Buildings: Shall We Break Out Or Break Other People In

Alexander Wright, 5 October 2012

Called by Alex Wright
With Julie, Ben, Pete, Christie, Isla, Rhiannon, Ian and more...

This session was called to talk about the possibility that the ceremonial nature of our theatre buildings might inhibit both the work and the audience/community. Is it better to try and revolutionise the way we use our buildings or to get rid of the buildings and move elsewhere?

Here are the notes I made:

Theatre and its buildings are institutionalised.
If someone sees something in the street, they might not want to come to the building. Systems of inclusion and exclusion.
Space should always be open and welcoming.
Space is political - being in other people's space.
Plenty of social politics too.
People's interest in the process of making theatre - back stage tours etc - make this process more open and visible.
Take away the mystery behind the magic.
The picturehouse in Headingly is popular just as a building.
We shouldn't drive away the people who already use the building.
Re-opening the use of the building to new thoughts and ideas.

Do we need a reason to use the building in a different way. Tell the story of that building.
Is is about intentions - why do you want to use this building. Geography - where you are in a place or city.

Is is the people or the places which make something special.
Understanding people's pycho-geography.
Meeting people in their places.
Breaking out of theatres - the seeds of street theatre is not about the building space. What would happen if we knocked down all the theatre buildings but kept the organisation.

How can we support emerging companies without a building. A sense of achievement if you've made it on to a studio tour. How do you link up the different types of audiences.
Finding the correct places for the work.

Theatres are specialised technical spaces.
The show and the venue/space need to support each other.
Putting the right pieces in to the right places.
Do you feel more valued if you are working in a ‘proper theatre’.
Show should come first and the building second.
Big theatre buildings are monuments to what theatre was.
It would be fun/interesting for us all to dream up our perfect theatre space.
Do buildings allow an identifiable spirit.
Do people/audiences have a loyalty with a building or an organisation.
Do people go to the West Yorkshire Playhouse or a West Yorkshire Playhouse show. Breakdown the snobbery of theatre.
Connection between developing talent and promoting work.
Building a sense of community in the building.

Put hairdressers in theatres.
Mulitfunctional - about creating a destination for people to arrive at.
You can't please everyone all the time - is it about knowing what people you want and when.
Finding ways to allow people and groups to be a part of your building.
Knitting clubs.
Need to meet people half way.
The sense of a creative space will attract people.
Architecture is incredibly important.
Names are very important.
Spirit in combination with people and culture.
Branding and what you expect from something. ‘Does this look like an apple product?’ and what you expect from it because it does.
We should redress all our traditions and look at a big culture shift. eg 7:30 is a hard time to find a babysitter.
The importance of food and drink.
Becoming a community building.
Theatre and libraries/book exchanges.
We should talk to people/community/audience/artists about what our buildings could and should be for them.


Community, Buildings, Tradition, Food, Audience, Drink, Activities, audience, people, community, People, culture, Culture, theatres, buildings, Theatres, food, Passtimes