Back In Business – Where I’ve Been & What Next

So as you’ll have noticed, I’ve been away from Hope in Hell for a couple of months now. There’s a few reasons for that – I was at the Fringe, and then in NYC for example! – but mainly I’ve just been experiencing a confidence dip. It’s proving hard to sustain belief in a project like this over months, honestly, but I’ve been back in Sheffield this weekend and it’s been a big boost! So this post is to catch you up on the things I have managed to do for HiH since August, and the things coming next!

Guildhall Creative Entrepreneurs

First things first – I got accepted to the Guildhall Creative Entrepreneurs course! Hurray, I hear you shout. Unfortunately, I couldn’t afford the tuition fees. Deeply, deeply frustrating, and upsetting too really – being excluded from an opportunity by money is never a happy experience. However, it was encouraging to get through the interview process, and I might try their short course next year!

Fringe Networking

Probably the best thing I did at the Fringe this year was tweet Dave Byrne, the director of New Diorama, and ask to get a coffee with him. He’s a lovely person, and always open to helping fellow creatives, and gave me TONS of useful advice, some of which has made me rethink how Hope in Hell will work in practice. In short:

  1. It won’t work to have a full open door policy – HiH needs to be consistently programming quality shows, to maintain audience levels and to get funding
  2. HOWEVER, this doesn’t mean a fully closed door policy either  – there’s enough time in a month for both!
  3. Quality breeds opportunity – having large audiences in for selectively programmed shows will mean more money to spend on bursaries, training, rehearsal space and admin support for the Open Door Policy

I’m going to be reworking my budgets in light of this advice, and writing an “example month” to figure out what sorts of residencies etc I might be able to offer


This week I managed to bag a slot for a phone call from the Finance Director of the ITC – the Independent Theatre Council, as part of their ITC999 initiative. I was asking for advice on finding funding for a capital project – something bricks and mortar, rather than a production or project. Slightly reassuringly, he said he didn’t know either! But he did make me aware of the Arts Council Small Capital Grants fund, which looks very hopeful indeed.

Sheffield Visit and Encouraging Friends

I was up in Sheffield this weekend visiting friends, and seeing Flood by Slunglow (it was amazing, naturally). It made me remember how much I miss the city, and how beautiful it is. Look at that!


Anyway, I also met up with a ton of my Sheffield friends, and it was really lovely to have them all ask after Hope in Hell, and want it to succeed. I found it really energising, and it helped me to remember why I started doing this in the first place! So thanks Tim, Fergus, Alex, Soph, Hannah, Jenni, Glenn, Rosie, Alex, Matt and Patrick. I appreciate it a lot.

What Next

Next up for me is:

  • Re-stating the Mission Statement for HiH, in light of advice from Dave Byrne
  • Imagining an “example month” of productions, rehearsals and residencies
  • Producing a completed business plan, and accepting it won’t be perfect
  • Contacting ACE and Sheffield Council about funding and moving forward in 2018

So please do keep following – we are back in business!

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