Canterbury Festival is now firmly established among the major arts organisations of the South East. With its full time staff of 7 and a centrally-located, visible presence in the City, the Festival has come a long way from the time when it focused almost entirely on its October line-up. Now the busy team is engaged with a live event every month – mainly to raise funds - but also to maintain profile, build audiences and develop partnerships. Festival House offers a meeting place for common interest groups in marketing, diversity and access, an ideal location in which students and aspiring arts professionals can learn “on the job”, and a comfortable home for tenants the University of the Third Age.
Having worked extensively on its business model, enhanced its governance, and stabilised its core team, the Festival is now ready to concentrate on the artistic development of its programme. While the threat of shrinking funding is ever-present, the Festival Board is not risk averse. They understand that the organisation – must continue to move forward towards its goals of unique programming, commissions and ever-greater engagement with communities. To that end they have committed to dip into the Festival’s hard-won reserves if required, spending to enhance the programme and develop more excellent creative projects throughout the year.Central to the Festival’s success is retaining membership of the Arts Council’s National Portfolio from 2018 onwards. As an NPO the Festival is better able to plan long term and be generous by sharing its best-practice experience and skills in support of other smaller agencies working through the arts in Kent. The Festival’s relationship with Canterbury Christ Church University is set to become ever more creative, continuing with sponsorship whilst enhancing the creative partnership involving students, staff and communities.
More new work, more Canterbury-relevant projects, more international visitors (both artists and audiences) and more participants are all goals for the next five years. Greater art – for everyone.