As Ben Franklin once said, “Out of adversity comes opportunity”. Well, I’m sure many of you will be quick to agree that we’ve faced some fairly adverse times over the past few years, so it stands to reason that some opportunities should have risen in this time also. Theatre Uncut has come up with the mother of all opportunities which most definitely stands firm in the face of adversity. Grab your diary and your marker pen – no pencilling in please – and get ready to rumble!
Seven of the UK’s most prolific writers are each donating a piece of their exquisite writing rights-free to a nationwide event spearheaded by Theatre Uncut. In a phenomenal show of solidarity the event will see hundreds of productions being staged all over the UK to promote awareness (and defiance) of the cuts, to challenge perceptions, change minds and show the powers that be that we are standing together. In its own words: “By creating a nationwide event spearheaded in London, we hope to create a theatrical uprising and play our part in the anti cuts movement that is already underway”.
We’ve signed petitions, we’ve had demonstrations, we’ve marched, we’ve talked nicely and we’ve shouted loudly. Now it’s time for us to do what we do best. Our generation of theatre makers has paved the way to the stalls, so now it’s time to take the stage, to take our seats and to take action. Anyone can be part of this movement and each piece is yours to play with until Friday 18th March – what will you do with them? I can’t wait to see the results! After this date each piece will return to the author’s ownership. So pick up the glass slipper and climb aboard the pumpkin because, for a limited time only, we can all go to the ball! With little to no costs, anyone from anywhere can get involved and this will make all the difference.
So I urge you to take part, whether you stage one or all of the pieces yourself or attend one of them. The website has a list of many of the places and people participating, so find your nearest one and support your local and national arts scene. Trust me, wherever you are, whoever is performing, if you enjoy theatre you will not be disappointed by the performances.
The pieces themselves are magnificent samples from some of the glittering gems that litter the UK’s creative jewellery box. Writers include Dennis Kelly, Lucy Kirkwood, Laura Lomas, Anders Lustgarten, Mark Ravenhill, Jack Thorne and Clara Brennan. We genuinely have a fantastic creative arsenal in this country and to have them so wonderfully celebrated really does show just how important the arts are to us and how tight a grip we must keep on them. If you’re taking part in the event and staging your own production of one of these pieces do let us know. It would be great to see who’s doing what and where, and also to hear your thoughts on the subject.
Let’s raise the curtain on the arts world and give them what for. And maybe, just maybe, by curtain down we’ll have enticed even more people to listen, to think and to act. See you there!