I’m sitting in Theatre503 as the get-in flows smoothly for the 12 new solo shows which are premiering here from this week up to 14 July 2018. Out there are thousands of theatregoers who love new work, love powerful pieces of political theatre, love a good laugh, love a new piece of music theatre, love verbatim, love international theatre pieces, love historical exploration of powerful women, love to see new directors and new writers. But they also love the fact it is sunny, that the World Cup is on, that their exams are over, that their kids have come home for the holidays, that the garden is looking great – and even better with a glass of wine.
The challenge for our 12 producers is to cut through the noise and reach people who will “get” their show, and would love to spend 60 minutes in a comfortably air-conditioned theatre seeing a piece of new work.
Joan Littlewood was famously seen scrubbing the steps of the Theatre Royal when all the rest of the staff were off putting their glad rags on for a gala first night. When asked why the boss was on her knees: “We’re having guests round.” She wanted the place to be welcoming. Our 12 producers are making sure all the guests they’d love to have at their shows are aware it’s this week – and I know they care about their work and their theatre as much as Ms Littlewood did. We are grateful that the Latchmere Pub and Theatre503 look fresh and welcoming – so no step scrubbing needed.
It is my last job of work for Mountview after six years with the school – helping the 12 producers on this year’s MA find their way to the end of the seven-week Catalyst Festival. Since Christmas, they have produced, marketed, done casting and technical support for, and been there to cheer their fellow directors and actors. First leading to a really successful eight-play season over the last five weeks. Now, these last two weeks they are in Theatre503 presenting their own 12 solo pieces.
So if you have the chance, come and see me one evening at The Latchmere / Theatre503 and see a couple of shows. Or come at Fri or Sat 6&7th, 13th&14th and see 3 shows – a tapas of one person new commissions at 5.30, 7pm, 8.30pm. I’ll be there, and the producers and I would love to know what you think. Where should this piece play next ? Who’s the perfect partner theatre to start a tour ? Which countries would really get the subject matter ?
Many of the producers are also preparing their shows for Edinburgh, and knee deep in working with other companies in London. They are juggling, as all producers have to in this world, and looking good.
I hope you can make it as I hand over the MA Creative Producing to my successor Pam Fraser Solomon, and head off to develop my own new work from my new base in Edinburgh.
See you at Theatre503