Calico is a Birmingham-based social enterprise facilitating important conversations through community engagement with the arts. Driven by the aim of elevating community voices, the work they create is always socially engaged and often blends dance, theatre and film to find new and exciting ways to bring to life the stories they uncover. This creative start-up has been set up by University of Birmingham graduates Daz Scott and Martha Harrison.
The Calico Theatre story:
We create campaigns which encompass live performances in public spaces, films, accessible workshops and online activism. We work with community groups to reclaim conversations about topics that are important to them. Our campaigns are built around community voices through surveys, focus groups and verbatim interviews. Our projects are calls to action, and aim to inform, to reframe, to validate, and to raise awareness.
In our first year as a company, we have worked with 20 arts organisations and partners, and have reached an audience of around 10,000 people in the West Midlands and beyond. We have been commissioned to create two short films and two live shows, which have been shown in various locations across the UK. Currently, we are working on a campaign to make spiking a criminal offence in the UK, and have recently released our short film Look Sharp, which was commissioned by the Birmingham Commonwealth Games Gen22 Fund.
From working at The Exchange, we are hoping to connect with more Birmingham-based companies and build relationships with local businesses. We want to gain more traditional business skills for non-arts organisations, and implement these within our business, in order to expand, to reach new audiences, build new partnerships, and create even more meaningful arts experiences. We would also like to build more partnerships with organisations outside of the arts and cultural sector, and develop Calico as a social enterprise which makes a real difference to community groups.
We would love to build partnerships with organisations who engage with our work on a socio-political level. We are always open to discussions around performance opportunities, as well as bespoke performance and/or film commissions.