Welcome to PANDA - the performing arts network


At our Board meeting of 25th June 2018, a resolution was passed to dissolve the organisation.

This decision was not taken lightly – we spent many months researching different models and scenarios in order to find a sustainable way forward. As a small northern support network, our sources of finance have been steadily declining for many years now – just as it has for those we seek to assist. Although Arts Council remain supportive, they do not consider our work of enough strategic importance to include within their National Portfolio. Meanwhile, many others are now seeking to offer professional development opportunities and are better resourced to do so. Raising enough income from subscriptions is unrealistic without compromising our key value of financial inclusivity. The current challenging climate means we are overwhelmed by demand whilst our capacity has diminished to the point whereby the Board consider PANDA can no longer effectively fulfil its mission and remain viable. The dictionary definition of support is ‘bear all or part of the weight of; hold up’. We cannot do this without firm footing ourselves.

A tiny organisation, PANDA has managed for many years to punch above it’s weight, working strategically and creatively to provide support to many individuals. The Board and staff are proud of our many achievements:

Creating and supporting 100 new jobs within the arts sector through Future Jobs Fund; assisting 70 artists and companies to employ someone for the first time; Providing affordable training for 12 creative independents to qualify as coaches, 12 as Critical Response Process Facilitators and a further 20 in Advanced Communication skills; Providing underlying support for 12 NW Decibel artists, 17 MIF Jerwood Fellows, 8 Wigan Imago artists, 8 British Council Artist Development Artists, 20 Curious Minds Young Associates, Intern and Apprentices, 8 BGAF participants, over 50 Rural Touring Mentoring Scheme Beneficiaries, 70 self-employed individuals through the ERDF Business Support Scheme, over 100 Manchester/Greater Manchester participants Local Authority Young Media Consultants/Creative Breaks training schemes; brokering work experience opportunities for 7 young people with disabilities; delivering over 2800 coaching sessions and helping establish more than 25 peer networks/action learning sets. We have over 1,400 individuals on our network who have at one time or another been PANDA members and benefitted from our activities and we’ve compiled and sent over 600 e-listings/newsletters informing of jobs, opportunities, events and industry news. However, these are just numbers. We are most proud and grateful for the stuff that’s invaluable yet unmeasurable: the trust you, our members and partners, have shown in us; the pathways, opportunities and programmes we have built together with integrity, fairness and equality and a  unfaltering commitment to supporting those ‘in the shadows’ of ‘mainstream’.

PANDA has a lengthy track record of pulling financial rabbits out of hats, thriving despite high levels of uncertainty and risk and generally bootstrapping it’s way through adversity. We care very much about the Performing Arts Sector and those we exist to support. However, survival in this way is costly in terms of time and energy and is not sustainable in today’s climate.

The PANDA Board take their duty of care seriously – in terms of the organisation, it’s members and those who work for it. They feel that without any prospects of core/long term funding in place, PANDA cannot fulfil it’s sector support mission and becomes unviable financially. It is important to have made this decision at this time, to enable PANDA to close in a carefully managed and well governed manner.

We wish to extend our thanks to those who have persevered alongside us throughout recent months of revision and review. We have been closed to new members since December 2017 and all subscriptions are now expired. This website will remain as a static online resource and we will distribute our remaining funds as small professional development grants.

All of us at PANDA have been honoured to have played our part within the sector and wish you all the very best for your future journeys. We hope you will continue to contribute to and benefit from the networks, professional development and peer solidarity that can only be achieved through courage, creativity and above all, collaboration.

Best wishes,