I’m having all the feels about the return of some outdoor theatre events to the scary little horizon this year.
Excited – to see actors and real, live audience after all this time!
Thrilled – that students from RADA are stepping up to take part in our JM Barrie Walk around Bloomsbury as part of the festival there and that tickets for our well known Mitford Girls Walk with Asthall Manor and The Theatre Chipping Norton have nearly all gone already even though the shows aren’t til the end of September!
Geekgasmic – as I start to immerse myself in the material for each walk, the glorious writing of JM – so much wit and pathos! The letters of the Mitford girls to each other through the years charting their lives, loves and losses (and that’s before I really start to look at the history of Bloomsbury with Great Ormond St and of course it’s ‘Set’ or Asthall Manor where the Mitford’s lived as children, once used between the wars as a convalescent home for soldiers doing the last pandemic, oooo chills!).
And anxious – how to ensure artists and audiences are safe and confident to enjoy this work? Can we take the financial gamble to put on an extra day in Oxfordshire so people can get tickets knowing as we do that our expenses are in danger of not being covered by ticket sales as our audiences sizes must stay down…
And perhaps most stressful of all, as we start to face these challenges, made absolutely worth it by the take up from the public (you do love us!), it’s hard not to notice that the government has yet to actually release its much trumpeted arts sector rescue package and that its focus on crown jewels and establishment leaves us small companies – arguably best positioned to pivot and serve our audiences unencumbered by the overheads of staff and buildings we’d always envied – unsure if we even qualify for help going forward into an uncertain future.
But hey, we’ll take that all-singing, all-dancing journey because we live to serve and, unlike the Tories, we in the arts sector are loath to leave you wanting more!