Until four years ago I wrote three columns a week for The Stage – one in print and two online. My theatre blog is the direct descendant. I started it when The Stage columns ended in June 2016.
Every columnist writing on any topic has nightmares about running out of material when there’s a commitment to produce something every week. But somehow the stories go on emerging and the ideas go on coming. So in the end, you stop panicking because you know that something will turn up. It always does.
Until now. Never could I (or anyone else) have ever imagined that we’d suddenly be plunged into a theatre-free world – no theatres, pub, concerts, clubs, or even church services (a form of theatre, if you stretch a point). Nothing. And I’ve always written a lot about education and training, but COVID-19 has closed the schools and drama colleges too. My life and work is suddenly one vast sea of nothingness. Never has my diary been so blank and white.
So what am I doing instead? Trying to write a play. An act of faith? Maybe. You’ll hear more about it if it works. I also have a book project or two in mind which may or may not firm up.
Of course, there are theatrical things I could write about: the fabulous levels of altruism and ingenuity which are emerging digitally: actors reading poems, free streamed theatre, music lessons from Big Names and more. The cloud may be all-enveloping, but the silver lining is shining pretty brightly.
But I’m not going to clutch at straws in order to space fill. For the moment, I’m going to suspend these columns. I plan to be back as soon as the industry begins to rise again – and it will. Eventually. So this is au revoir and definitely not goodbye.
I may start a new blog about something else during this long virus-enforced interval. I’ll see how it goes.