Take Me Somewhere (TMS) festival is Glasgow’s international festival of contemporary performance and the agency for supporting the contemporary live art sector in Scotland.
Established in 2017 as a response to the closing of Glasgow venue, The Arches, it thrives so that “Glasgow can still stage experimental theatre in other spaces and unexpected places across the city; so the title implied both a new geographical adventure in finding performance spaces, and also the key role of experimental theatre in taking us on previously unimagined intellectual and emotional journeys” (Joyce MacMillan, Scotsman, 6 May 2019).
Over almost three years, TMS has consistently created and presented “brave, audacious, unapologetic and generous work that speaks to urgent issues around identity, place, and human beings” (TMS, 2019). It has done this by foregrounding the work of the most radical artists who look to interrogate form or politic and allow us to perceive the contemporary moment in new ways. Work created by women, people of colour, disabled artists, and a strong strand of queer work can be seen throughout the festival’s offer.
Consequently, the festival has been establishing itself as a leading force in developing accessibility for experimental performance in the UK, and further afield, and is recognised for its diversity of programme.
With financial support from the British Council/Creative Scotland Partnership open call, during its May 2019 edition TMS welcomed a delegation of six artists and programmers from peer European festivals to Glasgow.
The group came from Italy, France, Slovenia and Germany. During a three-day visit, they journeyed through TMS’s innovative showcase of thought-provoking international and Scottish work, with diversity and accessibility featuring as core elements of the programme.
The delegates’ programme included a Scottish and European artists pitch session, a Live Art UK meeting, a symposium with Live Art Development Agency (LADA) delegates and artists. As well as performances there were networking events with the TMS’s Artist Constellation cohort and discussions around the live art sector within the European space.
The experience led to European-wide increased awareness of the range of work produced in Scotland. Participants mentioned having appreciated that much of the work was made by artists representing diverse groups “giving the impression that work being made and presented in Scotland is engaging in a real way with the conversation about diversifying arts spaces” (TMS delegate, 2019).
Artists invitations for future touring, exchange and residencies; co-commissioning of new work; and shared programming across borders, are some of the initial results already emerging from the visit. An overall impressive set of outcomes that clearly places TMS at the forefront of a germinating new European safe space for diverse voices.
The visit also helped set the foundation blocks for the creation of a European Programming Network base, which for TMS “is vital to securing our international reputation, but also essential for the fluid exchange of artists and programmers [that] make the sector thrive” (TMS, 2019).