Dorset Arts and Business Partnership - Shillingstone shop helps award winning theatre group
WHAT do a Dorset touring, theatre company and a soft furnishings business have in common?
The answer lies in a Dorset Arts and Business partnership between award winning, AsOne Theatre Company, based in Osmington, and The Feathered Nest, a soft furnishings and gifts shop in Shillingstone.
AsOne Theatre Company has a brand new project, AsCend physical theatre, which is touring an Edinburgh Festival Fringe First winning play '100' whilst providing a springboard within the company for two talented acting graduates from the Arts University Bournemouth.
AsOne's artistic director, Jane McKell said: "100' is set in between Death and Eternity; four characters turn up not sure where they are and are joined by a mysterious other who tells them it is imperative they choose a valued memory to the count of 100 to live on a loop for Eternity. Newly appointed assistant artistic director, Jacqueline Avery - had designed the '100' set with some very clever, mobile canvas screens that would adapt to any space we perform in, big or small; and we needed someone skilled to make them. Our budget is always tight and we have to be creative keeping our production values high. Helen was wonderful, and responded to the nature of the piece of theatre, the graduates and the set ideas. She said yes to making our strangely shaped screens, keen to help us be creative."
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Helen Antell said: 'When Jane rang me I was won over by her passion for what she does. I started making clothes for dolls as a child, went on to be top in needlework classes at school; and trained at Bournemouth University for Advanced City and Guilds in soft furnishings. It was wonderful to earn a living at what I enjoy. After 23 years I still enjoy my work, and love a challenge. My favourite job is making curtains for a tricky triangular or arched shaped window; I love stylish solutions with design and features. So when Jane produced the '100' set design with its abstract flag shapes I was drawn to help."
A few years ago AsOne Theatre Company won the South West Arts and Business Heightened Branding Award for its partnership with Curves, the women's fitness and health clubs Franchise. The business partnership won the award because of the package of giving and receiving devised. Jane explained: 'We don't just ask for things – we don't ask for sponsorship we ask for investment in what we do; an Arts and Business partnership. AsOne asked Helen Antell of the Feathered Nest to make the screens in-kind in exchange for telling everyone about the quality, creativity and beauty of what she does. All our business investors get tickets for our final Gala performance at the newly re-opened Pavilion Theatre, Weymouth Thursday 21st November. We premiere at Dorchester Arts Centre on Saturday 14th September and then tour 11 venues throughout five counties.