Freelancers Make Theatre Work is run by a small voluntary group of freelancers. The group is not fixed but fluid and welcomes participants who are willing to give time. Each week, a different member of the team writes the newsletter...

Reopening

By Kelsie Acton

May 17th feels like a very particular moment. Theatres open. Pubs open. 

There’s a lot of joy in this. I love theatre. I want it to come back. 

And. 

I can’t deny that this year has been difficult, but in some ways, it’s also been the easiest year of my life. 

I’m neurodivergent and one of the ways that shows up is that I’m sound sensitive. That pub, that restaurant, the theatre lobby buzzing with voices excitedly overlapping is a lot. It looks like fun until I’m in the middle of it and I can’t understand anything anyone says, and my head is pounding in pain and I’m exhausted with the effort of focusing through the wall of noise. 

Pandemic world has been very kind to my brain. People can only speak one at a time over zoom. Turns out, understanding everything everyone says is pretty great. I can turn the volume down on digital theatre if it gets too loud. And even better, I can watch theatre in my pyjamas, without having to endure the screeching of the Tube to see it. Theatre without the complicated calculation of how much energy and pain it will cost me to see it is also pretty great. Not having pain and exhaustion be a daily part of my life has been strange and incredible.

And. 

I miss people. I miss watching theatre in rooms with people. 

And I don’t miss being tired and in pain. 

So this particular day, May 17th, when people excitedly rush back to noisy spaces is a complicated one for me. 

I think what I want you to take from this moment when a little of the old the world returns, and old forms of inaccessibility reassert themselves, is:

That meeting in a coffee shop can probably be a zoom call. (The next time you’re in a coffee shop I invite you to take a good listen to the espresso machine. Why are they so noisy? And then why add to that noise by playing background music?)

Relaxed and sensory adaptive performances are things you should be doing. More than once in your run. In fact, why not all relaxed all the time?

Digital is something you should keep doing. 

Press night, pubs, and parties shouldn’t be the only way to network and build a career. 

If you’re a venue you need a chill out space. A good one, designed by someone disabled, because a chair in the corner of the lobby with a sign above saying ’chill out space’ does not actually do anything aside from tick a box. 

That there’s not one way that theatre happens. We’ve all been doing, watching, listening to theatre as it reinvents itself for the last year. So, ‘that’s the way we do it’ can no longer be a reason to keep being inaccessible. 

And I’d like you to remember that just like we all had different experiences of lockdown, we’re all going to have different experiences of easing out of lockdown. We’re gaining something, but I’m also losing something. And I know I’m not alone in that. Let’s be curious and kind and gentle with each other as the world changes again.

Ghost Shows - Episode 4 - Restoration

2021 had felt like a beacon of hope, and the new year promised the restart we were all waiting for. But as the year ticked over, shows programmed for the new year, for Spring for Summer even well into the future that started to feel uncertain, then impossible, and inevitably, they were cancelled too.

From this week, many theatre's across the country can now reopen, but how likely is it that we will get what our theatrical ancestors were longing for: Restoration. 

All 4 episodes of the Ghost Shows podcast are now available. Just search for the Curtain Call podcast on Apple podcasts, Spotify, Google or wherever you get your podcasts. If you enjoy it, please give it a rating and a review to help us spread the word! 

Go to the Podcast
Welsh Freelancers' Fund

The Welsh Government's latest Freelance Fund launched yesterday.

The Cultural Recovery Fund Phase 2 grant.

Funding applications for Freelancers - closes at 5pm on Tuesday 1 June (delivered by the local authorities in Wales).

Make sure you are also following Cultural Freelancers Wales who will be hosting a Q+A today at 1.30pm and posting updates about the fund.

Find out more & apply
Free Freelancer tickets to Almeida Events

The Almeida Theatre reopens this week with Six Artists in Search of a Play a programme of panels, music, dance, and readings exploring theatrical traditions from around the world. Free tickets can be booked, while supplies last, to the following three panel events using offer code ARTISTSFREE on www.almeida.co.uk.

The events are: 

Mosaic Voices & Jewish Women in Theatre Panel

Six Artists in Search of a Play Panel & The Legacy of Chinese Theatre Panel

You Who Wronged & Polish Theatre and the Revolution Panel.

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