The one who cuts, cuts, cuts

I was asked by Kone Foundation to evaluate theatre grant applications this year. Let me share my guidelines first.

“Dear Evaluator,

Theatre, and theatre as an additional field / Number of applications: 423. Total amount of funding requested: EUR 6,090,770.

We ask you to suggest new grant recipients as follows: EUR 300,000.

This is the framework: Finnish works of performing arts worth more than EUR 6 million. There is no doubt that most of the projects are significant, relevant, fascinating and magnificent. Projects that should definitely see the light of day. I wish the figures were the other way round!

While browsing the applications, I realise that a renaissance is taking place in Finland.

This is the positive aspect.

The negative aspect is that competition is tough.

But what is my role in all of this? It is bittersweet to read about all of these wonderful projects and then be the one who has to cut, cut, cut.

It is my task – my noble challenge – to read each application as if it is the first one that I have read.

I must create an assessment method that enables me to look out for excellent work, project or idea, even though the number of applications is large. I have to be as sincere as the applicants were when they wrote their applications. What is that method?

Well chance and playfulness, of course. I have to turn the assessment into an artistic process.

I take out a children’s alphabet game. I set a timer to remind me to take a break in an hour.

I throw the die.

First letter: K.

So let’s start with that.