Advance 2014 was divided into three steps. Before beginning Advance each theatre was asked to write a question they wanted to explore over the duration of the programme.
This was to give each theatre a targeted and focused starting point for their investigation and, following that, a way of helping them stay on track over the subsequent six months. After deciding on their question, Tonic worked with each theatre to help them break it down into manageable chunks, and to plan and carry out their approach to answering it.
+ Read the questions the theatres asked
Step One – Investigation
This step centred on the area of focus the theatres selected for themselves via their question. They examined how things are currently working, and sought to understand where barriers to women exist.
This step was about the theatres enhancing their own understanding and asking “why”; it was about them questioning their own thinking and that of others, and about exposing themselves to perspectives and information that may previously have been off their radar. Over all, it was about them being reflective and listening to others, not about them leading or needing to come up with solutions; that would come in Step Two.
Step Two – Innovation
Based on the findings of their investigation, the theatres explored and considered alternative or supplementary ways of working which would go some way towards removing the barriers they had identified.
This step was about dreaming up new ways of doing things, and of challenging existing preconceptions and the ‘but we’ve always done it this way’ approach. At the same time, any new approaches had to be achievable, realistic, and deliverable within the theatres’ already busy schedules and programmes of work.
Step Three – Action Plans
By the conclusion of Innovation, the theatres had identified something new they would like to trial, and produced an action plan outlining steps towards making this happen. These action plans covered a range of approaches. Some were:
- small and time-limited, others were big and long-lasting.
- designed for use in one organisation, others for the wider industry.
- focused on the operational or ‘nuts and bolts’ side of how the organisation runs, others focused on artistic output or the creation of new artistic works.