I’m here as an artist asking for your support. Last year I received my very first London commission which made me as giddy as a schoolgirl. It was from a Lovely company run by Lovely folk called, Box Of Tricks. The script has been written and the casting wheels put into motion. I will be shouting about this nearer the time with regards to dates, places .etc., but right now I have something important to discuss. As any of you will know the arts took a beating when it came to the cuts from the new government. Seeing as, ‘we’re all in this together‘ I thought I’d ask you for help. This isn’t just for me, it isn’t just for Box Of Tricks, but it’s for the arts in general. Y’see people think that the arts don’t touch them and question why they should even consider thinking about art. Art isn’t just paintings or some shonky expressive dance group – it’s that and much more.
I’m an avid believer that art exists in education more than people realise. Sure we have TIE (Theatre In Education), but we also have science videos which have been crafted and acted and filmed and created for a class, scripts that have been written and printed and cast in schools, c’mon the very act of being a teacher is a form of art. It gives people a voice, something to nurture and gain confidence and skills. We learn to speak through watching others, playing with objects that help us understand colour, feelings, emotions, all the senses.
The visceral act of writing is a performance that everyone learns in primary school. Some could say I’m being overly poetic about it, but think back to when you learnt to write. The act of wielding a pen and drawing these strange hieroglyphics and everyone being so proud of you. Everything does not boil down to an exam paper and a chewed biro. Being creative is not limited to tools such as a paintbrush, crashing two symbols together or cradling Hamlet’s skull. The essence of being creative is crafting a thought, processing it and acting upon it. Everything is creative that we say, do and feel.
(for the first Ken Robinson TED talk click here)
Now of course I’m coming to this particular point as a playwright. But I’m sure that all of you reading this will have attended, say, a music concert at some point in your life. Whether it be to see your favourite band or because your child was picked to play the lead recorder part in the end of year play. Everyone having this opportunity is something that we should cherish and utilise. We shouldn’t sneer at something that we think doesn’t directly refer to us.
I optionally chose to work in a profession where there is very little money, but a tonne of reward. And one of those rewards is getting to see your work performed by professional actors for an audience. For Box Of Tricks to put on their work they rely on fundraising, which is of course something that is common knowledge and I don’t need to explain. For this particular production of Word:Play 4, Box Of Tricks are using the website WeFund to gather donations. What WeFund does is allow you to promote your cause and achieve a target sum. What this entails is the idea that people can pledge their money and it will only be taken off the donator once the end result has been achieved. If the end result isn’t achieved, no one’s money is donated. Box Of Tricks need just £500 in total to create a fantastic show that is promoting 6 new playwrights in one of London’s renowned venues, The Arcola. It’s not a lot of money in comparison to other London productions, but it’s money that unfortunately isn’t there right now.
I’m asking you to pledge whatever you have spare. This could be one pound, two pounds, possibly even five pounds. Anything, anything you can spare. If you’re feeling extra generous there are certain privileges you can garner from the more larger donations (which are detailed on the WeFund Word:Play4 page). I always bang on about collaboration and like I’ve said before, it’s not limited to people within a rehearsal room. To create theatre you have to have an audience, your audience are your co-conspirators. It’s a nice flourish that the new writing night is called, ‘Revolution’. Be part of the process and show your support, and let others know what they can do.