2015: A Year In Review


2015 was a game-changing year for Plymouth’s cultural scene.

We’ve taken a look back over some of 2015’s big stories.



The app for discovering Plymouth’s cultural scene, Artory was launched on January 30th 2015. Artory allows you to search cultural events and listings in the city. You can review performances and earn ArtMiles to redeem on special offers (such as discounted tickets and free drinks) in Plymouth’s arts venues. Artory has gained international interest from cities such as New York and Christchurch, which is testament to its excellent design and ease of use.

From our point of view, the more people that use Artory, the better Plymouth’s cultural scene becomes. Organisations can use your anonymous reviews and feedback to create better shows, events and exhibitions. Not only this, but your feedback can help support funding applications, allowing arts organisations and groups to demonstrate what people really think about their events.

Artory launch, 30 January 2015

Made In Plymouth magazine

Made In Plymouth

Plymouth’s cultural magazine launched in February and after a great response, we decided to launch a website for Made In Plymouth too. Made In Plymouth is funded and run by Plymouth Culture and exists to showcase all of the creative projects, people and organisations in the city. It’s great to see so many people and organisations contacting us to share their fantastic work – our only regret is that we don’t always have space for everyone in our magazine!

We’re pleased that it has been so well supported and we’d like to give a huge thank you to all of the people and organisations who have helped us through stocking the magazine, writing articles, reviewing exhibitions or advising us on running the magazine. The magazine comes out quarterly and we deliver them to a number of arts and community venues across the city (you can find a map of them all on our website).

Beyond Face

Run by Alix Harris and Jordan Allen, Beyond Face is a performance company which works with black, asian and ethnic minority (BAME) young people, introducing them to theatre, dance and performance. Beyond Face was founded after Alix worked with the Real Ideas Organisation to research why Plymouth’s BAME young people were not getting involved with theatre. Alix discovered that young BAME people are often afraid of being judged by their skin colour when auditioning or performing. Beyond Face is a place where young people gain confidence by performing but also through becoming more involved in Plymouth arts sector. It’s really exciting to see Beyond Face making a huge difference in Plymouth already with workshops, performances and events happening throughout the year.

Plymouth Fringe Festival

Hosted at venues across the city such as the Barbican Theatre, Theatre Royal Plymouth and The House, the first Plymouth Fringe Festival was delivered by city theatre organisation ‘Toast’. Featuring touring shows and performances from local theatre companies, the Plymouth Fringe Festival was a hugely successful event which showcased the thriving performance scene in the city and region.

Beyond Face’s Alix Harris performing ‘Mixed Up Me’ (image credit Dom Moore)

Ocean Studios (image credit Pete Davey)

Ocean Studios

Ocean Studios opened in July, providing studio space and facilities to over 40 artists. Based in the Factory Cooperage building in the Royal William Yard, Ocean Studios has already proved itself to be a really welcome addition to Plymouth’s artistic scene. It houses the city’s first and only GIS (Government Indemnity Standard) gallery, allowing Ocean Studios to exhibit very exclusive artworks. Ocean Studios’ first exhibition displayed artworks from Turner Prize-winning artists such as Grayson Perry and Richard Deacon.

Plymouth suffers from a lack of studio space for creative practitioners. It’s wonderful to see venues such as Ocean Studios establishing themselves in the city, not only because of their great gallery and facilities, but also because they do so much good for the wider arts scene. Both Plymouth College of Art and Plymouth University fund studio spaces at Ocean Studios, allowing selected recent graduates to gain valuable arts world experience and knowledge. Ocean Studios also runs wider workshops and events to boost the professional skills of creatives, such as advice on submitting funding applications for arts projects.

Plymouth Art Weekender

Plymouth’s first Art Weekender saw over 400 artists and 86 events arts events take over the city in September, making it the UK’s largest Art Weekender festival.

The Plymouth Art Weekender drew an incredible response from the public, artists and art organisations with record attendance figures for several venues. We were blessed with fantastic, warm, sunny weather for the whole weekend, which saw great outdoors events from artists such as Serena Korda, whose weird, drumming, colourful dancers transfixed crowds when they performed on Pebblestone Beach, just next to Tinside Lido.

We were really pleased that such a huge number of people enjoyed the Plymouth Art Weekender; it was great to link up with events such as the amazing Union Street Party and Urban Picnic at the Royal William Yard, bringing different people together to enjoy an amazing weekend in the city!

The next Plymouth Art Weekender is currently being planned and, subject to a successful funding application, will be back bigger than ever this September.

Plymouth Art Weekender poster (image credit Dom Moore)

Native Makers Christmas Market at Devonport Guildhall

Native Makers

Showcasing and selling work from local creatives, Native Makers support the region’s artisan craftspeople and artists. Native Makers’ events in 2015 have been a wonderful method of supporting local and creative talent. Their Christmas Market was held at Devonport Guildhall and was simply packed with customers keen to get their hands on some hand-crafted items.

A lot of people don’t realise how hard it can be to succeed as a craftsperson or commercial artist. Although your talent may lie in creating skillfully made objects, the ability to sell, promote and showcase your work is often not taught and is a lesson learnt through trial, error and making useful connections.

Native Makers, run by local graduates Emily Dymond and Rosie Drake-Knight, is becoming an essential platform to support emerging craftspeople to make a successful living.

U.Dance 2015

Taking place in the South-West for the very first time, U.Dance 2015 showcased the best youth dance work from the UK in a city-wide festival in July.

Plymouth Dance worked in partnership with Youth Dance England to deliver this three day festival, and over 400 young dancers came to the city to participate in this massive event. It was amazing to watch Plymouth host such a significant event, and we personally enjoyed the huge public dance performance pictured here.

Dancers performing at U.Dance 2015 (image credit Dom Moore)