As the new academic year pick up pace, we find ourselves tentitively adjusting to something of a return to a more conventional office life. Albeit one in which venturing out in public my still result in failure to recognise someone you’ve known for years on account of only being able to see half of their face! Nevertheless, it is encouraging that we are able to look forward to some work taking place in ‘real life’ settings rather than in the ether. (more…)
For a few months now the summer sun – punctuated with episodes of deluging rain – has provided the backdrop for the continued gradual reopening of our social, sporting and cultural venues. In turn, these developments have presented us with the opportunity to begin returning to social and spaces as audience members, engaging with events in closer proximity with others than has been possible for quite a while.
Navigating the return to a state of near normality has been – and for some continues to be –challenging. If the preceding months have taught us anything, it has perhaps been to ‘expect the unexpected’. Yet, it is also clear that festivals and events of all stripes do not thrive on uncertainty. (more…)
Football is Nothing Without Fans – Matt Busby
Bellshill’s finest football thinker, Matt Busby, predicted the uncanny experience of people watching cultural and sporting events take place in empty spaces during the Covid-19 pandemic.
I’m currently writing a book about theatre in-the-round for Methuen Drama (Bloomsbury) and the pandemic has caused me to re-think my introduction to this monograph entirely. My view is that the recent ‘presence of absence’ of the spectator in live streams from stadia and performance spaces has re-emphasised the value, and therefore the influence of audiences on cultural and sporting organisations. (more…)
On September 1939, at the start of the start of World War II, the government ordered the closure of all theatres throughout Britain, fearing that large congregations of people would be susceptible to aerial bombardment. It was quickly realised that theatres were vital to the morale and wellbeing of the general public and The Gaiety Theatre, Ayr was the first in Britain to open its doors providing welcome entertainment to the public and troops stationed locally. (more…)