Cut Off!

Hazel Alexander, 17 July 2012

This was a session about why Plymouth gets the productions that it does and the issues about us accessing other productions that especially those in London.

Participants were:

Hazel, Alisdair, Rebecca, Adriana, Louise, Fran

Here was a group of devotees who were looking at how to access even more theatre but with the very real issue of being in the South West and what that means.

Not another musical!

While most of us did like to see musicals, there was a feeling of ‘just how many musicals can we see?’ We wanted variety, where is Shaw, Chekhov, Miller? Although we do have some wonderful experimental theatre in the Drum, it was the main house that we felt needed to bring something other than musicals, ballets and operas.

Here be dragons!

It quickly became clear that the real issue was London-centricism. Although Plymouth does have a good reputation for supporting companies that come here, we simply don't have the money, the home grown talent or the venues to draw the companies and ‘big names’ in. There was also something about the slow pace and lack of oomph here that meant those with driving ambition soon were only driving eastwards up the A38.

It costs How Much?

The group were willing though to head East themselves and would be more than happy to visit London to see productions, but the logistics of this make it very difficult, long expensive train journeys and invariably an expensive overnight stay.

Answers on a postcard please…

But this group were also looking at what some of the solutions may be. There were no real time and money saving answers to travelling to London, so we focussed more on how to improve on the good things that we do already have. We discussed temporary and alternative venues, better marketing and advertising of what was already going on throughout the South West including the great things that some amateur groups are doing. A wider range of arts to include more diversity and a way of getting more people including young people to see productions for the first time to encourage a familiarity with ‘going to the theatre’. There was also the possibility of filming more productions which could then be shown in cinemas or downloaded at home.

Watch this space?

But our blue sky idea was a Plymouth Arts Festival. The City is capable of hosting big well attended events, lets build on that and work towards setting up something that we can enjoy and that will show us a a region that wants and appreciates a wide variety of theatre. After all, other successful festivals must have started with just an idea…


young people, London, filming, travel, venues, Young People, london, Venues