Convener(s):Oliver Senton

Participants: Lucinda Coxon, Hazel Gould, Lynne Forbes, Jon Spooner, Guy Dartnell, Sharon Kean Tassos Stevens

Summary of discussion, conclusions and/or recommendations:

Is there such a thing?
Is it only defined by the people outside it?
Can you move from outside it to inside it?

It’s to mark our distance/space – to back up our own feelings

What about Jerry Springer – The Opera? Is it experimental theatre or ruthless product?

By being outside the mainstream, you are marking yourself as other- marginalised, an outsider

Look at all the companies working at/with the National – Kneehigh, Improbable, Complicite, Shunt. Does working at/with the National make you mainstream?

Perhaps it’s just what happens when you get older and want to be more comfortable. Yet we constantly make choices as artists/practitioners which we know will earn us less money than something else. Because we find those choices more exciting, fulfilling etc.

Writers in the theatre being marginalised and infantilised – whereas in film you are treated like an adult.

Look further afield for places to work (eg: beyond the UK). Find the right kind of place(s) for you. We feel we’re entitled – that a space should be provided for us.

It could be it’s hard to get space because resources (eg: NT Studio) are being used to capacity.

Aren’t we just jealous?

The main stream. Main. Stream. Tides of people who follow (the people who have power). This can create copycat behaviour. And those people in power also following fashion (Guy pointed out that we were a non-mainstream ie: small group in the hall, and that that very point made it hard to sit down and join the group – the ‘what are they doing over there’ syndrome) .
Not the main stream – those who make decisions NOT based on what those people are doing.

We mistrust something that lots of people want to see – why? It could be bad work after all – venues (ie: NT) can create an audience for and of themselves). Whereas outside the mainstream you can talk to a random, marginalised audience.

The mainstream in training – we need this in some ways, we need structures, and the ability to IMPLEMENT our ideas, not just to have good ideas. In America, the training is more ongoing through life.

‘Mainstream’ as another word for ‘traditional’ – Complicite and Peter Hall are both mainstream – but then they’re also both traditional in different ways.

Success, a following, commerce/money – do these make something mainstream? When Complicite or Jerry Springer can make more money & have more profile than Pat Routledge in the West End?

The mainstream thinks ‘What did the public like last week? Let’s put that on next week then.’ Non-mainstream takes bigger risks.

We are also partly responsible for ourselves – big actors will sometimes do risky projects.

Any group (ie: beyond an individual) takes greater care, effort, time &c.

Do we judge what’s mainstream by the people who go and see it? Seeking our tribe. For some people, going to see a ‘mainstream’ show could be experimental!

It’s inverted snobbery (against the Mainstream)

Actors are (nearly) always in the mainstream AND out of it – we need variety.

The mainstream of theatre is still not mainstream in the wide world. The mainstream and ‘the Establilshment’ are mental constructs which point to shadows that do exist – some things (opera, ballet) are so politically important that they need to be maintained (from the establishments POV)

Jude Kelly – in charge of cultural events at the Olympics – convenes a talk about the marginalised. So what’s mainstream?

What’s mainstream and not are permanently intermeshed.