A social club for theatre

Introduction from Maddy Costa: I met Danielle Rose at the Lighthouse in Poole, when she brought a group of people to see Tortoise in a Nutshell’s Feral, then stayed behind for the Theatre Club afterwards. Danielle works as an independent producer, and I really enjoyed listening to her talk about how the show had ignited her sense of community spirit. But more than that, I was impressed by her passion for creating opportunities for people to see art and theatre – particularly work that they might think isn’t for them. For a while now I’ve been talking, through NTiYN, about wanting to set up a series of social clubs, through which a motley group of people could go and see shows together, as a fun night out. When it turned out that Danielle has already created just such a group, I asked her to write a guest post about how and why she went about it.

By Danielle Rose

My first experience of buying a theatre ticket for myself, with my very own money earned from a Sunday shop job, was at Lighthouse, Poole’s Arts Centre. I think I only earned around £16 a week and a scheme called Access to Leisure (which reduced ticket prices by 75% for people from low-income families) meant that I could go to shows for less than a fiver.

Back then, I was too scared to step into a theatre alone, something I take for granted now, and would pay for one of my younger brothers to come too. Aged 16, I thought that people who went to the theatre were really posh. I was convinced that we’d get caught out somehow, that people would notice us and know that we didn’t really belong there. We’d get to theatre minutes before the show began so that we didn’t have to hang around too long before taking our seats. In and out we went, on as regular a basis as I could afford or convince my brother to come. Feeling the comfort of the house lights going down, we’d made it. In a darkened auditorium, we could be just about anyone. Sometimes in the interval people next to us wouldn’t be able to contain their surprise to see two young people coming to a show on their own and would start talking to us. I’d make small talk politely in my best voice, my brother sat silently next to me reading programme notes over the shoulder of the person in front.

Things are very different now. I’ve worked in the arts for almost 13 years and when I walk into venues I often know some of the people working there, the people on stage and many faces in the audience. Now the houselights going down cut conversations short. I’ll go to the theatre on my own because I know I won’t be alone when I get there.

I moved back to my hometown in 2013 for work, and didn’t anticipate how isolated that relocation would lead me to feel, even as someone now content in their own company. The number of people I still had a let’s-hang-out connection with after 10 years living away in Devon was few, and the people I felt I had any interests in common with were even fewer. I really liked my work colleagues, but I longed for the creative community I had come to feel a part of in Devon. I missed regularly meeting up with peers and friends who were actively engaging with cultural pursuits and being around people making things happen in the place I lived.

After a period of filling my evenings with coasting supermarket aisles, internet dating and attempts to start running, I realised that I needed to fill this gap in my life. And if I couldn’t find where all the creative types and innovators were hanging out, maybe I’d have to do a call-out!

I set up a Meetup group called Creative & Digital Professionals (Bournemouth & Poole). Meetup is a website and app which helps facilitate meeting “people in your local community who share your interests”. I’d hoped to meet just a handful of people to make living back in the area a little bit more bearable. It turned out that lots of other people were also looking for a similar thing – 15 people came to the first get-together and less than a year later there are now 350+ members. Small numbers of us, usually 15-20 new and familiar faces, come together a few times a month to swap mixtapes and go to local arts events. There’s a whole range of people who come, of all ages, from web developers, DJs and visual artists through to teachers, foreign language students and people who work in banking. When we’re out and about we tend to pick up new members too, as I’ll talk to anyone and the whole group is so approachable.

Remembering how intimidated I used to find walking into an arts venue, I try to make sure we gather for every meetup as a group first, sometimes in the venue bar itself, sometimes in a pub nearby. I feel really happy every time someone tells me that it’s the first time they’ve visited a venue or experienced anything like what we’ve gone to see. I love having conversations with people about work that they have only decided to give a go because the group would be there too. And of course it’s great to find other people who actively attend arts events already and who, like me, appreciate the experience of meeting others in the process.

One of our outings was to see Tortoise in a Nutshell’s Feral in Poole, produced by Fuel at Lighthouse. I think there was a group of about 15 of us in the end. I set it as a meetup as I hoped that the interdisciplinary nature of the show, fusing puppetry and live animation, would appeal to a wide range of people in the group. The artists had also involved local people in the research and development, and the show was to be set around the town we’re familiar with, which I suspected would make people curious about the end result. I circulated Fuel’s open call for short films to be shown before the main feature too and the film-makers in the group really got involved. Remaining as a unit, most of us stayed for the post-show conversation with Maddy Costa.

