Coronavirus has shut the theatres.
Playwrights, actors and audiences can’t risk breathing the same air.
For today wild optimism, the concept of the pandemic being an ‘interval’ and a focus on digital revivals keeps many theatre makers sane but tomorrow has never been more unpredictable; values in the face of global economic collapse will adjust and theatre will likely never be as it was, as it has been, as we have known it because the audience will be much changed – and may not be there at all for a very long time, if ever.
For the first time since Oliver Cromwell no theatres are open in Britain, housing dramatic voices of dissent and challenge. New TV production has also been halted. Finding a different and engaging way to fulfil the role that new plays and drama provide in the national psyche and debate will be a challenge for all playwrights in the months and years ahead.
For now, all we have is the words.
The root of theatre is story – and stories are what writers can give.
I’m offering some new stories I’ve written below, in audio format, introduced by playwrights, directors and actors in support of Separate Doors, the company I lead which focuses on the lives and theatre work of people and actors with learning disabilities.
Please listen and if you feel you can donate then search the Just Giving site for Separate Doors or donate via the PayPal button below- but don’t feel obliged in any way.
Words and imagination are free.
As Timberlake Wertenbaker says in her introduction to the first story I’m uploading below…
“In these dark and frightening times, the telling of stories is more important than ever. It is through narration that we try to make sense of the chaos around us, that we select what matters and that we even find a thread of hope, not necessarily because the story ends well but because it allows us to understand ourselves, to see our habits and perhaps even to change the patterns of our thoughts and our emotions, in other words to make new stories- what could be more hopeful than that? The story that follows couldn’t come at more opportune time, you will see why, I won’t wish you happy listening but attentive listening, yes”.