The state of the blog

The state of the blog

31 March 2018

Florence Bell, Ava Davies and Kate Wyver discuss theatre blogging and its current lack of magnetism

We each write sporadically on our personal blogs as well as for a range of publications. This week we have been working together on Noises Off. We sat down to have a chat about theatre blogging. [peace hand sign emoji]

Ava: So for me I don’t want to blog at all at the moment because I’ve run out of juice.

Flo: I don’t feel like I’ve run out of juice, I just feel like I’d still be writing as much if the #MeToo stuff hadn’t happened. I think I’m stopping partly to protect myself and I wrote a blog post about how #MeToo was affecting theatres’ programming and a couple of people went on in me. Initially I felt kind of attacked but only because it was wrapped up in my personal situation and they couldn’t have known that. But there was also an element in their tweets of: you’re young so it’s okay for you to say something I disagree with.

Kate: Blogging and writing can be so cathartic when you need somewhere to spill those thoughts. But then there’s also something weird about people validating it by liking it. The idea of protecting yourself by writing about yourself less also then means you don’t have the space where you’re sharing these things. In my head I can tell I’m getting to that state again of having thoughts on shows and #MeToo but I’m not putting them anywhere because

Ava: You don’t wanna get shouted at?

Kate: Yeah. Well no. Because the issues are so complicated.

Ava: All of #MeToo is so knotty and complex and I’d hate to write a thing on it because it would just feel like committing myself to a take on it.

Kate: But I’m also massively grateful for the opportunities in writing #MeToo has given me. But it’s meant that I’ve been like: shit, I actually have to have a solid opinion on this slippery thing and it’s hard.

Ava: Also when it was first coming out and people were figuring it out, it was this nascent movement, and how am I supposed to have this really clear comprehension about something that’s still growing and mutating? It just feels really

Flo: Overwhelming.

Ava + Kate: Yeah

Flo: I know this is a very 2013 take but as a culture I still don’t feel like we’re doing enough to unpick how the internet is changing us. I look at some of those issue plays, and state of the nation plays and I feel like I’m still waiting for the first really great state of the nation/internet play.

Kate: I was thinking the other day about the amount of time I spend looking at the internet or looking for a notification. Again these are 2013 thoughts but I wonder if I would feel better if I didn’t tweet and didn’t have a Facebook or a website and I just wrote articles. There’s something wrapped up in my own head about writing, where before it just felt like sharing but now it feels like being selfish and showing off.

Flo: So much of it is about inviting people to approve you by a like or a retweet when you write something. I really defined myself by that for a while.

Ava: Yeah. That’s unhealthy.

Kate: And there’s some people that I expect to be liked by.

Ava: Yeah, like once Alice Saville likes it I can relax

Flo: Yeah. The pleasure comes from things other than the actual writing of it. I don’t know if you guys have done interviews with Meg Vaughan, but I remember talking with her about how I felt Twitter was a community and at that point I felt really supported by it. And that was over summer before all the shit. When the shit came, the community didn’t support me anymore. And it’s like, no one ever had responsibility to make sure I was ok. These were people I didn’t know on the other side of a screen. But they didn’t check up on me.

Ava: Because ostensibly you had done something wrong?

Flo: No, just because there are people who it would have been polite for them to message me. And I was just like: this isn’t what it seems to be.

Ava: I just need to take a break. I just want to watch theatre.

Kate: Yes. Something about it feels forced. Not this week, I’m really enjoying NSDF because it’s a project. But I’m going away for pretty much the rest of this year and I’m actually really looking forward to it.

Flo: I feel the same thing about feeling forced

Ava: I think I can see in your recent ones that you feel strained, that you’re running at it, like you’re tackling a topic.

Flo: That’s really interesting. Okay, I want to throw one more thing into the mix, which is that I look at a lot of other bloggers and I don’t really identify with them. I feel like we have very different views on blogging. When they do their things about the importance of theatre blogging, and don’t slag off theatre bloggers, I don’t care.

Ava: Yeah, it’s kind of not that deep.

Kate: Maybe that’s the thing, we started doing this because we like it. And it’s got so complicated.

Ava: And all this stuff is on your back.


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