I hate doors closing in my face. Sometimes its my fault. Other times it’s because of external circumstances.
I’ve learnt to not waste time. As soon as an artistic director says ‘NO’, as soon as the door slams shut, I just get back to what I’m writing.
But these are tough times.
Yes, I understand. The funding is disappearing. Some have missed out. While that seems devastating for some, nothing changes much for others.
I don’t run a company. I have no idea how disappointing it would be to miss out on crucial funding that may have seen your company through this difficult time. It’s overwhelming, for companies, individual artists and audiences.
It is a strange time. A harrowing time. Time cannot move more speedily in the fight against the effects of this pandemic.
Theatre makers have always been good stewards of time. Development, workshops, rehearsals, season runs. The never ending demands of casting, designing, set building, marketing and audience development - just a few things that we need to stay ahead of in order for the show to go on.
But the show has stopped. It isn’t on stage. Theatres are closed.
And now is the opportune time to accept this forced retreat, to recoup and regather our strength as theatre makers.
It’s an opportune time to consider what we’ve lost, temporarily.
We’ve lost the current FORM.
But we have not lost the FUNCTION.
Do a Google search for ‘The function of theatre’ and the results displayed talk about beauty, the human spirit, epic theatre, joy, the active nature of the audience and as one website puts it, ‘teaching society about itself’.
Is this not still your job as a theatre maker, a writer, actor, director, theatre manager?
Just because the FORM is currently being denied, does that change the FUNCTION.
So a government department has decided not fund the form. It can be taken as an insult that your company, or you as a sole trader aren’t important.
I’ve read articles in the last week that say artists are suffering because of funding cuts.
Suffering is not a word to use lightly in this world crisis. I’d be careful about applying it theatre.
Doors have closed, audiences not allowed into the building to see your performance. Funding denied.
I'm the first one to admit that I have no idea what a blow that is to some.
Do you honestly think that because the FORM is not being funded or is temporarily shut down, that this negates the function of theatre, or you as a theatre maker?
Change form. Morph into another creature. Shape-shift into something that does not require funding nor a stage, or for that matter, a live audience only meters away.
The audience is still out there. You still have your skill as a writer, an actor or director.
Now is the time to realize that the function of theatre doesn’t change, neither does your function as a theatre maker. Only the form.
Of course, every argument breaks down at some point. Brian Clarks' play Whose Life Is It Anyway presents a case for both form and function being totally destroyed. But we aren’t sculptors with broken backs.
We are theatre makers who have audiences waiting.
I didn’t have a play scheduled with any theatre company this year. It’s easy for me to run off at the mouth about it.
But seriously... suck it up princess ( and other non binary artists ).
Take this opportunity to redefine the form - and yourself as an artist. One theatre maker once wrote...
“Make use of time, let not advantage slip; Beauty within itself should not be wasted”
You have beauty in yourself and what you create.
Don’t waste this time of closed doors.
Or you wont be ready when they open again.
These are tough times... don't waste them.