We love Volunteers! So many of the hosts who bring our shows to their communities are Volunteers. In honour of Volunteers Week we chatted to Liz Sampson from East Malling to find out more about her volunteer role.
What venue do you look after and where is it?
An annual free family event – Picnic in the Park East Malling (this year July 18th, all being well!)
Have you programmed shows from the Indoors, Outdoors, or INN CROWD menus?
We have scheduled a show from the Outdoors Menu. We have done this for a number of years with great success.
What kind of shows work best for your community? Theatre? Circus? Folk music?…
We love the wacky, interactive small outdoor acts that Applause can always provide us with. Our event is a family music event with lots of stalls and activities for children – so these theatre acts complement it.
All about you
Tell us a bit about you! What is your background?
I am a long term resident of East Malling, having brought my children up in the village. My background has mainly been in the public sector and I have always been very active in my local community – helping with Toddler Group when my children were young, a school governor for decades and a local Borough and Parish Councillor. I now Chair the East Malling Community Centre – which is a charity based in the most deprived ward in the Borough – where we run activities and services for local residents – during the pandemic we have delivered nearly 4000 food parcels – we run a Community Café, Community Cinema and much more besides. The Picnic in the Park originated in 2012 to commemorate the Jubilee and has run every year since (not last obviously). It is the main event in the village social calendar and brings together the whole community.
Why do you think the arts are so important in your community?
Ours is a very mixed community with a very thriving group of singers who produce several high-quality classical concerts each year. However, for many people there are no regular opportunities to access the “arts” and many would shy away from any formal involvement through lack of confidence and understanding. Access to theatres, galleries and museums is restricted for many through lack of funds.
What are you most looking forward to about live arts returning?
Live performances are always so uplifting – on whatever scale. Whether it is a street performer, busker, bands in the local pub or right up to the Proms. It takes you away from the humdrum and even more needed after the stresses and anxieties of the last 15 months.
How has Applause helped you to put on a show?
For a number of years Applause have provided us with a choice of funny, interesting and engaging performers for our Picnic in the Park. The team are always extremely helpful and obviously enjoy what they are doing. The performances have always been delightful and I really would not know where to find this sort of thing if it were not for Applause.
Why should someone put on a show with Applause?
There is a wide choice of different performers to choose from to match with your activity. They make all of the arrangements for you and it is all very straightforward. But on top of that you can choose something a bit off the wall and original.
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