9 New Year's Resolutions for theatre
Here's a few things we should all be aiming for in 2017
Reduce the cost of drinks
We're all partial to a drink on a night out. But if that night out involves the theatre, then you may have to consider taking out a mortgage before committing to anything stronger than water. In some West End theatres, the cost of a glass of wine is nudging the £10 mark. Which means we're increasingly sober and we don't like it. Come on theatre owners, why not try to make interval drinks affordable?
Increase the number of cheap ticket schemes
Although it by no means guaranteed access to tickets, we loved the Friday Forty initiative set by Sonia Friedman for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which enabled you to get clicking, every Friday, to try to buy some of the cheapest tickets to the following week's shows. And the NT's Friday Rush tickets are continuing to be an easy, low-cost way of getting to see great theatre. Let's get more producers and companies signing up to schemes like these.
Get theatre into education
As arts subjects are pushed further into the peripheries, it's so important to make sure that the industry pushes back. Robert Hastie has the idea: in his first season as artistic director of Sheffield Theatres, he's giving free theatre tickets to drama students in the city. Theatre needs to get young ones in as early as possible if it's to survive and inspire as much as it should.
Get more diverse
After Andrew Lloyd Webber's recent report looking at diversity in the industry concluded that theatre was too white for its own good, it is really time for everyone to champion and support BAME talent. The Curve in Leicester set the agenda in their conference in October 2016. After all, as Lloyd Webber said, if we don't make theatre more accessible for BAME audiences and creatives (not just performers) then the industry won't be able to sustain itself.
Get better toilets
A fairly personal gripe which, we think, most people will agree with. Certain theatres in London have tiny, inaccessible ladies loos and not enough of them. Let's start pushing to make those crappy public conveniences palaces.
Find Emma Rice a great new job
After she announced earlier this year that she would be stepping down from her role as artistic director of Shakespeare's Globe in 2018, the former artistic director of Kneehigh will be looking for a new job. And she deserves a great one. Although the truth is that with talent such as hers, it's unlikely Rice needs much help from anyone else.
We've been mightily impressed by Tonic Theatre's work drawing attention to brilliant women in the industry and encouraging theatres and companies to think more about how they can bridge the gender gap. We want more of it from everyone now, please.
Get more inclusive
Ramps on the Moon and Graeae have been quietly leading the way in theatre with casts and for audiences who are Deaf and disabled. And places like the National Theatre and the Donmar Warehouse proved this year that disability should never be a barrier to working on stage. Let's keep pushing the message forward that theatre is an industry you can work in whoever you are and whatever you look like.
Get out of buildings more
Theatre should be all about bringing it to the masses. And what better way of doing that than getting out on the road and into public spaces. Hull is the UK City of Culture in 2017 and city-wide theatre installations and performances have already been announced, including 2097 We Made Ourselves Over, which takes place in telephone boxes. They kick off the public space theatre with Back to Ours, which has performances in local theatres and public spaces at the end of February. Let's take a leaf out of Hull's book and embrace life without walls.