During that conversation, I said that one of the things that struck me about Feral was that a small number of the citizens in the parallel Poole presented to us, when faced with the destruction of their neighbourhood, took action. They wrote letters to the council, they protested, they cared. There was something very powerful about seeing the life of a town sped-up, witnessing the decay and potential for some salvation that can feel near invisible when lived out in real time. Having characters reflected back at us, who looked around at what was happening to their fracturing community and felt compelled to act, felt like a reminder that that is something we can all do – a call to arms, if you like, for active citizenship. It felt apt to watch Feral in the company of a hotchpotch group of people who now assemble: a group that’s been a personal reminder that if you feel something is missing, you can always ask if other people feel the same and make something new together.

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Being local, being chatty, being excellent

by Maddy Costa

For the final planned post in this small run of pieces about relationships between theatre (buildings) and audiences, I want to take a moment to look back on some writing on the theme that’s been published elsewhere. Ever since Stella Duffy posted it on the Fun Palaces blog at the start of June, I’ve been thinking about her call to redefine “excellence” in the arts. She questions the idea that art is “excellent” in and of itself: for one thing, by whose taste is this innate quality being judged? You only have to look at the UK’s pool of theatre critics – which has begun changing in terms of age, but is still mostly white and middle-class – to see in microcosm a problem of homogeneity among the decision-makers, money-handlers, praise-givers and gate-keepers of art. Turning her attention to audiences, Duffy asks if art can really be deemed excellent, if large numbers of people feel intimidated by it, feel that it’s not inviting them or that they have no connection with it. Rejecting elitism, she calls for a new consideration of excellence: of participation and engagement, not just for a few people, but for many.

On the Guardian blog later in June, Lyn Gardner argued for a similar change in the value system: from theatre as a product presented to communities to theatre as a social activity that all sorts of people come together to make. Reporting from the Devoted & Disgruntled/In Battalions open discussion on how theatre might better liaise with a Tory government, Gardner pointed out that the key to increased support for arts funding lies in conversation with the general public – “including those many millions who think the arts is not for them”. More theatres should have participation programmes like that at the Young Vic in London, so beautifully described by Lily Einhorn in her guest post which began this series; and those that do have them should get better about making their activities public.

Also on the Guardian blog, at the beginning of July, Sarah Brigham detailed the many ways in which artist development and audience development at Derby Theatre, where she is artistic director, aren’t separate activities but interrelated. Both are fed by a focus on the local community: giving opportunities including “residencies, scratch nights, masterclasses and business support” to emergent artists and companies, which in turn encourages them to pay attention to the main-house programme that might previously have seemed irrelevant to them. There’s a lot in this thinking that aligns with the approach of Annabel Turpin at ARC in Stockton, discussed in the interview with her earlier this week.

Returning to the beginning of June, I was very struck by extracts from a speech delivered by Sarah Frankcom, artistic director of the Royal Exchange, Manchester, at a Sleepover event at her theatre designed to inspire new conversations between the building and its audiences. Frankcom already has a number of informal chats with different audience members, but said: “As lovely and affecting as these encounters are, they are random and hidden and really just a collection of anecdotes. I am hungry for a more grown-up dialogue, a space where I can understand more about what you think theatre is about and what this building in the heart of Manchester is for.” In his review of the Sleepover, critic Andrew Haydon (who has recently moved to Manchester) noted with admiration: “There was something particularly special about the relationship that the Royal Exchange seemed to have with its audience and the care and respect with which it treated them.” Clearly, Frankcom is already doing something right. And I know I’m biased, but I’m really heartened by the inclusion, in the theatre’s upcoming Flare festival programme, of “Talk Back” events: discussion sessions in which artists and audiences gather to talk about the previous night’s performance. They sound just like the theatre clubs I host. As far as I can tell, Talk Back isn’t integral to the Royal Exchange programme yet – but if Frankcom wants more “grown-up dialogue” to happen at her theatre, that seems to me as good a way to have it as any.

