London Arts Discovery - Who are we?
London Arts Discovery was founded in 1981 by Richard Barran and Howard Lichterman who saw a need for a service which offered an in-depth view of the arts world in London and other European cities for American arts lovers. Working with leading not-for-profit arts organisations in the USA, we devise itineraries for their supporters which include a cross-section of performances, accommodation in the best hotels, unusual sightseeing opportunities, gourmet meals and most importantly, a series of complementary meetings with leading members of the profession - performers, directors, designers, producers, playwrights, composers, critics and commentators.
Most of our clients have made a London Arts Discovery tour part of their annual programme and some are now on their 25th or 26th annual trip with us (as are some of their participants). Previous clients include Opera America, Manhattan Theatre Club in New York, Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra, The Goodman Theatre and Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago.
London Arts Discovery tours are tailor-made for the friends, volunteers, guilds, subscribers, donors, or other supporters of the client-company. The company adds on a contribution to our price and sells the tour to its supporters. The tours therefore raise an immediate sum of money but more importantly create intangible benefits for the future - goodwill, bonding, and sometimes much larger amounts of money. Some of our most regular clients tell us that London Arts Discovery's work has helped them to raise literally millions of dollars of support.
A free place on each tour is included for a member of the company, provided that there are at least 20 paying participants and there are special discounted rates for other members of staff. This can be of enormous benefit to company-patron relationships. After each tour we get a great deal of feedback and this confirms that those who participate always feel close to 'their' company.
Because London Arts Discovery tours are devised by experts in the performing arts, they are always tailored to the specific needs of the client-company. Some want exclusive social events, splendid dining and access to what would normally be closed to them; others want plainer fare - no extras, but as much opera, music or theatre as possible.
Whatever the level of the tour, London Arts Discovery's directors and staff (all chosen for their expertise in different areas) ensure that all participants have a valuable, enjoyable, and often unforgettable experience. There is a lot of happy fraternising. If you spend a week or ten days abroad with people, cater to their wishes, open their eyes to London and other European cities and their hearts to great performances, the benefits which can accrue to the company which has made all this possible are limitless.
Phill Ward has spent two decades in management, programming and administration roles in the performing arts. Equally at home working in theatre and music, in positions for large institutions – Royal Festival Hall, Theatre Museum and at the other end of the scale, running London’s oldest pub theatre The King’s Head.
When in charge of cultural affairs for the English Speaking Union, Phill ran a programme of scholarships, international cultural seminars and fundraising events, including interviews with celebrity actors, writers, musicians and politicians.
With the Arts Council, England, as opera and music–theatre funding specialist, there was a chance to regularly assess the work of all the UK’s opera companies. Outside London, Phill worked on the bid for Liverpool’s successful European Capital of Culture 2008. As an opera critic, Phill contributes to various music publications and writes occasional travel features on festivals and cultural hotspots throughout Europe and America.