I am now finally part of the conversation.
For the last year or so Abi and myself have been working on making accessing Theatre a reality for people with ‘Learning Disabilities’ or ‘Autism‘ labels. One of the things we spoke about in our last blog was how almost every other art form can be accessed from your front room in an environment you can control. Other than Theatre. Until now…
There is Theatre everywhere! Due to recent developments companies are choosing to stream certain productions online. Some now have entire online programmes. You can watch anything from productions from The National Theatre to The Dutch National Opera. There is something for everyone. Opera has been streaming for a while now, and Theatres are finally catching – it is exciting.
Why is it exciting? Because it allows people access to Theatre who would not ordinarily be able to access it. Like me. I can now have an informed opinion on things. I can now say ‘I liked that actor’, ‘the production value was good’, ‘that play was not for me’. I now feel like I have the privilege to have my opinion whereas before I only had an informed opinion on the limited amount of productions that have been available to me.
It has gone from being an agenda that I no control over. Where I would be given this one production of a play I could see. Whereas now I have a huge catalogue to choose from. I am now open to so much more Theatre and am able to explore what genres I like, what styles of writing I can play around with and what is achievable in a theatrical space and as a writer that has done me a world of good. It has made me so happy and I feel more positive about Theatre than I have done in years.
So, what about the financial sustainability of Theatres? There have been several high-profile stories of Theatres having financial trouble and a lot of these Theatres have set up live streaming as a way of getting donations and contributions to the Theatre. Some of their shops are also still open for people to buy things from.
When we went into lockdown, I was worried about my world shutting down almost entirely and this time has not gone without its stresses. I was not expecting to feel anything positive at all and certainly was not expecting Theatre to become accessible for me for the first time in my life. It is like the entire new world opened up, and I really don’t want that door to shut for me again.
My question is: Once this pandemic has settled and we are able to access the Theatres again, will this new world still be available for me to access?
Do you want to join in with the conversation? Here are several links to some varied productions. Please read content warnings as you may not like some of the production themes.
Bristol Old Vic:
Schaubuhne Theater Munich
Munich Staatsoper (Munich State Opera)
Dutch National Opera
Gorki Theatre Germany
Manchester Royal Exchange
Written by Chloe and Abi, Published by Dom Palfreman