I began by saying this was the final planned post in this series: actually, I’d love to carry it on – if only I knew who with. As Lily Einhorn pointed out on twitter earlier this week, work like hers at the Young Vic is “probably going on in pockets across the UK. It all tends to be so secret.” I’d like to find ways to make it less hidden: so if you’re at a venue and focused on community collaboration and conversation, please get in touch with me via maddy[at]welcometodialogue[dot]com. Thanks!

ARC and the art of audience development: two interviews with Annabel Turpin

by Maddy Costa

When I think of the people I’ve met through NTiYN who’ve most inspired me and transformed how I think about relationships between people who make, watch and write about theatre, Annabel Turpin always comes top of the list. Which is difficult, because she’s also the person who’s had the most troubled relationship with NTiYN, resulting in her making the decision last month to withdraw from the research project. (Clarification: Annabel had talked to Fuel previously about withdrawing from the project; by the time the decision was made for ARC to leave, the decision was mutual and Fuel had reassigned that portion of funding to other NTiYN venues.) Annabel is the chief executive of ARC in Stockton-on-Tees, a multi-purpose arts centre that seemed a perfect partner for NTiYN, because of the low attendance for its theatre programme. And yet the venue and the research project have consistently been in friction, and as NTiYN moves into its final phase, it feels important to address why that is, and what this model of audience development might learn from ARC.

What follows draws on two interviews with Annabel, one in March 2014, a little over a year into the research project, the second in May 2015. Unless it’s relevant, I’ll dart between the two without specifying the date: some big shifts did happen at ARC over that 14 months – not least the introduction of the Pay What You Decide ticketing system for all theatre and dance shows – but Annabel’s frustration with NTiYN remained consistent.

The primary problem for Annabel was the local engagement specialist model, whereby a local artist or arts enthusiast is employed to meet community groups and other local people and talk to them about an upcoming show. This is the part of NTiYN that has been most successful elsewhere, and to Annabel that makes sense: “I think it’s really right for venues that aren’t doing that. But it felt to us that the local engagement specialist was doing what we would be doing anyway. She kept wanting to talk to people that we were already talking to, and I don’t think she had networks that we didn’t already have.” The LES’s focus on Fuel shows also disrupted rather than complemented ARC’s longer-term strategies. “You can’t just burst in and tell people about a show happening next week: it’s an ongoing dialogue, and we have to think carefully about all the messages we’re sending them. So the local engagement specialist was getting in the way.”

Not only that, but for a venue dedicated to “connecting incoming artists with local people”, Annabel often felt that Fuel themselves were getting in the way: “We’re dealing with Fuel, who are dealing with the artists. We’re having to liaise with a third party, so everything takes longer.” When we speak in May 2015, she points to specific examples of problems related to The Spalding Suite, and the programme of workshops connected to it, that arose through faulty communication between venue and producers. She’s particularly exasperated that the workshops weren’t as effective as they might have been – while aware that, without the additional resources of NTiYN, ARC wouldn’t have been able to afford workshops around that production at all.

Asked for useful outcomes of the connection with NTiYN, Annabel returns to the day, just as the project was beginning, when Fuel as a team came to Stockton, to meet local people and talk about why they wanted to present work there. “That felt really positive, and probably the best bit of the project so far,” she said in 2014. Similarly, she was very happy with the opportunity NTiYN created, through Fuel’s production Phenomenal People, for local artist Kathryn Beaumont to spend time with groups of women from the former mining communities of County Durham – people the venue had long been trying to forge a relationship with. “We were particularly interested in targeting that area: it hasn’t resulted in audiences and probably never would, but some lovely artistic work came out of it, and useful learning for Kathryn in engaging with remote communities.”

It’s this dedication not to ticket sales but engagement and interaction that make me so admire Annabel and her approach to audience relationships. At its most idealistic (which is the place I sit), NTiYN isn’t just an exercise in shifting tickets either: it’s an attempt to build meaningful connections between Fuel and the communities they sporadically visit. Annabel isn’t arrogant about ARC’s mismatch with NTiYN: “I don’t want to say we’re doing it all already, because no one can ever be doing enough and no one can ever be doing it well enough, and we were as keen to learn as anyone.” But the fact that she feels “we haven’t learned from NTiYN” makes me want to communicate exactly what ARC is doing, and the methods it has in place from which Fuel, and others, might learn. For the sake of concision, I’ll list them:

1: “Our whole thing is about trying to find opportunities for audiences to meet artists.”

