2020 is a year that no one in the world will forget for a very long time to come. It’s been one of great change, development and growth (and not always an easy process by any means) for the arts and literary sector.
In March of this year, we at The Charles Causley Trust and the long-established annual Causley Festival of Arts & Literature embarked on a journey to produce and host a 100% ‘Digital Zoom’ festival. In the end, that incorporated over 20 events – including live workshops, recorded content such as talks, readings, guided tours, performances of music, poetry and rap (many of them followed by Q&A sessions), and more – suitable for audiences across all age-ranges. Many of these events were completely free to ‘attend’ on Zoom.
It’s fair to say that these were uncharted waters for us, and for our sector (few if any organisations had ever tried this before, even in the recent pandemic situation). So, at the start of this venture, we had next to no digital audience, no video content, and only our little contact book of amazing supporters – along with a bucket load of faith. We had no idea if we could pull it off.
Fast forward to the end of July: we’ve just successfully planned, organised, promoted and delivered our pledge of a three-day digital arts and literature festival, to considerable acclaim.
Over the Festival’s long weekend, we had over 600 tickets booked (UK-wide and worldwide!), an interactive digital festival brochure, a live host to meet and greet everyone at the start of each event, introduce them all, and then to send them safely on their way at the end. We even ‘met’ distant, far-flung relatives of Charles Causley quite unexpectedly for the first time via Zoom, and in fact we saw audience members from Portugal, the USA, France, the Netherlands, Australia, Brazil and around the UK – as well of course as all around Cornwall!
During the process of planning we had financial and other types of valuable support from the likes of The Arts Council, Cornwall Council, The Rotary Club, Cultivator, Exeter University, KEAP, the Arts Marketing Association, Cornwall 365, numerous poetry and literary groups and other festivals. Cornwall Channel and Event Partnership Publishing provided us with our end content, too.
Everyone’s hard work and support helped us book those 600+ tickets across the three days. Just as usefully for the longer term, we’ve also attracted over 350 highly-engaged email newsletter subscribers, increased our Trust membership, doubled the number of our social media followers, and created over 20 pieces of video content (now being made available for a limited further period on our newly-launched YouTube channel). Most importantly, though, we succeeded in making Charles Causley’s poetry more widely accessible and better-appreciated, and even better-loved.
If you missed the Festival this year, or simply wanted to watch something again, then do pop over to our newly-launched YouTube channel, where (for a short period of time: act now!), you can browse the recorded events that aired exclusively over those three days in July. You could even subscribe to that channel and get updated whenever we upload new content throughout, the year!
All you need to do is make a cuppa, get comfy in your favourite armchair, click on the link below and browse…it’s that simple!
The Trust is truly excited about the plans being made for the next twelve months, and how we will both champion the work of Charles Causley and support developing and established writing talent across the region. Our digital Festival and the new YouTube channel are only a couple of the projects either already delivered, or in the pipeline.
To keep up-to-date with our developments, you can sign up to our free newsletter, subscribe to our YouTube channel, become a supporting member – or all three of those. They will all help enable us to continue the positive impact – and especially in an important sector which is having to find new ways forward in these uncharted times.