So today it all began, we are now in Lockdown, a pandemic has kept us all in the house, shops are closed, schools are empty, towns are deserted.
Most importantly to me is that the theatres are closed, the actors are at home, the dancers have hung up their shoes. The orchestra’s instruments are gathering dust in the pit. The technicians have resorted to fixing their lights and TVs and everything seems abandoned until one day more.
In the theatre, not all is dead.
We have a tradition, whenever the theatre is empty, we are always sure to leave one light on. Typically, on a stand in the centre of the stage, this light is known as the ghost light.
There are many stories about its origin—but its meaning is unmistakable.
It means though the theatre is empty, WE WILL RETURN.
So here’s to us. The actors, the technicians, the directors, the carpenters, the designers, the dancers, the teachers, the students, the freelancers, those on tour, those at sea, the electricians, the stitchers, the makers, the stage managers…. THE ARTISTS.
We might be down now but our passion, our creativity, our drive is still centre stage. One day we will be unplugging those ghost lights and performances will return – better than ever.
Today our theatre family came through.
During these unprecedented times the theatrical community has come together to provide viewers like you and me with the opportunity to stream musicals and plays for free so we can enjoy it from our own home.
In addition, Andrew Lloyd Webber has come up with a fantastic idea called “The Show Must Go On”, the new YouTube Channel that will be streaming a full-length musical ever Friday at 7pm for free so we can bring the theatre home!
Also, today something special came out. The Marsh family brought out a remake of the Les Misérables song, One Day More adapted for our lives today. Singing about online school and not being able to see grandparents that brought us all to tears.
Disney Plus has become more and more popular during lockdown. The producers Thomas Kail, Jeffery Seller and Lin-Manual Miranda of the Broadway sensation Hamilton (that soars in music and tale) have decided to release the stage show version so people who would normally not be able to go to the theatre or can’t go now because of Lockdown can watch it from home
August the 10th was my show day, performing at the Peoples Theatre, the shows of Oliver and Fame – maybe next year!
Today it all seemed that the determination we have put into the last months was for nothing. The leaders of our country, the Government, decided that the arts weren’t important and began to insult the arts and people’s livelihoods.
Rishi Sunak is a British Conservative Party politician who called the arts a “luxurious hobby” and that “musicians and other in the arts should retrain and find other jobs” which began a huge uprise in complaints because it is disgraceful. It isn’t just people’s hobbies and enjoyments – it is their livelihoods; it is kids’ aspirations and dreams; it is something people trained all their lives in preparation for and to take that away from them is wrong. Not to mention how the economy will suffer without the money from the shows and plays occurring all the time. But he was knocked back as we became an army.
This is how our world changed overnight, some could say for the better and some could say for the worst, but one thing is for sure it brought us all together as a community, we all stuck together through rough and tough times when we were not sure what was going to end up of the arts. I now know on the 13th of November that we all will return and perform again – we just might need to be patient.