Is Football better than theatre? 

Convener(s): Eleanor Lloyd         

Participants: Jamie, Danny, Darren, Mathilde, Mary, Aaron, Alex, Adam and many more

Summary of discussion, conclusions and/or recommendations: 

General agreement was that there were lots of things about football we wanted to see in theatre:

  • The PASSION of the audience
  • The commitment of the audience
  • The audience’s confidence to say exactly what they thought of the performance
  • The results at the end of the national news bulletin
  • The media coverage – what would Nick Hytner have to do to get Beckham’s coverage? Advertise Gillette?
  • The performers sweating
  • The audience being able to affect the result
  • The audience coming back next week even if what they just saw was bad
  • Audiences who discuss the performance in the interval, rather than where they went on holiday
  • The sense of anticipation before the match

Examples of where theatre does inspire like football

  • Theatre in the round – you can see the rest of the audience
  • Theatre Royal Stratford East – the audience lets you know what they think, the local community has an opinion on the theatre – stop you in the street to say they like what you’re doing or not
  • The Globe – the audience can move around, as an actor if you think you’re loosing their attention you fight to get them involved

Mark Rylance – “To be……….” [pause]

A member of the audience – “or not to be”

Mark Rylance – “That is the question”

  • Stoke Theatre – the health of the local theatre is as important as the health of the local football team
  • Lyric Hammersmith – investment in the local community to make the community more passionate about it
  • Theatre in schools – the most honest audience you will ever have
  • Street Theatre/circus
  • Kenneth Macmillam – went to football to find inspiration for his choreography
  • Forum Theatre – the audience can alter the result
  • The Gong Show
  • Peter Brooke
  • Faust in Wapping – the audience can walk away, they have masks to unite them
  • Blue Man Group – the audience is a part of the show
  • Mamma Mia – the audience is all singing the same songs
  • The audience at the ENO the night of the BNP fight
  • La Scala – as inspiring as the Nou Camp

Things we could do to learn from the passion that football inspires:

  • Don’t turn the auditorium lights off
  • Betting – should audiences bet on the results of a show?
  • Set up a Fantasy theatre league: who is doing well, who isn’t, what shows do we like, what shows don’t we like. A way of introducing competition
  • Introduce natural light in theatre
  • Performers need to harness the imaginative power of the audience
  • Use the model of the Cup competitions – when you go and see Le Page, you’re shown a bit of an unknown company’s work as well
  • Allow audiences to walk out in disgust- employ the law of two feet in theatre
  • Overcome our fear of audiences not liking a show – take that as a challenge
  • Provide moments of magic that are as special as a Thierry Henry goal (or at least the one last night)
  • We need to help theatre audience understand the contract they are entering into with the performers.
  • Give the audience their team colour – masks (faust), headbands (blue man group), torches (Tejas Verdes)
  • Every show you do, you should it in a school first – then you’ll know if it’s any good