Excuses, excuses. There’s always something, isn’t there?
“It’s a great idea but I’m really busy at the moment?”
“I’d love to but I’ve got so much on, you wouldn’t believe!”
“I would but I’m completely snowed under. Next time.”
Well, I guess this was us. We’d known about Theatre Uncut for some time. It’s a theatrical call to arms, originally in response to the 2011 cuts in public spending. Every year, Hannah Price and Emma Callander of Theatre Uncut make a number of short political plays available for anyone to perform, rights free, anywhere in the world, creating a theatrical critical mass.
This is, of course, right up our street. We love a bit of theatrical activism but every year we’ve found a reason why we’d have to leave it until next time. To be fair to us, we have been very busy writing, producing, performing, doing the day job, as well as everything else that constitutes our lives. Producing plays is a very time consuming job and when you have a lot else going on, taking on yet another project might not make you very popular with your long-suffering loved ones.
This year was no different. Here at Whoop ‘n’ Wail we are preparing for the next stage in the development of our new play But For Us – watch this space for more on that! – and what with putting together our creative team, applying for funding and scheduling some R&D, the likelihood of us producing anything from this year’s Theatre Uncut Power Plays looked very slim indeed:
“But, hang on. Not again! It’s like this every year and every year we miss out. Surely one more little side project won’t kill us!”
So we thought, realistically, the best we could do was get a few people around to Whoop ‘n’ Wail HQ for a really informal play read and good old fashioned discussion. So we did.
Bringing together friends and collaborators, some we haven’t seen in years and others we’ve only just met, we had our get-together on the morning of Sunday 24th June 2018. We read through the plays in turn and more than once, each provoking so much chat that we had to start watching the clock as we all had a variety of rehearsals, performances, meetings and social whirlery to get to later in the day. And apart from downloading and printing scripts, stocking up with plenty of tea and coffee and baking a batch of Whoop ‘n’ Wails infamous Caramac Cookies, very little time and effort needed to go into it. You can find extracts of our play reading here.
Theatre Uncut – Power Plays read by Paul Taylor, Ali Kemp, Radhika Aggarwal, Madeleine MacMahon, Deborah Klayman, Cassandra Cartwright
We will do the same next year, unless we decide to go the whole hog that is. But either way, from a small community here in the front room to the global community of Theatre Uncutters, we are all taking part in the discussion, not putting it off until next time.
“Theatre can create community and community, I know, can create change.”
Emma Callander, Theatre Uncut 5-4-5 Podcast 1
The release period for this year’s plays has been extended until the end of the year – download, perform and debate Power Plays.
A selection of Power Plays will be performed at Traverse Theatre during the Edinburgh Festival on the 6th & 13th August 2018.