Artist Community, London Creative Development.

The current framework in which London theatre is produced is strangling the art form from developing. When 'developing creatives' produce pieces of new work they are regularly confronted with brick walls preventing them from showing the work unless they tick several 'sales' or 'funding' criteria. Venues are less likely to support new work from new artists because of the venues need to generate their revenues. Unfortunately, the current 'make money' ideology is strangling any real creative development as only the types of shows or performers that have a track record of ticket sales, or are rich enough to buy space from prime venues, are regularly programmed.

We will do our best to kick start an artistic community and provide a space for that community to blossom. Visual artists, performance artists, musicians, dancers, and everyone creative will have a space to relax, mingle, collaborate and perform/show work.

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When the Rag Factory was first set up in February 2006, the objective was fairly simple: to provide affordable rehearsal space for people to use, because experience of working with actors had shown that many projects fell at the first hurdle for want of an affordable space in which to rehearse, let alone perform.

A lovely building that had previously been in use as artists' studios by two prominent Turner prize nominees was found, the doors were opened... and - hugely encouragingly! - people entered and started adopting the space for their own purposes.

'Supporting the creative fabric of London' - this was the strapline from the day the Rag Factory opened, and we're proud to say it applies as much today as it did then. The Rag Factory is not run to make a profit, it's run in such a way that it covers its costs and can be self-sustaining. This means we have to charge something, but it's not as much as many commercial operations might be charging.

How we support the people who come here depends on the individual or group concerned. For some, it's sufficient that we exist and provide affordable rehearsal space in a central location. For others, it's been about getting advice or having a sounding board, or even using the various props and furniture we have on site to create film and theatre sets, on-site or off. The important thing, as far as we're concerned, is that even people starting out in the different industries know that we won't think they're daft for asking a question. If we can help, we will, and have done ever since we started up. The difference, these days, is that we've also learnt a great deal from the process, and can share that increased knowledge with people if they wish.

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