“By meet, I don’t necessarily mean in person,” she clarifies. “Meet, encounter, interact with artists, before the point where we say: now commit your time to sitting in a dark room watching them.” That encounter might be with a letter written by Andy Field to the people of Stockton, beautifully printed and strung like lanterns on a washing line in ARC’s foyer; it might be Tangled Feet visiting the head of communications at North Tees hospital, who then introduced them to other NHS staff; it could be an interview with an artist conducted via Skype and screened in ARC’s cinema. Quite often it’s ad-hoc performances in the town centre, the library or a school canteen, and artists being ushered over to the pub next door to take part in the open-mic night. “We send them in there to make friends, to talk to people,” says Annabel. “That’s our method of marketing, is to talk to people – and artists can do it much better than we can.”

This meeting of artists and audiences performs two prime functions. It humanises the people behind the work, creating a sense of connection. “We’re still working on this, but I’m really keen that we get images of artists in Stockton, in places people are familiar,” Annabel said in 2014. “Familiarity is a word we use a lot when we talk about bringing artists and audiences together: it’s about their not being complete strangers.”

It also creates familiarity with different concepts of theatre: all the stuff that ARC programmes that isn’t what Annabel describes as a “straight play”. “We’re really recognising that we’re asking people to come and see or get involved in work and they don’t know what it looks like,” she said in 2014. Hence the pop-up performances across town, living breathing trailers that put something of the work on show. “It’s about confidence,” Annabel says. “The main reason people in Stockton don’t go to the theatre is they’re not confident to come. It’s about people feeling confident about saying: I know what that person looks like, I know what that’s about.”

2: “Our audience development needs to happen alongside the artist development.”

Since many of those meetings rely on artists being resident in the building, ARC increasingly avoids booking finished touring work, preferring to be involved at the development stage, better still in the commissioning process. “That’s not about telling artists what to do or make. It’s about making artists more audience-focused.” Partly that’s achieved by inviting artists to conduct research in the local community, as in Tangled Feet’s interactions with NHS staff: although Annabel is concerned that this “transaction” should be one of “value exchange”. “Whether those people see the show or not, they should feel that someone cares about their story, and should feel like they’ve had an experience. It’s reciprocal.”

A key audience group Annabel is keen to develop consists of other, local, artists. By getting incoming artists to run “professional development workshops” as part of ARCADE, the venue’s programme for emergent writers and makers, she ensures that the two kinds of development happen symbiotically.

3: “We’re trying to make all staff local engagement specialists.”

For every show that goes on sale, Annabel sits down not only with her programme communicator and marketing people but box office staff and anyone else from the organisation who is keen, and discusses: “who we think might be interested in it, who we’re going to talk to, and who is best placed to have that conversation”. It’s the same work assigned by Fuel to the local engagement specialist – but at ARC, all venue staff are invited to be involved.

Also, when an artist or company arrive at ARC for a week of development work, Annabel sits all staff down with them at the beginning of the week, for a conversation. “I ask the artist about their work, and what they’re trying to do, so all the staff understand and feel empowered to have a conversation with them.” Before those welcomes were introduced, very few of the staff would speak to the artists. “Now the whole organisation understands what artists do, and with that comes a confidence in how to talk about the work.”

Annabel wants her staff to be confident not just in talking, but “listening to our audiences”. “I’m not saying you should trap every audience member after the show and have a conversation with them. But it’s amazing what people say if you ask them. And people feeling like their viewpoint and their interpretation is valid means they’ll come back.”

4: “The vocabulary we use is not just about words.”

Glossy flyers are such a staple of theatre marketing that it’s hard to imagine a production surviving without them. Yet Annabel wonders what kind of messages they’re communicating about theatre. “This is going to sound very patronising, but it’s a little bit like: are you buying from Waitrose or Aldi? If you’re buying from Aldi, there’s no point sending you something that’s packaged like Waitrose, because that will send out a signal that it’s too expensive for you. This isn’t about dumbing down: it’s about being sympathetic to what people might have been exposed to culturally. It’s about the images, the font, the material, the whole way we sell it. You can’t be snobby about that.

“We’ve pulled away from printing lots of high-glass expensive flyers – we love them, but it sends the wrong message. I want people to have the opportunity to choose, and I’m not giving you that opportunity if you’re looking at a flyer and thinking ‘That’ll be too expensive’ or ‘I won’t understand it’. Not having the opportunity to decide: that’s what we’re battling with.”

