Theatre is a where children play
Theatre is where adults play
Theatre holds the mirror up to nature and if we don’t examine who we are we can’t create space for new versions of ourselves, kinder versions
Theatre is gathering with strangers and sharing in the same experience with those strangers and in doing so feeling connected and not alone
Theatre is escape and if we can’t escape we can’t dream and if we can’t dream we can’t have hope and if we can’t have hope we can’t change anything
Theatre is a community of people who have time and time again supported their communities of people often well beyond their remit and funding obligations because our government has time and time again cut vital services and access provision to those who need it most
Theatre is a home (for many people, it's their only home)
Theatre is hundreds of thousands of workers many at risk of losing their job. When you think about the overlap with other creative industries, which is very common, it is possibly even more (1.9 million people work across the creative industries according to SOLT and UK Theatre)
Theatre is 70% of freelancers. A third of those have fallen through the cracks of government support.
Theatre is lighting designers and sound designers and technicians and SMs and ASMs and DSMs and costume designers and set designers, set builders, access support workers, costume makers, production managers, admin teams, janitors, sign language interpreters, educators, security staff, marketeers, producers, writers, directors, actors, box office and front of house staff… audience… the list goes on
Theatre is the industry that closed its doors WEEKS before the government dithered on whether or not it should lockdown because theatre cares about people
Theatre is a special occasion in the calendar (and this is not an argument against its vitalness)
Theatre is one of the most immediate art forms there is which means it can speak to the times we live in. It’s also one of the most ancient, which means it can connect us with our past.
Theatre is anticipation
A place to laugh
A place to cry
A place to release
A place to feel wonder and awe
It’s coming out of a West End show feeling elation and singing and dancing all the way home
It’s being moved to take to your feet in a fringe audience of 4 and whooping until you run out of breath because something inside of you has chemically changed
It’s holding that feeling with you for days, weeks, months, years afterwards
It’s acting because of that feeling
Calling that person you’ve been avoiding talking to
Tying yourself to railings
Going easier on yourself
It’s everyone gasping at the same time
It’s everyone leaning in
It’s seeing yourself and your story on stage for the very first time and feeling seen
It’s engaged school groups
It’s an eruption of clapping and deaf waves
It’s where friendships are formed
It’s different every night
It's creative access
It's the nativity play
It’s real people pretending to be other people in front of other real people pretending those people are real which is a very strange thing when you think about it but what that does is allows us to be open to magic
To forget who we are just for a minute
To be free
And sometimes it doesn’t work
Sometimes it’s shit
Reaching the same white male straight cis non-disabled privilege with the same white male straight cis non-disabled stories
Hierarchical Racist Ableist Sexist Classist Homophobic Nepotistic
There’s a lot of work to be done
How can we do that work if there are no artists and creatives to lead that work?
If only part of the industry exists?
If that depleted industry isn't representative of all of us?
If that depleted industry can’t or won't take risks?
Theatre reveals who we are
Makes hearts beat faster
Makes minds sharper
Has helped people off the streets
Advocated for misrepresented groups
Given people voice
Nurtured young people
Helped us to better understand the viewpoints of those we don’t understand by stepping into their shoes
Theatre teaches empathy
And for that we STILL only have a 17-word “road map” from the Culture Secretary?
If you haven’t already, please write to your MP and join one of the brilliant campaigns like #freelancersmaketheatrework and #WeShallNotBeRemoved to help amplify the message that we need urgent help to save this vital industry.
This isn’t just about saving “theatre people”
This is about all of us