Nick White – Artistic Director, Wassail Theatre/Co-founder, Somerset Theatre Collective:
Emma Bettridge plays an integral role in supporting and developing the professional theatre ecology across the south west and indeed the UK. More than that though, she defines it. She’s synonymous with Quality. She’s the go-to-girl for people wanting to crack Bristol, or Edinburgh, or to talk about big, small & wild ideas anywhere in the world. Emma works tirelessly to make space for people who need space to dream. She provides an outstanding reflective process enabling artists to be artists. She creates an unashamed agenda that prioritises time. She listens astutely, thinks critically, and advises clearly. Emma’s brilliance lies with her knowledge of contemporary British theatre and her ability to form intimate professional relationships with independent artists and companies. She’ll engage in national conversations in order to help development locally. Time spent with Emma whether in casual conversation, structured consultation or in the fullness of creative exploration is absolute gold dust. Emma is a founder member of the Somerset Theatre Collective. Through that network, with her deep roots in Bristol and, as mentioned, her national connections, Emma is all set to deliver consistent and effective professional development for independent artists. This all ultimately benefits the audiences Emma’s artists want to reach. Furthermore, Emma’s own audiences, especially in the rural Somerset & Devon communities around Wiveliscombe, will benefit from her wisdom and her reach.
Gavin Stride – Director farnham maltings & caravan:
I have known Emma as a facilitator and leader of projects for over six years and believe her to be a highly principled strategic thinker with boundless energy and an ability to make things happen in the most unlikely of circumstances. I have two particular reasons for championing Emma in this current endeavour (Wiveliscombe Town Hall). Firstly I know how close the project is to her heart having heard her developing a practical vision for some years – this is not some opportunistic half thought through idea -and secondly because, heaven knows, Wiveliscombe and Somerset needs the infrastructure to support artists and audiences. I have no doubt that Emma will make something special and unique and popular and contemporary happen if she is given the support and encouragement that she needs.
Mimi Poskitt – Hammersmith Lyric:
I have worked with Emma on a number of occasions and I can safely say that she is the best practitioner at developing and nurturing new artistic talent in the Country. We have worked together over the years in our various roles and have seen one another grow and move onto more senior positions. Now is the time for Emma to take the leap and forge forward with establishing herself as a progressive and hugely experienced cultural leader. The shape of how we make work, where we make work and who we make work for is ever-shifting and Emma recognises this on a profound level. She understands the nuanced process of developing new work and working with new audiences – she understands the process of arts engagement and growth deeply. She is perfectly placed to lead this project and shape an exciting and sustainable scheme that will move forward talent development and audience engagement. Her plans for Wiveliscombe Town Hall are very very exciting and will create a new hub and a destination for audiences and artists alike. One we will all aspire to.
Emma has been the creative producer on the last two of my Arts Council funded projects. Throughout the past three years she has given advice on funding applications, given financial support (through Bristol Old Vic Ferment), arranged artistic residencies, consolidated new creative links with other artists, arranged venue bookings and fees, and given creative advice. Her support for my projects has been consistent, persistent and loyal. If I need guidance or advice on any of the above matters she is always on the end of a phone, or e-mail. If you are looking for a creative producer, arts fund raiser or friend; she is the best.
Emma has been fundamental to my growth as an artist and to the development of my company – Still House as a whole. I have worked with Emma for over 5 years – beginning when she ran Pulse festival in Ipswich and continuing into her role leading Bristol Old Vic ferment. From the outset Emma has been everything an artist might wish for from a programmer and producer. She has a commitment to supporting artists across all scales of work, an insightful eye as to the wider cultural landscape and an incredibly supportive and nurturing manner. Over the years Emma has listened, advised, advocated, connected me with other artists and backed up her words with real and tangible support. Without her work, we would be in a very different position.
We really enjoyed your producing masterclass yesterday at the phoenix, and appreciated the advice you gave us on producing, funding and pitching. We feel ready to take on the world!
Slackjaw Theatre Company