Editorial No. 1

14 April 2019

Florence Bell and Naomi Obeng gets to grips with back-to-school-itis

There’s a tingly feeling of excitement in the run-up to NSDF. What could be better than a week of exciting young voices in theatre criticism and exciting young voices in theatre? It’s like Christmas every day. Excitement, yes – but it’s equally normal to get nervous before NSDF, it’s part of the routine of the festival. Here’s the thing about nervousness: the only thing in your life you ever need to deal with is the next hour. Live by the hour if you need to. There's no shame in it. Feel free to live this week in baby steps.

At the end of last year's festival Florence wrote a note reminding herself of that Christmas feeling.

nsdf is over for another year; as always it was tiring but so so invigorating. i feel excited about theatre again for the first time in a while. i got so much from all of the performances i saw and all of the conversations i had. thank you everybody. it has left me feeling whole again. i always feel so nourished by everyone and everything at the festival; it supports + challenges me and helps me grow in a way uni doesn't.

and genuinely, i think this year's nsdf was the most egalitarian one i've known/heard about. it was a week that was all about discussion and engagement. i feel so so proud of the whole noff team; thank you for everything. we made a great thing.

There are so many ways in which a person can come to NSDF, and through the mill of time and the timelessness of the theatre, come out changed. That’s the wonder of it – passivity is an impossibility. Uniformity a futility. There’s this sense of malleability: we all have a part in what can happen and a voice in what’s to come. The smallest whisper can resound. Stepping into the festival space always reminds us of how much the world is made by people. And how people are just you and me. Us. All of us. However nervous or excited we arrive.

We’ve been planning this first issue of Noises Off since January, and although we’re nervous for you to read it, we’re very proud of it. It's packed full of interesting thoughts from an amazing group of writers on everything from interviews with shows and selectors, audience interaction, the relationship between technicians and critics, the financial cost of getting to the festival and thoughts on what NSDF is for.

Everyone at the festival should be proud of what they've done. Whether we’ve come of our volition, in the Company, with a show, or on Management or Tech Teams, we've done well to get here. We're spending our Easter engaging with art, engaging with debate and being part of something. In the milieu of student theatre, it’s easy to forget we’re all over-achievers.

We’d like to thank Mark Shenton for his fundraising work that’s made Noff possible this year. We also owe our thanks to Michael Grandage Futures, Sonia Friedman, Michael Codron, Cameron Mackintosh and Dame Rosemary Squire for their generous support.

Naomi and Florence xoxo