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All Theatre Is Community Theatre

November 27, 2018

 

All Theatre is for the community. Whether or not it's a community like Waltham Forrest (that I just saw Soho Theatre do) or whether it's for the National Theatre Olivier stage it's all for a community (At the NT or RSC or Edinburgh Fringe your community won't be geographical i& the wor. We, as playwrights/ directors/ theatre makers/ producers have to ask ourselves why we're making this here, why we're making it in this way and why we're making this now. It's lazy to assume that people only want to see themselves on stage; white working class Scottish people may see themselves in the story of Ghandi reclaiming India from the British, Scousers may resonate with the story of Mahmoud Beheshti Langaroudi's hunger strike in Tehran demanding a public trial, for other trade unionists to be allowed to be present and to hear the charges against him, Suffolk might see its self in Death of A Salesman... Who knows. It's a big world out there but the work your making is always about the community your presenting it to. It's not lazy, how ever, to think about form and how to tell these stories to these communities. In some communities inaccessible forms will be seen as pretentious, in others they will be lauded, in some communities accessible theatre will be lambasted, in others a Good Night Out is strived for. What making work boils down to is 4 simple questions: Why am I telling this story, Why am I telling this story now, Why am I telling this story in this way and finally, Why am I telling it here. (Some times you just write a play... It's then about finding a home that needs this stor) It's always about asking yourself why you have to tell this story, in this way, here, at this point in time. Watching Waltham Forrest tonight made me think about this: a show for children, in a time of distrust of all things official, done by a theatre that could be seen as the embodiment of eltist (in the city, doing odd clever work, for media types.. NOTE: I know it's not this but I'm guessing this is how it could be seen) that has interests in building a building the communtity introducing it's self as a thing for all - making children explore the imagination of the natural world away from computer screens and engaging them with their community. We have to find our reasons for these things in all things we do in order to make work for the communities who engage with them.

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