Theatre won’t go down without a fight

‘I can’t tell you how much this Covid situation has shown the world how much we need art to live’

Lin-Manuel Miranda
Answering the lockdown:

It’s certainly a worrying time for those in the creative industries, and many have been working tirelessly to find innovative (and inexpensive) ways of keeping the theatre industry alive. The National Theatre specifically have called on their previously recorded performances with NT Live over the past 11 years. Needless to say there is a plethora of work for the National to showcase. Although donations are suggested, perhaps we are coming close to a time where donations must be mandatory, in order to financially support the theatre.

Don’t miss TURNUP London, a recorded concert from Cadogan Hall featuring Black performers from the West End and Broadway. The concert will be available to stream on the 10th, 11th and 12th July. The performers will unite to raise funds and awareness for four charities – The Bail Project, The Okra Project, The Black Curriculum and UK Black Pride – in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Also featuring readings, poetry and speeches from prominent figures in the Black community, this is a must watch, and one of the first live performances since the pandemic hit the theatre capital. Tickets are £10 and you can find out more here.

A project to keep up your Shakespeare fix is undoubtedly The Barn Theatre’s ‘Bard From The Barn’. The Cirencester theatre has described the project as ‘William Shakespeare meets Black Mirror’. Watch Shakespeare’s most famous characters like never before! The success of the project has led to a second series, and if you didn’t catch the first, it’s all available to watch below.

With series two featuring over 70 actors and 30 directors, this project is certainly growing over lockdown! Donate to The Barn here.

Leah Harvey and CJ Beckford in the National Theatre’s ‘Small Island’.
Graduate Support:

Between online graduate showcases and performances, the up and coming theatre community is surely not giving up without a real fight. Showcase2020 for example is promoting acting and musical theatre graduates who were unable to have the chance this year to showcase themselves to industry professionals as would be the standard of other years. For registration to be featured on the website or take a look at the graduates, click here.

There are also many graduate schemes that aim to connect graduates with industry professionals to offer advice and support, not least the contacts that all performers will need upon the reopening of theatres. ‘Acting Out’ is a new graduate rep company committed to helping graduates create new networks and relationships with industry professionals and venues. Spearheaded by director Adam Morley, to get involved email adam@adammorley.com.

Many drama schools and institutions have created innovative online showcases for their graduates, accessible from anywhere in the world. It poses the question if this could be the future for grad showcases. No more date clashes with other schools, agents can watch all showcases right in their office, and students have control over the quality of work they exhibit. The students of course might want a different background for filming than their bedrooms like this year!

Showcase2020

Industry Talks:

A brilliant free option is The Hustle Community’s industry talks. There are fortnightly live industry talks with Casting Directors with knowledge about various areas of the industry, varying from theatre, film and advertising. Even more helpfully, many CD’s have been giving vital Do’s and Dont’s regarding auditions. You can find all their videos and other events The Hustle are running here.

It seems Lin-Manuel is right, we do need the arts to live, and it is for that reason (and the passion and drive of everyone in the industry) it won’t go down without a fight.

On the 11th July, there are protests happening across the UK, demanding the government for financial aid for the arts, and a clear roadmap of how we can reopen our theatres. If you would like to join the London march, sign up and more info is here.

There are many examples of theatres streaming previously recorded performances, but I’ll leave you with this celebration of the National’s 11 years of NT Live, as a reminder of what we’re fighting so hard to retrieve.