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Vending machine in Drake Circus will offer unique plays, poems and pin badges, all created by Plymouth artists

A one-of-a-kind vending machine is about to be installed in Plymouth’s biggest shopping centre – stocking poems, plays and pin badges made by Plymouth artists.

Shoppers will be able to buy the one-page poems and plays for just £1, with all proceeds going back to the artists who created them.

The poems and plays are carefully packaged in boxes inside the vending machine, with each box containing one of four enamel pin badges inspired by Plymouth landmarks.

The badges have been designed by artists ranging from a children’s book illustrator to a tattooist. They are limited to the first 400 boxes.

Twenty playwrights and poets have been hired to write the poems and plays, with an open call to other writers who would like to contribute before the end of October.

For a list of all artists involved, along with information of how to enter the open call, please visit http://plymouthartvending.co.uk/

The Plymouth Art Vending Machine will be available from 8 August until 8 November 2023. It can be found opposite the Currency Exchange on the ground floor of Drake Circus.

Alex Robins, co-ordinator of the Plymouth Art Vending Machine, said: “I hope that this will be an opportunity for Plymouth artists to create new work, network with other contributors and grow their local audience.”

“It’s an important project to start now, in this year of recovery, to support local artists by connecting them with each other and the public in a fun, accessible way.”

Culture support agency Plymouth Culture has funded the pilot project, providing support for the Plymouth Art Vending Machine throughout its development.

Hannah Harris, CEO of Plymouth Culture, said: “The Art Vending Machine is a wonderful example of bringing everyday cultural experiences to a wider audience – we can’t wait to see the reactions of shoppers. We have some brilliantly talented artists and writers in Plymouth and it’s exciting to see their work brought to different people in this creative way.”

“A big thank you to all the people and organisations who have supported this project, including Drake Circus for hosting it.”

Greg Lumley, centre director at Drake Circus, said: “We’re very excited to be hosting this unique project at Drake Circus – not only is it great to be supporting local artists but it’s also brilliant to be making one-of-a-kind artworks accessible to our visitors too.”

Down Stage Write, which supports local writers, has assisted with the selection of playwrights and the open call.

“This is such an exciting way to get the work of local writers out to people and we’re thrilled to have our writers contributing exclusive one page plays,” said Joint Artistic Director of Down Stage Write Jon Nash.

“We’ve delivered plays on stage, on the radio, on film and even on Whatsapp but never from a vending machine! Our writers have come up with some fantastic, funny and unique mini scripts that you’ll want to get your hands on and perform with your friends.”

Plymouth Young City Laureate Mimi Jones, commissioned through the creative writing charity Literature Works, has written a poem to introduce the vending machine to the public and has also assisted with the selection of the poets.


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