StartEast supported members who most strongly demonstrated how attending a specific Festival or Trade Fair would unlock business development opportunities by offering access to new networks, opportunities to secure new contracts, generate growth and build resilience.

Laboratory Media Education

Paul Weston & Will Wilson

Music TechFest in Stockholm, Sweden

September 7, 2018

As a result of attending the festival, LME has joined new support networks, attracted the interest of a major international technology developer, gained new knowledge, skills and technology that they will use in their work in the region, started exploring bringing new projects to the eastern region and new opportunities to showcase their work outside of the region, developed their profile both nationally and internationally, and started many conversations with other attendees to explore common ground. https://www.devonhealthandwellbeing.org.uk/buy-cialis-tadalafil-online-uk/. As both business partners were both able to attend the event, it gave them the opportunity to discuss and formulate new ideas stimulated by the festival.

See more about Music TechFest in Stockholm, Sweden here.

Chalk Circle Theatre Company Ltd

Adina Levay

IETM in Munich, Germany

November 1, 2018

The plenary meeting offered Adina an opportunity to meet like-minded people who share the same artistic vision and are interested in international collaborations. Specifically she built relationships with an Arts Manager and Cultural Policy Maker from Romania and the Director of a Theatre Company from Lithuania, with whom she has been invited to visit and collaborate. Describing her conversations she said “we discussed the dynamics of festivals where hundreds of people participate, the best possible way of interacting, the importance of having a clear idea on what to achieve as well as having appropriate marketing material.”

See more information about IETM Munich Plenary Meeting 2018 here.

The Suffolk Short Film Festival CIC

Rachel Aldridge & Claire Whittenbury

Aesthetica Film Festival in York, England

November 8, 2018

Rachel and Claire gained a greater understanding of the day to day running of a festival and the importance of having informed staff. http://www.thelaneshealthandbeauty.com/buy-valium-uk/. They identified the festival as an example of rapid growth and successful development. Attending the festival exceeded their expectations, specifically in how their business proposal was received by other festivals and filmmakers who were positive and gave offers of their time and skills in support. They received offers of help from programmers of other festivals in the development of their own. Keeping a detailed journey of the festival on their Instagram enabled further engagement with filmmakers who were not in attendance.


More information about Aesthetica here.

Ensemble Dance Co

Hayley Matthews

CINARS Biennale in Montreal, Canada

November 11, 2018

Hayley made new connections with international dance artists and venue programmers and now feels part of a global community of creatives. She has started planning for a collaborative project between the UK and Canada. Being reflected back by so many international creatives made her hone how she articulates and packages what she does. She valued the chance to be seen and heard and to participate at this level, raising the profile of her and her business. She described attending the festival as a pivotal moment in her business and career. She made strong connections with Dance4 (Nottingham) and has been invited to future events they are hosting in the UK.


More about CINARS here

CULTure Babylon

Chris Lewis

Abertoir: International Horror Festival of Wales

November 13, 2018

Chris found it a useful and worthwhile experience which provided opportunities for networking with organisers and speakers and some good leads to follow up. “Being able to experience these things directly and see what works and what doesn’t have been extremely helpful and will help me develop my own event in the future (Fear in the Fens Festival), and more importantly will help me avoid some potentially costly and time-consuming errors. It’s given me a lot of insight into an established festival that I would not have been able to gain from a ‘desktop’ exercise. Being self-employed makes taking time out to attend events such as this doubly expensive as on top of the actual costs, there are loss of earnings.”


More about Abertoir – The International Horror Festival of Wales here.

Out Loud Music

Joe Bailey & Marcus Neal

Eurosonic Noorderslag, Groningen, The Netherlands

January 16, 2019

Attending Europe’s biggest music industry showcase enabled Joe and Marcus to see a host of live bands, artists and venues. They met many new contacts including emerging artists, booking agents, reps from record labels, journalists and other industry figures, providing opportunities and a catalyst for new projects to expand the Smokehouse. As a result of various face to face meetings at the festival they’ve been able to bring new high quality artists to perform in Ipswich, secured the rights to film a recording session, planned a showcase with a record company, and submitted a PRS application for putting on gigs with established artists supported by local emerging acts.


More about ESNS here

Lennie Beare

Most Curious Wedding Fair, London, England

March 1, 2019

By attending Most Curious Wedding Fair Lennie was able to meet hundreds of potential new customers, clients and stockists, helping her to grow her business and develop beyond the current Norwich client base. Along with having a stand at the fair her jewellery was also used to style the models on the catwalk and the catwalk show was covered by multiple blogs, well known in the wedding industry, that then went on to feature her jewellery on their websites. Through meeting other creatives at the show Lennie has organised a photoshoot and is in talks with a bridal wear designer about collaborating for her next catalogue. She also received lots of interest from visitors about making their wedding rings.

