For the past few weeks we Filskit Ladies have been a little off the radar. We’ve had performances and workshops aplenty so have been very busy, which is always a good thing. In the midst of rehearsing, washing costumes and planning how to fill an hour’s workshop with a group of 30 three-four year olds, we have also been plotting the next stage of Filskit world domination… a new show.

However, our plotting was stopped in its tracks a few weeks ago when we received the result of our latest Grants for the Arts application. We’ve been lucky enough to have had two successful G4A applications in the past, which have helped us to research and develop our two existing shows, but this time we weren’t so lucky. As soon as we saw the thin A5 envelope sitting on the mat we knew of the impending disappointment waiting inside (successful applicants get a nice chunky A4 pack). Needless to say we were absolutely gutted to read the words “your application has been unsuccessful”. Of course we tried hard to suppress our overall feelings of rubbishness by half-heartedly spouting things like “oh well, never mind” and “who needs money anyway”, but even with three years at Drama School we didn’t sound convincing.

We would never assume that just because we’ve been fortunate in the past that every single funding application we submit will be successful, that would be both naïve and  arrogant. The problem was that we’d done what everyone does when they buy a lottery ticket or scratch card, and already mentally spent the money in our heads. However, instead of dreaming of fancy yachts and trips around the world, we were hoping to spend the money on some interactive projection software (we get excited about such things). We also had organised our rehearsal space, informed collaborators and completed all the necessary planning to hit the ground running if we had received the “yes” we’d been hoping for.

One of the worst things about an unsuccessful application has to be telling the people that have supported you so far on the journey, especially when they have put so much belief in you. We ended up having what can only be described as tea and therapy sessions with some peers that we look to for advice, and I must say this made us feel a lot better.

It has been amazing to hear others stories regarding funding. Many prestigious venues and established artists have struggled for funding, both from ACE and from charities. Many people often do not discuss their disappointment, deciding to keep it quiet whilst they find alternate means to see their idea fly. We found it reassuring to hear of individuals’ initial failure being transformed into great success; in fact we would love to hear more.

Luckily for us it’s not all doom and gloom as we have received small pots of funding from both the Rose Bruford Jubilee Fund and Creative Youth through the Creative Talent Scheme. We have also got support from two different venues, which are still willing to invest time and space into our project. So now we are on the plan B. We need to make a decision to either downsize our project, source alternate funding or apply again.

Whatever the outcome, this isn’t the death of the project, nor should it be. In fact it might just be the proverbial kick that we need to be more rigorous in our planning, more inventive in solutions and more determined to succeed.

P.S. If anyone has a spare £10K and a love of projection you know where we are!