It’s not that Sarah Kane had magical powers, but that she was with total integrity exploring her question. And there were a lot of amazing questions at that time.
‘In terms of the future, we want 503 to be resilient and it feels like our community of audience and artists believe in the necessity of an organisation such as ours. At the same time, there are no guarantees.’
The more you think about the invitation to the audience – as you say ‘come, be blocked off behind screens, we will spray you and present shows where actors stand apart, and we will try to encourage you not to sing along’, it’s like an anti-theatre.
‘It feels to me like, with The Great Gatsby, we had an opportunity, and resulting from that a duty, to use the show to work out some of the key things that might help the industry as a whole.’
‘We’ve spent seven years building to this point and three years to open the thing, changed the area and culture of the place, and in the snap of the fingers, it’s a ghost town.’
‘The major question is that the majority of theatres cannot open with social distancing in place – it’s impossible, for economics, for the business case let alone the experience, it just doesn’t work.’
‘The real unknown is when people are going to want to go back into the theatres, regardless of government advice. We don’t know that. It will be a long road.’
‘I actually managed to be quite philosophical about it in the end. There’s a sense that we’re all in it today, and there are much bigger things at play, like people dying and getting sick.’
“As soon as the theatres closed in the week of 16 March 2020, we thought ‘we need to remember we’re a theatre and think about what our role in relation to the city might be in this strange world’.”
As the weeks of lockdown continue, with theatres up and down the country and around the world closed for the foreseeable future, I caught up with another artistic director, Anthony Biggs of west London’s Playground Theatre, to find out more how they were responding.
Weeks into lockdown, with theatres up and down the country and around the world closed for the foreseeable future, I caught up with the artistic directors of Cirencester’s Barn Theatre, Belarus Free Theatre and Pitlochry Festival Theatre. How are they being affected? Will they survive?
On the weekend of 14 March 2020, following the closure of theatre on Broadway (on 12 March), it became clear that something overwhelming was about to happen to British theatre.