by Maddy Costa
The NTiYN blog, like everything else in this project, started in January as an experiment – but as its practice stretches and grows in the real world, so do ideas for how it should be reflected online. This Elsewhere section is the newest development: a space for connecting with other people who are also trying to forge stronger, more meaningful relationships with audiences. The theatre industry can look invidiously competitive sometimes, companies and buildings competing for a too-small allocation of public cash. But increasingly people are recognising the need to work together, with generosity and in a spirit of fairness, to secure theatre’s place within communities and everyday cultural life. Hence initiatives such as house, the group of producers and programmers based in the South East, developing more collaborative models for touring, or the Collaborative Touring Network established by Battersea Arts Centre to share work more creatively between London and the rest of the country.
This Elsewhere section will be used to signpost interesting blogs or events happening beyond the NTiYN project, stuff we find inspiring, provocative and exciting, that chimes with the project – or challenges it. For instance, a Guardian blog by Lyn Gardner, published last month, on the need to develop audiences alongside the stuff that they’re watching; the accompanying comments are worth reading too, not least the suggestion from Chris Goode that advocates opening up rehearsal rooms to enhance an audience’s relationship with the work. We also loved this piece published on the Guardian’s Culture Professionals Network, by John Walton of theatre company Fol Espoir, about an alternative approach to the post-show discussion: they present it as a menu of DVD-style extras, from which audiences can choose the material that appeals to them most. In The Stage, Catherine Love has written an interesting piece about a variety of other approaches to post- and pre-show discussions. As writer-in-residence at house, Catherine will be contributing regularly to the organisation’s blog – another online space to watch.
Those are the pieces we’ve picked up on so far: all contribute to the conversation Fuel are opening up with NTiYN. A conversation happening all over the country, that is slowly achieving much-needed change.