More about the Most Curious Wedding Fairy here.

Matt Linley

IETM Plenary Meeting, Hull, England

March 28, 2019

Matt told us ‘The symposium was fantastic for catching up with some old colleagues and developing new connections, particularly in this case with some new colleagues from Sweden. The plenary sessions were helpful and informative and the networking was exciting and really useful for my projects.’  Attending the symposium enabled Matt to have face to face meetings with, among others, Opera North, Oxford Playhouse, Hull Truck Theatre Ltd, Arts Council England Head of Music and fellow Producers. You can read his blog about the experience.


More information about IETM Plenary Meeting, Hull here.

Sandy Horsley

Bologna Children’s Book Fair, Italy

April 1, 2019

Sandy’s work was represented on the Cambridge School of Art stand where she received a lot of great feedback from publishers and agents, and requests for her portfolio, and generated many new direct contacts in order to arrange meetings and secure contracts. She was overwhelmed by the level of interest from ‘big name’ publishers in seeing her work including Bloomsbury, Pavilion, Penguin Random House (both UK and US branches), Thames and Hudson, Faber, Harper Collins, Capstone and Simon and Schuster, and an increased level of interest from international publishers, including Capstone (US), Schwartz and Wade (part of Random House) (US), Page Street Publishing (US), Sourcebooks (US), Gecko Press (NZ), Beijing Tech and Edu(China) and Mizrahi Publishing (Israel).


More about Bologna Children’s Book Fair here

Hey There Stickers!

Vicky Brett

Baby and Toddler show at Sandown Park in Surrey, England

April 11, 2019

Vicky attended the event at Sandown Park in Surrey to launch her unique Sticker designs and ‘Make Your Own Sticker Machine Packs’. As a result she has been offered opportunities to attend other exhibitions, to work in collaboration with other businesses and an opportunity to work with a blogger.


More about the Baby & Toddler Show here


The Puppet Tree

Karen Crane

Newcastle Puppet Festival, England

April 11, 2019

This biennial performance and training event, produced by Moving Parts Arts Ltd, featuring puppet artists and enthusiasts from around the world, provided Karen with the opportunity to experience aspects of puppetry she had not previously seen before and to plan how to expand her own puppet business. She returned with new ideas, new contacts and the feeling that she has been able to step a little further into her chosen field.

Su Squire

SICK! Festival, Manchester

April 25, 2019

SICK! https://www.devonhealthandwellbeing.org.uk/buy-ativan-lorazepam-online-uk/. Festival places art at the heart of positive health and health at the heart of outstanding art. At this symposium Sue found inspiration in the work that other artists are creating on the subject of Death and Dying. She picked up some useful tips and felt a renewed sense of conviction in the development of her own practice and collaborative work. Subsequent audience feedback from a preview performance confirmed her new approach is effective and has resulted in some promising opportunities for future partnerships.

Out Loud Music

Liverpool Sound City, England

May 3, 2019

Marcus explained how important it was to Out Loud Music to visit this festival.

‘This visit was essential in seeing first hand how Sound City Festival is organised. We had meetings with the CEO of the Festival and representatives from Arts Council England to discuss how Sound City Ipswich will work.  We saw and made connections with bands and artists who could potentially play in Ipswich, and met with agents will be able to help us book these artists.’

Tracy Satchwill

Museums & Heritage Show, Olympia, London, England

May 15, 2019

Tracy met and networked with key personnel from the museum and heritage sector and showcased her services and products. She introduced her work to the international market by meeting personnel from the Department of International Trade. http://www.thelaneshealthandbeauty.com/tramadol-uk/. She received advice from other exhibitors about after trade show strategies, attending other events and collating information at the show. At the show she secured 13 leads per day (against a target of 10). “This has been a very valuable experience enabling me to reach a wider market on a national level and explore international opportunities… it has enabled me to develop new relationships for future projects and hopefully have a big impact on the sustainability and growth of my business.”

SubMotion Productions Ltd

Rachel & Richard Prendergast

Cannes Film Festival, France

May 18, 2019

SubMotion attended Cannes Film Festival where their latest film project was being screened and they won Best Short film, which created an immediate buzz for the business online and new work enquiries. At the festival they met a huge number of influential and potential new business contacts and forged some great new relationships. “Without the support of StartEast we would not have been able to attend the Cannes Film Festival and this has been one of the most important networking events we could have ever wished to attend. The fact that we won in our competition and were able to physically be there to collect the award and have photos taken is great PR for the business and also a priceless experience and education for Richard and I as we now move forward into the next film project.”

Zannie Fraser

Imaginate International Children’s Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland

May 30, 2019

Zannie saw a mix of shows from the Netherlands, Australia, Denmark, UK and France which she wouldn’t have been able to seen anywhere else in the UK and has inspired her to think about making different kinds of shows.  She spoke with a lot of artists and found the exchange of ideas on working practices and sharing opinions very validating. She also met with producers and programmers which was useful.  She attended some interesting talks by companies who had made work in the festival, learned about an international exchange programme and an extensive research programme in the USA into the benefits of theatre for children which will provide useful evidence for future funding bids.

