Statement on the closure of Terra Incognita, from Artistic Director Victoria Beesley.

Today I’m announcing that Terra Incognita is closing as an organisation.

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Firstly, I’d like to say this has nothing to do with the coronavirus. I made the decision to close Terra Incognita last year and we have been gradually bringing our activities to an end.

The decision wasn’t an easy one. Setting up and running Terra Incognita for the past seven years has been brilliant. We’ve worked with some amazing people and I really didn’t want to let any of those people down; we’ve created projects and work that I’m really proud of; and I’ve learnt a lot about participatory art, theatre, myself, management, communication and (somewhat reluctantly) Microsoft Excel.

Terra Incognita has been a vehicle for my creative work since 2012, but there were a couple of factors that played into my decision to close the company:

  1. I’m really tired. It’s hard work running an organisation. Your head has to be in a lot of different places at the same time and, when you’re a small organisation like ours, you’re constantly fighting for survival. It doesn’t feel like there’s a clear journey to growing and gaining security for the organisation – theatre companies that are 10 (or even 20!) years older than Terra Incognita seem to still have to fight for survival and I just don’t feel up for that anymore!
  2. I want to step back and re-evaluate what I want to be doing in my job. How can I work more sustainably? How can I get a better balance between work and family life? How can I do less work for free? How can I spend less time completing funding applications? (Although I accept the last one may be a pipe dream.) Terra Incognita no longer felt like the best way to achieve these things.

Who knows what the theatre landscape will look like once the coronavirus pandemic is over. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next (please employ me) and to taking advantage of new opportunities that lay ahead. I’m planning on keeping doing what I’m doing for other organisations rather than my own… but the future looks a little uncertain for all of us now.

Image from iOS-3-2I’ll let my final Terra Incongita words be multiple massive thank yous…

Thank you to everyone who has participated in one of our projects. It has truly been such a pleasure working with you. An especially big thank you to our regular groups, Glasgow As I See It and young carers – I feel so lucky to have met and worked with you. You’re all brilliant.

Thank you to audiences who’ve come to see our work. I’ve loved seeing you chat and laugh and gasp.

Thank you to the artists, producers, administrators, technicians, designers, facilitators, press and marketing officers, film-makers, photographers, web designers, musicians, composers, writers, performers etc. who’ve worked for us. You’re a talented bunch and I appreciate the care, detail and fun you put into our work. Special thanks to Belinda McElhinney and Lisa Sangster who have been relentless in their support, encouragement, and answering many annoying questions.

Thanks to all the organisations who’ve partnered on projects with us, making our projects all the better.

Thanks to the funders.

Thank you to the Terra Incognita board past and present. Your support has been priceless.

And thanks to my family and friends for being tip top. A special shout out to Olly Emanuel who has been there for all the successes and challenges of the company and whose don’t worries, well dones and have you thought abouts have been priceless.

Stay safe everyone.