The curtain is coming down on an illustrious role our ambassador for the arts has played.
Great South Creative Arts manager Ange Newell is moving away from a role that had small beginnings 20 years ago.
Ange Newell says after 20 years it’s time to look for a change and new challenges.
Ms Newell said the arts are definitely in much better shape and grown tremendously than when she started.
She said “back then it was largely productions of material that came from overseas that would come through.”
Ms Newell says “we now have many more Kiwi stories and a much more authentic Kiwi voice in our arts world.”
She also says “funding support has also improved which has helped greatly to support the arts.”
Ange Newell added that “it’s essential that we must have paid roles to keep the arts flourishing.”
She says the recent Covid-19 outbreak will force the arts and events community to have a serious look at how all events are staged in the future and events may have to be delivered in a very different way .
Ange Newell says “some events may not be viable due to social distancing protocols.”
She adds that “going forward people are going to be very choosey on how they spend their money.”
Ms Newell says funding is also going to be a big challenge in the future.
She says the ILT of which she is a board member and is a substantial community funder has basically lost 8 weeks or a 6th of the year in income due to the lockdown.
Ms Newell says the pandemic may also affect the volunteers who are largely from the senior sector and are integral with arts events. She says “some are a bit reluctant to come out of their bubbles to go out and be in large groups now.”
And she says “what if there is another outbreak?”
The long time creative director says she was only a couple of days from delivering the copy for this years Festival of The Arts to the printer when the lock down began.
Looking ahead Ange Newell won’t have much down time as she will continue to serve on the board of the ILT and is still a trustee of the Shakespeare In The Park Charitable Trust.
Ms Newell will also return to the classroom to do some relief teaching.
She says as the arts are her passion she’ll continue to be involved in theatrical productions on and off the stage.
Meanwhile Great South GM for Tourism and Events Bobbi Brown said Ms Newell’s resignation signalled the end of a wonderful era for the organisation and Southland’s creative sector.
“Ange’s significant contribution and overwhelming enthusiasm for the arts has resulted in extensive benefits for the region and all of us personally who have had the honour of working alongside her,”
During her time in the role, Ms Newell had initiated, managed and developed numerous projects for the arts and cultural sector, including workshops, conferences, outdoor events, clocking up experience with 11 Southland Arts Festivals, 15 ILT Kidzone Festivals and 20 Shakespeare in the Park productions.
Mrs Brown said that Ms Newell’s commitment to these events, along with her strong advocacy of the sector and had been highly valued at both local and national level.