European Success Story: Smashing Times

Posted on 22 Nov 2018 Last updated on 18 Dec 2018
Smashing Times

Above: interviewees in the Women in an Equal Europe Documentary

This European Success Story was kindly provided by Mary Moynihan, Artistic Director, Smashing Times Theatre and Film Company.

About Smashing Times

Smashing Times was established in 1991 as a professional theatre company producing plays and outreach programmes in Ireland and Northern Ireland and later, across Europe. In 2015, the company expanded to incorporate professional film practice and new digital technologies and in 2018, we set up the Smashing Times International Centre for the Arts and Human Rights. The centre is dedicated to the promotion, protection, study and practice of the arts, human rights and gender equality.

How did Smashing Times start their European journey?

Smashing Times first engaged with European funding in 2007, when the Company Manager attended a meeting in Tallin, Estonia. We were advised to be a partner before leading a project, however, we actually led our first small partnership, which was very successful and resulted in an opportunity to present it in Brussels as a success story from Ireland. Through this project, we were invited to be lead another project, which expanded our European network even further.

The Company Manager was also successfully in applying for a Léargas training grant to attend a week long training programme in Italy on EU application development, management and reporting.

Over the years, the Company has been successful in both Erasmus+ and the Europe for Citizens funding programmes and have worked with partners from several EU countries.

What European projects does Smashing Times currently have?

Smashing Times are currently engaged in a number of European projects both as a lead partner and as an associate partner. These projects are centred on using creative methods to explore and promote key human rights issues, including gender equality, positive mental health and well-being, and social inclusion.

Recent projects include ‘Comet Lines - The Freedom Trails of Europe’. This yearlong, transnational project with four European partners uses creative processes of theatre workshops, performances, film and new digital technologies to promote a remembrance of European history, and specifically the secret networks set up to assist Allied soldiers and citizens to leave Nazi occupied territory during WWII, known today as 'Freedom Trails'.

Smashing Times Theatre and Film Company are delighted to be one of six partners involved in a new European cooperation project The Legend of the Great Birth funded by Creative Europe. Focusing on and inspired by the myth of creation or the myth of the great birth, which is present in all mythologies, the project will produce original theatre performances and a range of creative activities and online digital resources, all inspired by creation myths from across Europe.

For information on our past or current project, visit the Smashing Times website.

What Smashing Times project would you like to spotlight in this European Success Story?

‘Women in an Equal Europe’ is a European art-based project using creative processes of theatre and film and online digital resources to promote a greater understanding of women’s rights and the positive changes that have come about in relation to gender equality as a result of belonging to the European Union. We implemented the project with partners from Spain, Croatia, and Serbia with funding from the Europe for Citizens programme, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Reconciliation Fund, and the Arts Council Young Ensembles Scheme.

As part of this project, a series of cultural events and performances were held by the four partner organisations across Europe bringing citizens, artists and activists together to explore gender equality, human rights, the role of the EU and the kind of Europe we want for the future. The project resulted in the creation of a ‘Women in an Equal Europe’ book and documentary. To read our book or find out more about our project, visit our website.

What are Smashing Times’ plans for European funding going forward?

A key aim of the company is to continue our work at a European level linking the arts to civil society, active citizenship, and human rights with a focus on key areas including gender equality, peace building, social inclusion, diversity and positive mental health and well-being. EU funding has proven extremely worthwhile for Smashing Times in terms of assisting the company to build its expertise and to implement core strategic objectives as well as enabling us to develop and implement large-scale projects at a European level. The company now has an extensive network of contacts across Europe and the resulting experience and sharing of knowledge and expertise has proven highly invaluable, both for the company and for the personal professional development of staff.

Given our well-established track record, we will continue to apply for EU projects that promote the mission of the organisation. Funding will also be used for the continued development of our International Centre for the Arts and Human Rights, an arts space, resource service, networking agency, and digital hub that uses the arts, research, and new digital technologies to promote the arts, human rights and gender equality for all. 

What would you tell people thinking of pursuing EU funding?

In terms of preparation, we recommend partnering on a project before leading one and to spend time getting to know potential partner organisations and building key relationships. Be clear on partner negotiations and arrangements, be rooted in your own codes and practices, and be confident in the abilities and skills you bring to the project, while at the same time encouraging a collaborative, flexible way of working. Collaboration is key.

Also ensure that at least one company member is highly knowledgeable in the reporting requirements and in managing budgets and financial reports. As a company, we are indebted to the European Institutions for their support of our work to date and would certainly be of the view that is a very worthwhile endeavour. We believe that now, more than ever, there is a need to promote collaboration at a European level that focuses on key issues of equality, active citizenship, peace building and human rights for all.