It's been quite a week. Once again, words are not enough. How can we respond in a meaningful way to the horror of last Thursday in Birtwhistle? Actions, not words, are how. We have an opportunity on this day, July 23rd 2016, to act, affect change and ensure that our sceptre isle remains outward looking and progressive. We are citizens of the world and despite race, creed and culture we share the story of what it is to be a human being.
Shared stories have been the focus of the past few days. In our webinar, the wonderful Richard Gough of the Centre of Performance Research spoke passionately about the anthropology of theatre and the need to weave our tales together so that they shine lights that illuminate both similarities and individuality. Speaking at the British Library, Peter Brook dared us to keep on dreaming and nourish our imaginations, while Francis De la Tour ran out of words when describing the waterfall of ideas that came to her when given the freedom to play in rehearsal. Richard also reminded me that, without the ability to shoulder uncertainty, curiosity and imagination would not flourish.
In this week of debate there is much discussion of shared stories. The theatre of politics is centre stage. I'm not convinced that those performing in the EU show really, truly understand the value of play, story, nourishing imagination and curiosity. If they did, I'm sure the arts in education wouldn't be quite as marginalised as they are. And they are.
Yesterday, at the Lyric Hammersmith, Dawn Walton of Eclipse Theatre spoke boldly and beautifully about the 500 years of Black British history that is mostly hidden from view. Why? Why do we prevent people from having a voice? Kristina Langdon Smith and Sudha Bhuchar founded Tamasha Theatre company to enable those seldom heard to be able to shout from the rafters. Why have we displaced so many communities within our own country? Jenny Sealey of Graeae Theatre Company silenced the room with her passion for a stage that welcomes and accepts difference. We need to listen to these voices. We need to create opportunities for them to be heard.
Theatre makers and playwrights endeavour to reflect the world, often viewing it through the prism of some small detail. The glorious and notorious Sam Shepard is a master at this when he reflects our ugliness back at us in the domesticity of his work. This week we publish an extended insight into his collection of plays known as the Family Trilogy. They depict small human concerns that express the big stuff we should take heed of.
Let's hope this next act of our play contains wisdom and wellbeing for all.