Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Get in touch

Over on Facebook, there has been a suggestion that an online publication would help 'underground theatre companies'. I am always delighted when more critical debate about theatre is promoted, and would be excited to see another outlet for emerging writers.

However, it has also reminded me of a personal frustration. I have been writing this blog for a few years, doing a radio show, been the theatre editor of The Skinny and made a conscious effort to support theatre-makers who are not on the radar of Creative Scotland or the mainstream media. 

Go back far enough, and I can find the first reviews of many artists who have gone onto greater things either in this blog, on my radio show or in The Skinny blog (I like to boast that I was the first person to play Golden Teacher on the radio, but that was thanks to Fielding Hope, not my talent-spotting skills).

However, I am disappointed that I am still having to chase performers across twitter and Facebook to get information about their shows. Without naming names, I have come across several events that could have been promoted on my blog - or even listed in the listings of The List (which has a function allowing creators to make their own entries). Yet I found out about them too late. 

While I think Anthony Sammeroff's idea for a new publication is exciting, there is no reason why 'underground companies' can't make their presence felt in the existing media - with a bit of effort. Asking someone to send off a press release isn't impossible. It may feel like an extra job for a small team, but it has the following advantages...

The mainstream media does not need to come to you. There are plenty of things streaming into their inboxes without them having to chase after a solo show running for one night in a basement. However, if enough press releases turn up, it starts to look like a thing.

A preview, or review, or anything, can help a company move from 'underground' to mainstream. It can be quoted on posters, put in funding applications. Personally, that isn't why I am a critic, but I know this helps.

A good critique is like free dramaturgy.

I shall invite anyone who is doing something to come and chat on my radio show. 

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