5: “Pay What You Decide.”

The most radical decision Annabel has taken to give people that “opportunity to decide” has been to make all theatre and dance performances at ARC pay what you decide, “taking the risk out” of coming to see a show. She’s cagey about results, but will say that early signs suggest a tangible positive effect in earnings and audience numbers. “It’s not the be all and end all: we still need to show people what work looks like, and invite them to come. But Pay What You Decide is a really lovely way of inviting people.” (NEWS FLASH! Annabel has now written a brilliant piece for the Guardian blog detailing how successful PWYD has been.)

With so many mechanisms in place to attract people into the building, I wonder how Annabel rationalises the fact that audiences for ARC’s theatre programme, although growing, are still quite small. Her answer is simple: to value quality of experience over quantity of people. “Is someone going to go home and the show be a fleeting memory, or are they going to be thinking about the things posed in the show, and telling other people about it? Making memories is really important. I don’t want to see bus-loads of kids shipped in and out and not remember what they see. And when someone sees things on stage that they can connect with, that resonate with you and reflect your world in the broadest sense, that’s fantastic.”

Is there anything she feels ARC isn’t doing yet, or still isn’t getting right? “I don’t think we’re capturing enough evidence and shouting about it,” she says. This isn’t just a matter of raising ARC’s profile: it means other theatres don’t have the opportunity to learn from their successes and failures. She points to the work done by director Javaad Alipoor in advance of a touring show called My Brother’s Country, programmed at ARC in February 2015. “Javaad did the most amazing audience development work: he came twice in advance, went out and made friends, if he saw signs in Farsi he’d go in for a chat, he found an Iranian group who meet in a church and got invited to one of their house parties. The show was about Islam and homosexuality, which is quite a hard sell, and we had 80 people over two nights. Javaad really went out there and talked to people, and that’s why the show was successful.”

Ever since, Annabel has been planning to write a case study to share with other artists ARC works with, but she just hasn’t found the time. “So that’s what we want to do more of: analysing what really works and trying to capture it.” And until she gets around to it, I’m perfectly happy to do it for her.

An invitation into another world

A quick introduction from Maddy Costa: Over the course of this week, I’m going to be running a selection of pieces on this blog thinking about relationships between theatre (particularly buildings) and audiences, trying to build up a picture of some best, or at least brilliant, practice. The first is a guest post by Lily Einhorn, who manages the Two Boroughs project at the Young Vic in London and also works freelance as a creative practitioner and evaluator. Lily’s one of the people I admire most in this industry, for a lot of reasons, but particularly for coming up with the idea for Theatre Club, the informal post-show discussions that work like book groups, which I’ve also been hosting as part of NTiYN. Her work is focused on creating a sense of community within and around the Young Vic: here’s how and why she does it.

by Lily Einhorn

I work in a theatre. Each day I arrive at the entrance, walk through the doors and into the foyer. I have a quick chat with the welcome team sitting behind the box office counter, get my red fob out of my bag and tap myself through the door marked ‘backstage’. I belong there.

This sense of belonging carries me through into other theatres. When I visit them I know how they work. I know which areas are public and which aren’t. I know when the bars are just for the audience. I know when they aren’t. Theatres are familiar to me. They smell a certain way. They have certain people busying through in show blacks. I know I can ignore the first call to sit in my seat if I want to linger. I know I need to put my drink in a plastic cup if I want to take it into the auditorium.

Recently I was given some tickets to the ROH and suddenly I found myself in unfamiliar territory. Where I didn’t know. I didn’t know I had to show my ticket to a security guard who would look at me askance as I entered. I didn’t know my husband – a theatre director – would be the only man not in a suit. I didn’t know when I was allowed to clap. I didn’t know I wouldn’t see a single black person in the audience. Knowledge is power. I do know that. And I felt its absence. The creeping embarrassment of making an accidental faux pas. My own middle class, white, educated to MA level otherness. And all I could wonder was what my participants at the Young Vic would make of this beautiful, bewildering place with its money and its hats and its ‘bravos’.

