Solstice Productions and CMS Ltd – Solstice
Impacts: Community and social empowerment, Education and International engagement
In 2012 Solstice productions began as a new writing theatre company. Our first project was a one act play, Solstice. The plan was to develop the play as a company, connect with professional actors and to work on the script. We were offered ‘in kind’ space at The Birnam Arts Centre in Perthshire for rehearsal and a preview performance. We then wanted move the project on to the Edinburgh Festival. Without the support of Content Management Solutions Ltd (CMS) and of Arts & Business Scotland (A&BS), it would not have been possible to get the project off the ground. The financial help allowed us to pay professional actors and to accommodate them in the local area whilst we rehearsed.
The partnership began when we approached brand new Perth based web design company, CMS and asked them to build our website. We delicately mentioned the grant programme at A&BS and the possibility of CMS sponsoring us in return for some exposure for the company. CMS were very open to this prospect as they were a brand new business in our area and this gave them some badly needed exposure as a new company.
As Solstice Productions continues with new projects, our association with CMS continued as the company hosts our website and are very keenly interested in our ongoing work. CMS gained new business clients from their association with Solstice, including a local artist and two clients marketing holiday lets.
Arts/cultural organisation story
The website built for us by CMS has been invaluable for raising awareness of Solstice Productions. The continuation of this support has made it so much easier to keep marketing and keep awareness in the company alive. The website enabled us to continually update our followers and to upload reviews of the show as they came in. We had a community preview of our show and the local two hundred seat venue sold out on the night. The reaction from the community was very positive. We were encouraged to return for a new production the following year. Through the successful partnership we have now made a new contact and are hopeful that we can repeat the experience with support of a new business partner as well as A&BS.
CMS is a very young business (launched in 2013) - the association with Solstice has reinforced our status as a credible website design supplier. This has been particularly important in the local market, where the sponsorship sets us apart from our competitors. The preview performance, which took place in The Birnam Arts Centre, was very effective in increasing awareness of our services to the local tourism market in particular, contributing to us winning contracts to build new websites for two local businesses, with two to three potential contracts also under discussion. In terms of the more general arts market, we feel our original and ongoing support of Solstice Productions through the build and ongoing hosting and administration of its website, gives us a foothold from which to actively target this market, and this will be a priority for us going forward.
We had coverage of our story in the local press and this helped to build our audience within our local community. We were also pleasantly surprised to find that word had spread as far as Dundee and a large group of people (having read about us in The Dundee Courier) arrived on the preview night, watched the show and then returned to Edinburgh with more people and watched it again! We employed a local youngster to design lighting for our show giving him professional experience of technical theatre arts which he studied at Perth College. We offered work to a local joiner and he designed and built our set at cost price only, as well as offering to build the next set for our next show. We accommodated our actors in a local bed and breakfast where the proprietors kindly offered us a discount and have offered us the same again for subsequent productions.