In the middle of 2014 we said pretty loudly that we'd make sure we offered paid placements on all our future projects. We had big conversation on The Guardian. It was a good conversation for us to have and helped us shape some understanding of value, and to what extent we can contribute to a value.
At the end of 2014 we ran our Christmas Carol again, this time in Manchester and York. In Christmas Carol the audience have a big, two course banquet together. It's glorious to watch 40 people sit down for dinner with each other, break bread with strangers, make new and fleeting friends. At the end of the night there is always food left. So, this year, we took it round to anyone who was sleeping rough for the night. The brilliant, polite folks who who try to make themselves warm in a doorway on New Year's Eve.
By posting something in The Guardian blog we kind of said something loudly. And it's not something we want to go back on. Saying it loudly helps it be more real. Just because Christmas Carol is over, we don't want to stop trying to have a small, positive impact on some people's day. I'm not, by any means, saying we're some sort of angels for dishing out some food - far from it. But I like the idea that a theatre show benefitted someone who had nothing to do witht that show, and nothing to do with theatre. I like that when and audience member buys a ticket, then can be giving back beyond the fiction of that performance.
I'm not saying we'll keep making shows with left over food. We might try to do it more, though. And we'll try to find a way where each show gives back beyond its own interests. Because theatre's a social thing - we should look outwards more. Maybe we'll try and open a bar and do free dinners on a Monday before a show. Maybe one day a week, instead of rehearsing, we'll go volunteering. I don't know what the answer is. It'll be different for every show, I guess.
And we'll be making three shows this year.
ROMEO & JULIET
FABLE: or a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam
A DOLL'S HOUSE
ROMEO & JULIET
Produced in association with York Theatre Royal and as part of the York International Shakespeare Festival, performed in the beautiful surroundings of St Olave's Church. Expect music, candles, dancing. This is the first time we will have worked with an existing text - a story full of heart and soul and passion - and we can't wait to get our hands dirty in poetry, parties and falling head over heels in love.
Tickets are already on sale here - http://www.yorktheatreroyal.co.uk/event/Romeo_And_Juliet.php#.VKr4Zn8gGSM
FABLE: or a mote of dust suspended on a sunbeam
Julia has just burst in to a million pieces, her atoms have unstitched themselves and, right now, every moment and memory of her is floating out in to the infinite universe.
Blair is stood in a forest, a pint of Guinness in one hand and a glass of wine in the other, staring through the trees and up in to the stars.
A show about freedom, about the immortal and the infinite.
Our first new show at the Ediburgh Fringe in some time. Details tba.
A DOLL'S HOUSE
Made with our good friends Common Ground Ensemble.
Parsed back to its bare bones, your are invited to dinner at Torvald and Nora's. Part pot luck dinner and part heart wrenching social tragedy, we remake Ibsen's classic, unstoppable tale in to an intimate encounter to be performed in people's homes. Over dinner, cheese and wine, two people's lives will be torn apart, with you sat shoulder to shoulder around the table.
We'll make this in the Autumn with details tba.
So that's the work. The plan. The kind of bones off which we want to try and hang everything else.
Thanks to everyone who was apart of our 2014 - we made a lot of work and learnt a lot along the way. We hope 2015 is louder with more open arms. I often say that we're up for a chat. We are. That's very true. Nothing should cook up in isolation. We will make lots of room to chat, but if there's not enough room then by all means barge the hell in.
2015 could be hard. Our country could go down the pan, or come up smelling of roses. But we should stand side by side through the wind and the rain and keep a weather eye searching for the sun. We'll get nowhere just standing still and wishing.
No one gets anywhere in silence. So we best make some noise.