All theatres are closed, and some are so starved of funds that they’ll remain boarded-up for a long time due to restrictions on gathering and social distancing measures.
Actress Carrie Hope Fletcher said on an Instagram post: “We’re meant to be in theatres. That’s where we all belong and we all feel so lost right now”.
“Our livelihoods, jobs, careers and the things we love to do more than anything might be restored very soon. A thing that isn’t a hobby, that isn’t unviable or unskilled. A thing that is actually pretty important all things considered to our country’s economy, to all of us onstage and backstage but also to you, the audience.”
But if there’s one thing the entertainment industry knows best, it’s that the show must go on; and that’s exactly what’s happened. During the summer, we were treated to free YouTube performances from the National Theatre Live, from Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, from hundreds of small theatrical companies. Now, in October, we got access to a selection of new Live Theatre's plays.
With the project 10 Minutes To: Call Home, featuring multiple ten minute plays, script writers are having to adapt to the new digital format after the performances were pushed from May, and which date of release is yet to be confirmed.
Streaming on their website right now, as well as on their YouTube channel, are seven prime examples of contemporary writing talent. It’s a diverse mix; Exeunt Magazine described the selection as “in turns funny, moving, thoughtful and hard hitting,” an “eclectic but entertaining” series of plays.
From a touching tale of one man's attempts to garden his old house, to a shocking séance gone horribly wrong, these monologues, plays, and staged radio-plays keep you on your toes at all times.
Two more plays are set for release in November, with the titles: Watching and Waiting, and You can’t start a revolution sitting on your arse.
Most theatres are settling into the fact that live audiences are not going to be assembling again for a good while, and Live Theatre has committed to staging plays digitally until next March. Unlike other companies, the National Theatre Live’s YouTube releases this year have all been recordings of classic or older plays. These include Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Shows Must Go On series, which were all re-runs of well-known musicals.
Webber described the theatres’ situation as a “point of no return” for the arts and stating it is“impossible” to reopen with social distancing measures.
Meanwhile, Newcastle’s Live Theatre collection, however, features only scripts written this year. Some of these scripts were done by first time writers which have never been staged, with a large part of the cast being young people.
Newcastle’s Live Theatre calls this project a “cracking boxset of theatrical drama” as the project shoots the start gun for their other digital plans set to come in the following months.
Feature Image: Live Theatre Newcastle