Lockdown update

(Top photo: Kenny Baraka with DJ Conrad Kira in Plot 17. Photo: Suzi Corker)

I was asked to summarise, briefly, what I got up to during lockdown. But I couldn’t. It was too varied, and lots of things required some explanation. I guess everyone knows that the theatre sector has been hit very hard by the pandemic. Many workers have left to get sensible, less precarious, less stressful jobs. I haven’t. But I have, as they say, diversified. Perhaps, I thought to myself, that’s worth a blogpost. So here goes.

Myself, Andrea Carr and Mona Kastell at the Ecostage Launch, CCA Glasgow, during COP26. (Photo: Kanatip Soonthornrak)

To start with, I used the opportunity afforded by the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme to help set up the Society of British Theatre Designers’s first working group on sustainability, taking on the role of co-ordinator. I also become one of the directors of Ecostage, an initiative for supporting ecological thinking in the performing arts. Along with Andrea Carr, Mona Kastell, Ruth Stringer and some volunteers, I helped rebuild the project from the ground up as a go-to platform for green-minded performing arts professionals. The new website, ecostage.online, was launched at COP26 last month. Various other advisory roles then followed, including helping gather material for The Green Book, joining the advisory panel on sustainability for the Queens Theatre Hornchurch and informally helping co-ordinate knowledge-sharing with other sustainable performing arts groups around the world. 

In the past I’ve joked that, because of the huge disconnect between workload and pay in the sector, my ideal working model would be to get some kind of stipend, then offer my services for free as I see fit. SEISS felt a bit like that, and for a while I was almost a full-time volunteer.

Continue reading “Lockdown update”

COVID-19 Contingency Plan for Gerrard Winstanley’s True and Righteous Mobile Incitement Unit — Daedalus Theatre Company

We’ve postponed Mobile Incitement, the project I’m currently directing for Daedalus Theatre Company… Here’s the official statement.

We hope you’re all well and staying safe. We’ve had to reschedule our activities, and we really only have one active project at the moment: Gerrard Winstanley’s True and Righteous Mobile Incitement Unit, which was to start touring in June, with a second leg in the autumn. We’re working on the basis that we should…

via COVID-19 Contingency Plan for Gerrard Winstanley’s True and Righteous Mobile Incitement Unit — Daedalus Theatre Company

Let’s Talk About Participation

I’ve missed shows I really wanted to see because the threat of audience participation made me so anxious. And yet, at Daedalus and elsewhere, I make participatory theatre. Is this hypocrisy?

My view of participation is that it shouldn’t be about persuading or pressuring people to do things. It should be even less about picking on people, forcing participation on them. It’s about creating an environment in which people can find their own degree of involvement as equals. This might be because you advertise the piece as participatory so they know what they’re letting themselves in for, such as Shunt, Metis or Punchdrunk. But I want to talk about performances where people come to see a show but we, the artists, want them to have not the experience of a well-made performance but also a deeper kind of engagement. Continue reading “Let’s Talk About Participation”