To develop and support a thriving network of voluntary promoters, enabling them to promote high-quality professional theatre and dance performances and community cinema screenings in rural venues across the North East of Scotland.
NEAT promotes professional theatre via a subsidy scheme to provide ensure that rural communities have access to professional theatre performances and cinema screenings.
In 2015, they launched the Young Promoter Scheme in partnership with Aberdeen International Youth Festival, with financial support from Youth Arts Collective North East. The Scheme works to equip young people with the skills in event and arts management, empowering them to become active event promoters in their community.
Their model gives regional promoters autonomy and flexibility over programming, ensuring local audiences can enjoy screenings which are tailored to their community’s preference.
NEAT’s community cinema scheme, launched in 2013, has five sets of mobile cinema equipment, costing around £5000 each. Volunteers are then trained as projectionist, and can deliver and set up a professional standard cinema experience at venues across Aberdeenshire and Moray.
Most of the screenings tend to be new DVD releases, with occasional access to pre-release DVDs.
Promoters encourage residents to engage with programming, sometimes taking the opportunity to screen films of a local interest or archive footage.
Themed nights are popular, for example, whisky tasting organised to coincide with Whisky Galore, and a Bollywood film shown alongside a ‘pot luck’ curry night where members of the community all bring their own interpretation of Indian food to share.
NEAT runs a membership scheme, where local promoters pay an annual subscription fee of £70 and receive a raft of benefits in return, including training and regional marketing.
Cinema events are mostly self-sustainable, with the average cost of each screening coming in at around £150. Any profits raised after costs are reinvested back into the venue to support future screenings.
NEAT also maintains an emergency support fund, which can be offered to venues depending on the profit made from the previous four screenings.
This gives promoters a safety net, but also the flexibility to put on more adventurous screening programmes which might be less commercially attractive.
Core staff are paid from Creative Scotland’s RFO funding, while a sponsorship deal with Mackie’s of Scotland Ice Cream covers the support fund and equipment maintenance.
NEAT events attract a wide demographic, creating a social bond in the heart of communities where access to high-quality film and theatre experiences are extremely limited. BFI funding allows them to engage with non-traditional cinema audiences through a series of free screenings, while autism-friendly screenings have also been piloted in one venue over the past year.
NEAT is also developing autism-friendly screenings which they have piloted in one venue over the past year.