I was delighted to co-produce my second Stories of the Streets event for TEAM at the Angel Hotel on 28th January 2016. Here's five of the lessons that I personally learned during the process in no particular order.
1. NEW WRITING IS NOT DEAD - Over 100 people attended the event on a wet Thursday in January to see five new short plays by emerging (and in some cases totally new) playwrights. It was brilliant to see how audiences responded to the different worlds presented to them in our quick fire format and this reminded me that story and narrative are truly king. A good story and engaging characters will trump an innovate staging but a bit of 'razzle dazzle' at a Scratch night (thank you to our director Catherine!) doesn't half help...
2. TIME FLIES WHEN YOU'RE HAVING FUN - With only two hours to rehearse each piece we were under serious pressure. Again huge thanks must go Catherine, the director and also Emily the stage manager who kept us on schedule as much as possible whilst creating a comfortable atmosphere in which people felt free to try things out. The actors of course were marvellous and adaptable, constantly changing they way they worked. It is truly amazing that so much can be achieved in such a short amount of time.
3. TEA (AND COFFEE) KEEP YOUR PRODUCTION ON TRACK - Always have a steady supply of hot beverages in the rehearsal room, they oil the wheels of production (along with biscuits and chocolate of course but I'm keep quiet about those.) Seriously though, giving actors sufficient break, especially when moving between scripts, roles and sometimes whole different worlds requires sustenance.
4. THE BUDGET WILL WORK OUT (JUST!) - Sometimes this can seem like the world's most impossible task. How an earth will it stretch but somehow by calling in favours, promising to do good turns for others or simply being upfront with people, in general you can often secure what you need even on the tightest of budgets.
5. ACCESSIBLE PERFORMANCES ARE EASIER THAN YOU THINK - Making an accessible piece might seem like the world's biggest challenge but in actual fact it just takes a bit of organisation and forethought. OK so for this Stories of the Streets we went a bit mad and made it a key element of the evening which proved itself to be a very exciting experiment, but you don't have to; captioning, for example just requires a projector and slides. It can be as simple and cost effective as you want it to be but it does give you a USP and opens your event up to a whole new audience who otherwise might not have access
I really enjoyed creating the event and can't wait (fingers crossed!) to do more!