We celebrated our third birthday this month. 'And it got me to thinking (as it would, I suppose) about all the things that have happened in the past three years. Favourite performances, favourite shows, best audience responses – you get the idea. It's great to reflect back on your favourite moments (subtly gliding over the the less fortunate ones) and see what you've achieved.
I don't know if you're familiar with the 'AndOn company ethos, but there's a line in it which reads:
“Our aims have always been to devise narratives which carry with them an honest, relatable poignancy and a stripped back simplicity which might inspire anyone to take their idea and bring it to reality.”
I've kind of had it with theatre that seeks only to be mildly 'thought-provoking' or 'relevant' yet makes no attempt to encourage its message in a practical sense. 'And actually it needn't be all too complicated. If a show makes you want to read more, or eat less, or sword-fight, or text an old friend, or research an illness then it serves a purpose that goes beyond 'entertainment' to something personal. It gives an audience something tangible with which to connect themselves to your work. It goes beyond an emotional connection (which can, of course, have tremendous impact) to something which can empower everyone in the room, or stir people into action.
There's a fantastic quote from a recent review of one of our shows which said:
“It took me back to a time when children had to make up their own imaginary games and hopefully productions like this will encourage our modern day little ones to put down their iPads and let their minds run free!”
I think I 'whooped' when I first read that.
I'm certain that in three more years our craft and our skill and our understanding of how to make theatre will have developed and improved substantially, however one thing that won't be changing is our aim to put the 'get-up-and-go' at the heart of all our work. The unexplainable call to action.
Everyone gets to play... Some people just don't know it yet.