Theatre Tourism: we thespians and theatre-watchers need to get out more
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We thespians and theatre-watchers need to get out more. I don’t mean to say that theatre is an inadequate pastime, quite the opposite; I just mean that we’re too narrow in our selection of local theatre closer to us, or in obsessing over London theatre, often heinously so. Instead, I argue we need to view regional theatre as the nerd version of the football away-day. It’s a way to see great theatre and to see the country at the same time.
Image courtesy of 'igorovsyannykov' from PixabayThere isn’t one hegemonic theatre in the UK, despite what ATG tickets might make you think, and travelling around means you can see the wonderfully varied things people are doing on stage. Not only that, but local theatre can combine seeing unique theatre with learning more about a new area when it tries to tell local stories. For example, ‘The Shadow Factory’ at the Nuffield Southampton this year was a play about the Spitfire built by Supermarine in Woolston, just a few miles from the Nuffield’s new downtown home, featuring a community chorus, or there was ‘The Big I Am’ at the Liverpool Everyman which adapted Ibsen’s Peer Gynt into a John-Lennon-esque character traversing Liverpool in the 60s. The first thing to do is to follow pages on Facebook such as WhatsOnStage and The Stage, as they frequently recommend great regional theatre. Be proactive too! Do a regular check up on the programming for the best regional theatres – start with the Nuffield Southampton, Birmingham REP, Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse, Manchester Royal Exchange, Sheffield Theatres, Bristol Old Vic and Northern Stage, and feel free to add your own as well.
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