At the Young Vic I work in the Taking Part department where we have three strands of work: Schools and Colleges, Participation (young people) and Two Boroughs. With my colleague, Kirsten Adam, I run this last strand, working with individuals and community groups from across our two home boroughs, our office sitting on either side of the dividing line. We run week-long workshops and evening workshops, sessions on stage on our sets to explore the jobs and cogs backstage, Theatre Club, tours of the building, and large scale community shows working with dedicated community groups with professional creative and production teams. But the basis for all this work, all this making, is watching. We are privileged in Taking Part to give away 10% of the Young Vic’s tickets to the local community. For free. Thousands of tickets per year. To sold out shows, to A View from the Bridge with its returns queue that snaked around the building from the wee small hours, to A Streetcar Named Desire with its alien-investigating star. Such is the commitment to our participants from the theatre that we book in our tickets before the shows go on sale. We cannot invite anyone into our theatre if we are not asking them to watch the shows. We can’t ask people to take a risk on something if they have to pay for it. And we cannot collaborate on a show if no one has ever seen one.

The tickets are the basis for everything we do. Of course they are. They are an invitation into another world, another time, another story. For us the ticket is the start of a relationship. We do not just leave them at box office: we are there, handing them out, welcoming our neighbours in, smiling and hugging and shaking hands and laughing and sometimes fretting over time-keeping. I have heard time and time again that people do not value something if it is free. To my mind this is as redundant an argument as product versus process. Friendship is free. Laughter and time are free. And no one argues with that. The value in the ticket is defined by the manner in which it is given: the value is in the invitation. In the care we take to remind people to come, to call people without email, to make sure everyone’s access requirements are met. In remembering, whenever we can, people’s names. And in making sure that our participants have that powerful knowledge that makes them feel at ease, at home. In reassuring against a dress code. In inviting community groups together, in pointing out where the toilets are and telling them if there’s no interval and they might need to pee first. The important stuff.

Because these members of our audience are important. Not just because it is right that they are there. Morally, politically, right that everyone should have equal access to the arts, but because they enrich the building and the work itself. Theatre can’t exist in a vacuum, without an audience: this is a simple fact about the art form. But if that audience are all the same age, ethnicity, socio-economic status, have the same career path or experiences, the auditorium is less vibrant, the show is less dynamic, the conversation between the seats and the stage is less unpredictable. And we all lose as a result.

Sometimes the relationship starts the other way around. Making first. If we are working on a community show and decide to engage particular community groups we often end up working with people who have had no experience of the arts at all. They come, speculatively, to outreach workshops and gradually involve themselves in the project. When we work like this we tend to take the sessions out to them, to their spaces, before bringing them into the theatre towards the end for rehearsals and tech sessions. By the time they walk through into our foyer they know us and they know why they are here. After the project has finished they often return to become regular theatre-goers. Rather than feeling like the paying customers’ poor second cousins, our participants have a unique sense of ownership over the building. They’ve been backstage, they’ve sat in the greenroom. It is their theatre.

But more than that, they have a sense of what theatre can do, how powerful it can be, and what effect involvement in it can have on their lives. Recently I finished working with an extraordinary group of female carers. We made a show in response to our main house show Happy Days – one woman unable to escape – and looked at what escape might mean to these women, what freedom was, how movement and dance expressed the unexpressed. The show, Turning a Little Further, had a professional production and creative team including director Laura Keefe, movement director Coral Messam and lyricist Francesca Beard. It was designed by Fly Davis. And it was joyful. Tearfully, painfully, breathlessly, heartbreakingly joyful. Not just the sessions – with the laughter and the stories and the biscuits – but the fact it was theatre. That we made a piece of communicative art together. That we strove to make the art as full of craft and skill and expertise as any other piece of art in the building. One of the carers said afterwards, ‘You came crashing into our lives for five months and you showed us all that we are real, our lives are real.’

Putting their voices on stage, filling the space with their bodies, changed the space of the theatre. It will forever be a space where those stories were told, where an unpaid female carer stood on a stage and proclaimed, ‘I shouted so loudly I lost my voice. I’m still learning to speak again.’ It will forever be a place that put ‘real’ women on to the stage and in re-creating their thoughts and feelings, validated them. Made them more real.

That is what theatre can do, if it is allowed. Our Two Boroughs project allows it to happen. Again and again, with people from drug and alcohol rehabilitation programmes, with sex workers, with elders. And it gives people a sense of belonging to a wider theatrical community that flourishes because it is so diverse. No one should walk into any theatre not knowing. We try to make sure that our participants know that.