Why London?

Alison Cowling, 29 September 2012

Why London? Where else? Why do people automatically assume that London is the place to be creative? Successful? Why not somewhere else? What is stopping people from reaching out to other artists in their own regions? This was the discussion prompted by Alison with Mark, a young pair who have just left sixth form and are confused as to why they've grown up thinking London was, of course, the next step to get into the theatre. Alice Carter from Gomito, Tom Butterworth and Ruth Mackenzie all joined the debate and as did others to discuss theatrical taste versus location.

Alice talked about Gomito's move from the East to London, maintaining links with the outer regions and networking over a wider area rather than a decisive move to the capital. She believes once you get in with a company after perseverance and hard work, it is easier to network with other practitioners and artists. Find companies whose work you've seen and love. Although London seems like the daunting epicenter of culture, this is not the case. Tom as an artist is based in Norwich and is always asked as an actor, “why aren't you in London?”. Ruth talked about “theatrical taste”; it doesn't matter where you are, as long as you are able to find people who have a similar taste as you e.g. Latitude Festival, based in Suffolk, culminating in a national and international exhibition of talent. But she also posed the question to Alison, “why not ask people in your area to start a theatre company? Be the person that other people follow - use twitter”. It seems a simple proposition, but for young people, convinced theatrical careers are made by establishing oneself in London, this seems too easy. Of course it is not always one must be pro-active and work hard to make theatre happen

when few opportunities are readily available. It seems opinion is against the idea that London is the be all and end all of the arts.

“Why not London?” was another question posed. It a place of cultural diversification where, it just happens, there is a high number of ideas and people that can cross-pollinate. I think actors and theatre practitioners need to take more confidence in their ability to create their own work; there is funding and talent outside of London that just needs to be found.


Theatre, east, new theatre, gomito, young people, London, twitter, East, networking, Young People, latitude, london, theatre, Twitter