around other commitments and bringing expert drama provision to schools and communities in their local areas.
The scheme focuses on building long-term community relations whilst providing arts professionals with a successful business anywhere in the UK. Similar to a franchise scheme but without the huge start up costs, Bigfoot charges a much smaller fee to cover initial training and annual licence, then deducts a small percentage from the gross of all bookings to cover programme development, invoicing, brand materials, support and marketing.
Karl Wozny, the companys Artistic Director, explains, There is a major lack of creative arts provision within schools and communities that cater for the everyday child. This scheme creates more opportunities for children, improving their confidence and key skills, whilst giving them a voice with which to express their concerns and opinions. Bigfoot is well known for its innovative programmes and commitment to quality training, so for arts practitioners, there is a real opportunity to be involved in a successful enterprise whilst at the same time bringing a positive change to education and youth empowerment across the UK.
Having a career in the arts has always demanded a huge amount of flexibility and perseverance. Many performers supplement their income working on additional projects. Whilst this is easier in cities, for those who live further afield, opportunities are sometimes limited. Bigfoot currently offer arts professionals an extensive variety of training, employment and business opportunities from facilitating and performing to co-ordinating regional drama academies and this model extends this. Many facilitators discover they are not only able to utilise their creative skills and training to inspire, engage and empower others but also to increase their own confidence simultaneously.
Candidates attend an initial practical workshop day before being invited to attend the seven-day training course. This course covers everything they will need to know in order to successfully set up a BLP, including lesson planning, behaviour management, devising techniques, child protection, customer service, admin and business marketing.
After successfully completing the course, candidates are offered a licence to bring Bigfoot programmes to their local area, all the while supported by Bigfoots company structure, promotional resources and support services. BLPs then have the option of attending further training to extend the variety of innovative and creative programmes they offer. This increases opportunities and the income they can potentially generate, taking earning potential up to £100,000 per annum.