Zannie said ‘I am now more aware of development opportunities and processes involved in putting on such productions. This was a fantastic opportunity and has really helped me to focus my mind on the kind of work I want to make. I feel more informed about the processes and companies involved in making children’s theatre. And I met other artists and organisers of other festivals which has been very inspiring.’

Caz Slota

Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Scotland

May 31, 2019

Caz made some good new contacts and was able to meet up with several producers and theatre companies who she had an existing relationship with, to speak to them about her new freelance business. http://www.thelaneshealthandbeauty.com/klonopin-online-uk/. She had several expressions of interest and was also invited to see a show by a new contact which is touring the UK next year and was interested in her services. “All the practical aspects of my trip were excellently taken care of by StartEast, meaning I could concentrate on meetings and the shows … a fantastic opportunity to expand and promote my business”.

Pip Norton

Sheffield Doc Fest, England

June 6, 2019

Pip told us ‘The festival was brilliant timing as there were two films that I had mixed showing there and I was able to reference them when meeting people. The Director when doing Q and A’s at the end of each film, mentioned me, further raising my profile amongst the attending film-makers.’

Pip met representatives from two post houses who have projects coming up which may be offer potential new contracts.

She attended training sessions on funding and commissioning, pitching, VR and podcasting and meet the makers which were informative, have increased her skills and knowledge and enabled her to be able to apply for more work opportunities.

She told us ‘I am very grateful for the financial and friendly help given. I used the advice given at a StartEast session on social media, to use Instagram for the first time and had a good response from people I was not previously connected with. I feel ready to start my own project, based here in Norfolk, and feel confident that many more opportunities will come from this festival.’

Nathaniel Peterkin

By Design conference, Bratislava, Slovakia

June 7, 2019

Nathaniel described his experience of attending By Design Conference ‘It was an inspiring research and development trip where I got to learn more about the field from successful innovators. It has broadened my understanding of and reflection on my own professional practice. I am very grateful for the opportunity the scheme created for me, as I would not be able to afford a trip like this otherwise. I wish it could continue running!’

Matt Linley

UK Theatre Touring Symposium, London, England

June 17, 2019

Matt found the opportunities to make and build new connections the most useful part of attending the symposium. As a direct result of meetings there he has had shows that he is producing booked and is having ongoing conversations with theatre venues about potential bookings.

Alexander Whitley Dance Company

Festival Montpellier Danse, France

June 21, 2019

Attending the festival gave the company the opportunity to meet the Artistic Director of MA Scène National Pays de Montbéliard, one of the French national theatres. During an extensive conversation he offered ideas for positioning Alexander’s work within the European network, provided contact details for 10 key people within the industry and suggested strategies for gaining access to French commissioning funds and choreographic residency opportunities which have the potential to lead to tour dates. With his help, they gained access to a promoters’ networking event where he introduced them to French and German programmers allowing the opportunity to talk about Alexander’s work.  The festival opportunity also prompted the company to further develop and refine promotional materials and update their website – these improved assets will benefit the company beyond the festival-related activity.

They said ‘the primary advantage of attending Festival Montpellier Danse was that it was focused entirely on contemporary dance and not all the performing arts. Once we had entrée into the presenters’ networking event, it was intimate enough to have relaxed and lengthy conversations. There weren’t many artists there ‘selling’ their work, so we weren’t in competition for promoters’ attention. The opportunity to network within the international marketplace is invaluable particularly in light of impending ‘Brexit’. No amount of emailing and web content will ever replace face to face meetings where ideas can be shared more freely, and personal relationships can develop at a deeper level’.

Stuff of Dreams

Karen Goddard

National Rural Touring Forum, Bangor, Wales

July 2, 2019

Attending the conference offered opportunities to meet and talk to key representatives from NTRF, rural touring schemes from across the country, arts organisations, and Arts Council England which helped to cement the name of the company in the minds of potential partners and investors and raise consciousness of the brand.

The conference exceeded expectations as due to the relatively low number of attendees, the large number of high-profile delegates, and the well-planned opportunities for networking, it was easy to strike-up conversations, contribute to discussions, and make people aware of the work of Stuff of Dreams.

Karen said ‘Stuff of Dreams are a small company with limited resources and capacity. Without the advice, guidance and financial support from StartEast it would have been impossible to send a member of staff to this conference, which is such a key networking and best practice sharing event on the rural arts touring calendar.’

Julia Webb

Ledbury Poetry Festival, England

July 5, 2019

As a result of attending the Ledbury Poetry Festival and meeting face to face with two colleagues – Jane from Nine Arches Press and Jacqueline Saphra – Julia is now planning a poetry show called Muses and Furies with three female poets. She has also been offered a contract for her third book.

