Issy: So maybe we should start w did u agree that theatre is shit?
Lydia: Yeah I defo agree that theatre is shit
Issy: Yeah same, I thought they raised some really good points about how it's shit for everyone
Lydia: I thought it was interesting how they described theatre as ‘heart-breaking’, when someone works 20 times harder than everyone else to get to the same place because of their background. I think even just saying theatre is shit is a rejection of the middle-class neoliberalism that makes up much of audiences
Issy: Yes! I really admired how honest they were across the board about how theatres fail their artists, even if it seems like they're improving things in terms of representation. Cause I think people forget that representation is more than what you literally see, it has to go backstage and into the bones of the theatre who're doing it I think.
Lydia: Exactly! I hadn’t really thought about backstage diversity before (a sign of my own privilege really), and how shameful it is that theatres often diversify the ‘photographed’ people for their own image rather than for genuine ethical responsibility. I think it raised good points about it not being enough to pair an experimental company with a canonical text if that’s not helping either end
Issy: I think there's a point they raised before that I hadn't thought about, about how you choose your prod team as well, like to what extent do you try and pair people who'd work well together and to what extent is it just bc they'll look good on the poster (as it where). But like I found it really inspiring but also slightly disheartening, but then I also felt motivated to go and do things about it? Weird mixture of feelings.
Lydia: Definitely! And it made me reflect more on my own position as a theatre-goer. Like, obviously I can’t change my identity but what choices do I make about the theatre that I choose to go and see? How do audiences affect what is popular and worthy of the ‘main space’ by what tickets they buy? And while Shakespeare can be great it was a relief to hear someone admit that some productions can be shit ;)
Issy: Hahah yes totally agree, especially with the takedown of Macbeth
Lydia: Overall I think this has been one of my NSDF highlights - I think it’s really vital for theatre festivals to ask these sorts of questions :)
Issy: 100% agree- and the panel were so engaging and interesting I want them to do another one!!