Human Sources (ditch the ‘re’) Director’s Blog 11.07.19

The Garth stage

The first weekend is done. 200 names on the programme, 100 performers each night and lovely, large appreciative crowds.  (See the programme here). We performed across three outdoor stages and in the streets between to over 1400 people. 

The response has been pretty overwhelming. 

Making theatre about place and in that place lends a special power to the work. Over the four performances I never failed to be moved looking out from the cast at our listening audience as we sang our final lament to Anglia Square.  The school kids and choir all lined up beside and in front of us, our (almost) all-female crew poised, still in the background. The magic was there. A real moment’s theatre. 

Making theatre about place and in that place lends a special power to the work. Over the four performances I never failed to be moved looking out from the cast at our listening audience as we sang our final lament to Anglia Square.  The school kids and choir all lined up beside and in front of us, our (almost) all-female crew poised, still in the background. The magic was there. A real moment’s theatre. 

I don’t want this to turn into a “Didn’t we do well?” piece. There’s still one weekend to go and we’ve all been on a learning curve – we’re not taking anything or anyone for granted now.  

That said, getting 900 people out to see a historical theatre show on a Sunday is pretty good – I can think of a few arts organisations that. would kill for those numbers. I think it’s probably ok to reflect on what we are doing right in all this.  

Over the water on St George’s Green

There are a host of reasons – good planning and hard work go a long way of course – but my mind is brought back to our third principle.  

“We have what we need (and if we don’t, we can find it!)” 

The essential thing is to believe in people, and in the capacity that our association with one another brings.  It’s great to have the fundamentals of time and facility dealt with by healthy funding, but it’s in the discovery of what we give and are given – and then how we assimilate that into the fabric of the whole project, that give us a binding encouragement and happy motivation to continue.  It’s the difference between sourcing and resourcing. People love to give. There’s that favourite quote again “the spirit of the gift is kept alive by its constant donation.”

School singing in one of the ‘performance spots’

This project is a good scale or two up from things we have done previously.  There is a kind of deliberate blind faith that goes into putting this principle to action.  We believe in serendipity. We don’t know necessarily how to do it – but we do know we can.   

There are a thousand examples, from the tiniest safety pin when a buckle pops in the interval, to the head steward marshalling 24 friends just at the point we realise we are going to have crowd management issues.   

It also implies that the solution to any issue is ours to discover.  The source of it will come from within – a contact, an idea, a spare something, a well-intentioned approach.  The one example of this that pleased me most recently was when one of our cast got a serious leg injury and was left doubtful for the show. The mobility shop in the square [thanks BeActive!] lent us a scooter. He now makes a grand entrance to the final stage and brings the house down – more serendipity and colour.  

I truly believe that, visible or not, home-sourced solutions help a project to glow with a spirit of possibility.  We want our audience to look at us and think “I could do that!”  I love it when people audience say things like “… it reaffirms your faith in humanity”.  It does – and, in my opinion, this is exactly what making theatre is all about …  It also implies that the solution to any issue is ours to discover.  The source of it will come from within – a contact, an idea, a spare something, a well-intentioned approach.  The one example of this that pleased me most recently was when one of our cast got a serious leg injury and was left doubtful for the show. The mobility shop in the square [thanks BeActive!] lent us a scooter. He now makes a grand entrance to the final stage and brings the house down – more serendipity and colour.  

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