There may be trouble ahead…

…but there’s a chance we will be back in theatres watching plays and dance and live music again soon. I miss being in rehearsal rooms with actors and being with other writers and being in theatre spaces. I miss the process of working with the actors to build a shared vision as the rehearsals progress. In my head I think I know how all the words should be spoken and with what emphasis, tone and pace of delivery. Then there will be a moment when an actor does something completely differently from how I expect and a whole new layer of meaning is revealed to build on. It is like magic.

Of course, it is not all joy. As a writer, I know well that mounting terror as the audience arrives and the performance begins. You just have to accept that you have no control whatsoever over what is about to happen to the words you have written. But the moments when you see the actors raise their acting to another level as they react to being part of a live performance is wonderful. That’s when sitting with the audience becomes a pleasure.

I really miss being in a theatre but also feel concerned about how relaxed it will feel, as we try to negotiate social distancing. Will we ever feel the same in a large crowd of people, or will it take a long time to feel comfortable being physically close to so many strangers? The joy of live performances, whether that is theatre or dance or music, is being at an event in the company of others, feeling the atmosphere and sharing the experience. I hope we will be able to share these experiences again. So there may be trouble ahead, but let’s face the music and dance. Julia Wright

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