Going solo is a group effort


When they're not working on Stage Door at Lighthouse SUKIE BAKER is invariably planning and preparing performances of their own but, as they found out recently, successfully creating a solo show takes a surprising number of people...


Last month I was fortunate enough to attend a workshop run by Linus Karp – he of Diana: The Untold and Untrue Story infamy – in the Sherling Studio at Lighthouse on developing a solo show. 

During the workshop, he took us through the adventure of planning and touring a solo show, from loving your starting concept and negotiating with venues, through the wilds of Arts Council funding applications, and building a team to bring your show to life.  

As someone who frequently organises a festival performance troupe almost entirely solo, I was startled by the number of people that worked to create a solo show and I’ve realised I have some things to learn about delegation and finding the right people who will also put the work into helping shows flourish, whether solo or group! It’s certainly adjusted the way I want to collaborate in future and Linus emphasised especially the importance of having a director, and one you can trust and work well with. 

The section of the workshop on accessing funding was particularly helpful, as this is often such a huge barrier to the creation of new work, and many of the workshop attendees, myself included, had questions that were answered either by Linus himself or through the experiences of other attendees.  

The workshop was beautifully fluid throughout, moving from Linus guiding us through the stages of show development, into a sharing of participants’ experiences, to networking together and back to Linus again. 

Whilst talking us through the application process, Linus suggested reading several successful funding bids to get to grips with what is needed, and to plot out costing meticulously beforehand. Like many artists, I frequently fall foul of undervaluing my work when applying for funding, and Linus highlighted how this can be a roadblock in applications because it shows a lack of realism. 

Another valuable lesson learned. 

The dreaded (by me) marketing topic was broken down with great care and precision – many of us find it terribly difficult to be our own ‘hype merchant’, but it is so necessary in this field, and having the tools and advice to market shows more effectively will be invaluable, I think.  

One fact I came away with is that it takes roughly six times of hearing about something for the information to stick and for people to act on it. In marketing a recent cabaret, I held that in my mind and found it much easier to make frequent advertising posts on social media without worrying about annoying people. 

I was really grateful to attend this workshop, and even in just a few weeks I have found the lessons I learned in it coming into play in my work, both with solo shows and troupe events, and am even starting to plan for a new troupe show and funding bid come autumn!