Launching the SLG Annual Report 2021, Artistic Director Rebecca Mordan reflects on yet another ‘year like any other’…
Around this time last year I wrote about SLG’s constant need to ‘pivot, adapt, evolve, thrive – repeat’ during the 19 years I’ve been running it, and in particular how important it is to continually question our assumptions about how we work. Well, if 2020 taught us one thing, it was that we can’t rely on the old ways to stick around forever!
Despite years of looking up to larger, more established organisations and feeling jealous of theatre companies with venues of their own, it was actually SLG’s minimal infrastructure, dynamic nature and nimble attitude that allowed us to thrive during what amounted to a shutdown of live events and a global cultural overhaul. Plus, of course, a great deal of good fortune in terms of the grant-funded projects we were in the middle of, which could be adapted or re-purposed for delivery remotely or online; and the hard work and talents of my team – in particular ‘The Diamond’, who you’ll meet shortly… I’ve had the privilege to be involved in some terrific projects outside SLG this year too, including the BBC Cornish Voices Writer’s Room, the KERPOW collective of female artists and producers in Cornwall; presenting and co-writing an episode of Radio 4’s Archive On 4 marking the anniversary of the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp; and even filming in the bunkers at Greenham for Abandoned Engineering on the Yesterday Channel!
Throughout all this, I’ve felt more supported by the (safety-)network developed over many years by SLG than ever before, and more understood by our audiences and funders who have come with us on this wild and unpredictable ride. I know where my skills lie – and it’s not in the digital realm, so the leap from live performance, eye contact and touring to webcams, pre-records and online content creation has not been a comfortable one for me (as I documented in numerous blog posts on the SLG website last summer – something I had to be firmly strongarmed into doing!). But thanks to the more 21st Century expertise of those around me, SLG is now the proud possessor of something I never thought we’d create: a powerful, high quality and varied online catalogue of increasingly diverse and accessible work.
VR, AI, Twine, closed-captioning, video editing, colour palette branding, YouTube channel, vlogging, you’re on mute. At the start of 2020, I had no idea about any of this or who I would become while being forced to learn so much so quickly. V, Becky, Sharon and everyone on the ‘thank you’ pages – I couldn’t have done it without you!
Thanks to all this hard work, good fortune and my web of support, I’ve actually really enjoyed rising to the challenges of this period of being ‘socially distanced but culturally together’ and I feel immensely proud to have employed so many actors, singers, writers, technicians and other creatives during such a tough time. But of course, I can’t wait to see everyone in person again and get stuck into what comes most naturally to me and I find most rewarding: seeing people’s real-time reaction to our art, live, as it happens, in the flesh… See you soon!