Start anew

Convener(s):John Flanagan

[email protected]

Participants: the21

Summary of discussion, conclusions and/or recommendations:

Starting point was Bill Drummond’s disillusionment with music and his formation of a choir called The17 ( and 17 scores written to be performed by the17 and I have wondered whether something similar could be applied to Theatre/Drama.

Manifesto: (adapted from Drummond)

All theatre has run its course. It has all been consumed, filmed, revived, toured, judged and found wanting. The21 dispose with all previous forms of drama and start again. The21 has no history, follows no traditions, recognises no contemporaries. The21 uses no scripts, scenarios, props, costumes or set and has no knowledge of blank verse. The21 struggle with the dark and respond to the light.

Imagine waking up tomorrow & all theatre has disappeared. All theatre buildings, stages, auditoria have gone. All films and tv programmes have gone. There are no people who call themselves actors. What’s more you can’t remember what theatre looked like or how it was made. You can only remember that it had existed and that it had been important to you and your civilisation. And you long to see it once more. Then imagine people coming together to make theatre with nothing but their bodies and voices & no knowledge of what theatre looks like.

We’re interested in square zero. It has no definite shape – it feels democratic – immediate. We all have to be live in the space.

The beginning is choosing someone & use the fact that you’re in a space to relate to them in relation to the space.

Do we cherish or feel saddened by the ephemerality of theatre?

‘without theatre I’d be empty’

‘it’d be such a relief’

Audience codes of behaviour – would we want to lose them? Audiences left the theatre because they were pulled up on stage, if we empower them they may come back.

Does this need to start again come from a feeling that we are being devalued in society?

If we had no theatre what would bring about a NEED for theatre??

Does it come from ritual or the need to be entertained?

Is it telling the story of forgetting? And recognising that you’re telling a story.

Maybe the need to start anew is because we’re tired. We’re trying too hard.

Our palates are jaded and we’re forever trying to be ‘different’ and end up being tricksy not innovative.

For each of us what is it we get from theatre – is the buzz in the practice & personal involvement not the being in the audience? 

At 1620 on the 13th of January 2007 the21 was disbanded.