Editorial No. 3

16 April 2019

Florence Bell and Naomi Obeng on living and learning

It was interesting to hear in Sunday’s discussion that we have to make theatre with an audience in mind. An immediate question: Why should we make art for other people?

Is there a danger in this? That only certain artists will feel compelled, by pride or by selflessness (or guilt?), to make theatre for the People. The selfish artists (and for art, this is not necessarily negative) will go on making art selfishly. Why wouldn’t they, if other people have the People covered. It won’t be hard to ponder who the selfish ones tend to be either. Is everyone allowed, enabled, inclined to be equally selfless or selfish?

At times it all feels so muddled and abstract, so ripe for being torn straight open, prodded, sifted through. Sentences that were spoken over dinner or in the cafe have lingered and grown into conversations. It continues here. And there.

In this third issue, our writers have made a point of breaking open questions and probing their insides. Emma Rogerson delves into how we find meaning in theatre (p3), Liam Rees documents a conversation on Englishness and nationhood (p13), and Nathan Dunn (p6-7) offers his own response to Sunday’s thought-provoking discussion.

As the days meld into the continuum we’ve long had highlighted in our calendars as FESTIVAL, we’ve seen so many shows already and we’ve learnt so many things 

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NSDF is the place of learning things. We’re all still learning. That’s true for everyone. We’ve both been on a big learning curve this week, and in the months leading up to the festival. Learning can feel painful at times, especially when we’re learning through mistakes. But every day, we’re trying to take something away.

Saturday: the number of pages in a magazine have to be divisible by four. Duh.

Sunday: listen to people you disagree with. Don’t put your head in your hands. Hear them.

Monday: double check, triple check and quadruple check direct quotes for accuracy

We misattributed a quote in our second issue and spent an hour on Monday madly dashing around Leicester trying to get it corrected. There’s a slightly queasy feeling that comes with realising you’ve fucked something up and trying to remedy it, but as hours pass, it becomes easier to step back, breathe and learn. That’s what we’re here for. Don’t be afraid. Breathe. Learn.

Naomi and Florence xoxo

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Apologies to Chris Stafford and Guest Director James Phillips for the misattributed quote in issue 2. We quoted Guest Director James Phillips as describing the festival as ‘a factory of art’, but these words were in fact spoken by Chris Stafford.


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