No truer words have been spoken. Reflecting on the last 18 months brings up so many emotions for me. Whilst the overriding feeling is one of resentment for all those missed opportunities, I must must also remind myself of the positives that I can take away. Empty roads meant no traffic on the way to work and having absolutely no social life gave me the funds to furnish my new home. The country literally clapped for my profession and I ate out at half price for a whole month, thanks Rishi! I have certainly gained a new and profound appreciation of the smaller things in life. A coffee with a friend, a dinner party INDOORS, and you guessed it, sitting in a theatre. The one thing that I will never forget though is the sense of community we found during the pandemic. Neighbours, friends and family rallied together to remain positive, lend a hand and overcome these difficult times together. The theatre community is a perfect example. Broadcasts of archives, zoom classes and online workshops have all helped us stay upbeat at difficult moments, even when it felt that the government had left us behind. The Theatre Support Fund was created for this very reason by the amazing Chris Marcus and Damien Stanton. Not only have they raised over 1 million Great British Pounds for 3 incredible charities, but they’ve assembled an incredible team of creatives who have spread the theatre joy with their Show Must Go On campaign. They’ve given us merchandise, unmissable youtube videos (if you’ve not seen Mazz Murray’s, get over there right now) and an incredible 5 day concert at London’s Palace Theatre.
Way back in late 2020 I was lucky enough to purchase 2 highly sought after tickets to this concert and after being rescheduled multiple times, we finally made it to the Palace Theatre on Sunday 6th June. This particular performance was broadcast live to thousands of people across the world and it felt unbelievably special to be right there in the midst of it. The night was a spectacular celebration of West End Theatre and showcased 16 of our current London shows with an exuberant Graduate Choir and a stunning Orchestra led by Stuart Morley. The theatre was abuzz with excitement and I can’t even begin to explain what a joy it was to see so much variety and talent on that stage. It made me so incredibly excited for whats to come and left me wanting to book tickets immediately to every show appearing in the next few months. Every single person that stepped on that stage; the veterans to the debuts, filled that vast space to the brim with an abundance of talent and the roars from the limited capacity audience definitely raised the roof. I cannot wait to see our theatres lit up once again. In the brilliant opening number, specially written for the occasion by the brilliant Stiles and Drewe, the words “We don’t mind a lengthy interval, but this one takes the piss!” were particularly pertinent.
I spent about 3 hours in the Palace Theatre that night and I didn’t think about anything else in the world. It reminded me of the beauty and the power of theatre. I somehow think I’d forgotten. Nothing else makes me switch off from the world quite like theatre does. Theatre has the profound ability to literally transport you to another place. You leave your worries at the door and for 3 hours you escape. The incredible creatives on stage and off are so talented, so captivating, that nothing else matters. I felt like I was walking on cloud 9 when I left that theatre, bouncing down Shaftesbury Avenue with a new spring in my step. I felt lighter, I felt jubilant, I felt so bloody excited for whats to come. Theatre is back and I could not be happier.
And with it, after a much longer than expected hiatus, Theatress.
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