In terms of networking Julia was introduced to one of the directors of the Festival and allowed access to the performers’ Green Room where she met several of the European poets who were performing.

Julia said ‘Making contacts often bears fruit in the future. This was a great opportunity for me as I could not have afforded to go this festival without the funding. I was introduced to several poets and was able to see the types of events they programme and the venues available which will help me in the future if I apply to perform at the festival.’

Printer Johnson

Vicki Johnson

Home & Gift Fair in Harrogate, England

July 14, 2019

Vicki describes how she used attending the Festival to launch her wholesale services. ‘This was a huge opportunity for me and linked with the grant funding received from StartEast earlier in the year for the marketing materials needed to launch at the event. I gained new stockists from orders taken at the event and distributed my catalogue to many more interested retailers. I have had further orders since the event and I am following up the contacts made which I am confident will result in more orders again. I met representatives from paper manufactures for possible sponsorship arrangements, members of greeting card association and learnt about membership schemes and discounts and the event organisers with details of further events. I also got to know other wholesalers in the same industry who have given me a huge amount of information. I have learnt a lot about who my retail customers are, what they are interested in and why. I have also gained an insight into where my brand sits. I am now preparing to book further trade events based on this information and am advertising for an assistant to help with this new aspect of my business.  Without the scheme (combined with the grant funding) I could not have launched my services at a trade fair for a long time, if ever. It allowed me to make a larger personal investment in the stock required for wholesaling and to test the market to see if trade fairs were a viable investment for the future. The outcome was very positive, the scheme has already had a huge impact on the development and direction of my business. I really hope something like this is available again for others in a similar position as myself, I can see how valuable these opportunities for small businesses.’

LJ Hope Productions

Lucy Farrant

Blue Dot Festival, Cheshire, England

July 19, 2019

Mark Finbow

Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Scotland

August 2, 2019

Attending the festival allowed Mark to see some of the highest quality work being produced, as well as some of the most challenging and inspiring shows on offer. This provided him not only with, a bar and an idea of the different markets at the Fringe, but also he found the perfect venue for his show in 2020.

Whilst in Edinburgh Mark was able to organise a career surgery to discuss his Fringe show for next year and other future shows. This has had a great effect on his organisation and producing knowledge, particularly ensuring he has the capacity to allow time to network when he has his own show in the festival.

Mark said ‘What a brilliant opportunity. Without the grant I wouldn’t have been able to see the highest quality shows, which inevitably cost more money. Certainly I wouldn’t have been able to see the variety of shows that I viewed, in the variety of venues. It was incredibly valuable.’

Briony Bax

Edinburgh International Book Festival, Scotland

August 11, 2019

Being at the Festival enabled Briony to have several good conversations with important people in the poetry and book business including Carol Ann Duffy and David Harsent.

Her presence at the Festival enabled her to secure and host a successful event at Golden Hare Books as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Bookfair with a reading of four very diverse award-winning poets – André Naffis-Sahley, Romalyn Ante, Declan Ryan, Niall Campbell.

Briony said ‘It gave me a focus to network as much as possible and attend every opportunity offered. Without this support I wouldn’t have been able to attend the Book Fair.’

Gillian Dean

Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Scotland

August 19, 2019

Gillian says that ‘The advice from Start East was useful both for the upcoming festival and for future development. The practical recommendations on how best to navigate the festival and make the best use of time were very helpful. The advice I received regarding funding approaches for taking a show to the fringe as well as the advice regarding what size and style of show are best to take to the Fringe was also really helpful.’

She added that ‘Attending the Festival has really invigorated my practice and inspired me to  be more ambitious in my vision thaan previously. I also feel that my ambitions now are more realistic and achievable having experienced such a wide range of examples of other people’s work.’

Lost in Translation Circus

Letni Letna, Prague

August 27, 2019

Massimilano of Lost in Translation Circus found that the Letni Letna festival was inspiring. He said that he saw one of the best circus shows he has seen in a long time, and it really helped his creative energy.

Adding that “We also made potential touring contacts and the festival are interested in having our tent there next year, which is really great as its a completely new market for us.”

Glass House Dance

FiraTarrega, Spain

September 4, 2019

It was an fantastic opportunity to visit a large European festival with support and funding. Had we not had the financial support we would never have attended as this is not something the company can afford to do at present. It has given us a much clearer idea of the European festival scene and would really inform any decision to present work outside the UK.

We were able to chat with other programmers and producers to have informal conversations about our work and discuss future opportunities. We were also able to contextualise our work within the European market to see if it is something we would like to pursue. It helped us to see which of our shows might be suitable for European touring and we were able to see other artists presenting work to learn more about our own process to making work for outdoor settings.