Lloyd (proposer), Ness (scribe) and Robbie.

L asked if theatre is damaging to us in our culture and who decides which parts of culture maintain and continue and which parts die off. Should what’s happening in the rest of the world be what’s happening in theatre? - in terms of the death of modernity and the demise of institutions such as the Church (where operation happens in guises beyond original purpose – churches lost connection with their original mission and developed an interest in ‘keeping it all going’ no matter what). Is this what’s happening in theatre? Looking at the larger companies, including the National, is this the case? Is a dying institution perpetuating its life cycle just for the sake of ‘carrying on’?

Is it the case that theatre form is changing – C20 narrative text based formats can’t reach current concerns and audiences and activist driven didactism is on the rise - and that some forms are fading while others are coming into dominance (as has always been the case) and that this is a necessary cycle? Do we need to repurpose large theatre buildings in an earth crisis? What happens to the stories we all agree we need and want? L said stories and storytelling will out.

R liked the phrase ‘a good ending’ and said as a society we’re not great at endings. Are some theatre forms dying? Is sitting on seats in the dark fading out? The popularity of West End musicals suggests not, perhaps it’s time and attention spans that have changed. L suggested parts of popular culture are self-harming (Reality TV etc).

Is theatre asking to die? What is the mechanism for forms to die? Do we need a good funeral? R said Vault festival has died when the consensus is that it was a good thing.

L said the earth is dying and that the idea that we can urge people to drive to a black box and come back again the next week, in cars, is untenable. There is no one answer. This is a predicament.

R asked how can theatre hospice society?

A discussion was had about theatres role in ritual and peoples need for ritual. The conversation came full circle back to notions of church and the death of churches as spaces where people come together. Ritual offers a place where people can be supported through times of transition.

R suggested anti-ritual ie: clowning and fooling as a form where the masses can be subversive.

L suggested theatre needs the flexibility to be what’s needed in the moment and that there is and will always be a hunger for human connection. R said people need a deeper connection with others, rather than simply spectating. Participating rather than audiencing. People need the opportunity to be human with each other. L said this was what drove many people to come to D and D.

A final question. Can theatre throw the funeral for the demise of human society and capitalism?