On Wednesday 19 November there’s going to be a real celebration of theatre as the first #LoveTheatre day takes off. Over 300 venues and organisations are taking part from places as far apart as Europe, Australia, Canada, Sri Lanka, Chile and the Czech Republic. It’s not just professional theatre companies, but amateurs, drama schools, venues and museums.
So what’s it all about? The Guardian Culture Professionals website explains:
“In a time of deep funding cuts, imbalances in funding and company closures, this initiative presents an opportunity for theatres to shout about the great work they do, reach wider audiences and make contacts and collaborate with other venues and stage companies from across the world. We want #LoveTheatre day to drive active engagement throughout the theatre community in the lead up to the busy festive season.” It’s an attempt to use social media to reach new audiences and help support local theatres.
The event is largely taking place on Twitter at #LoveTheatre, but there will be live-blogging on the Guardian Culture Professionals website from 9.30. They’re expecting videos, images and tweets from artists, practitioners, audiences, funders and practitioners, and lots of interaction.
As well as the main hashtag there will be three sub-hashtags (a new term for me) during the day to highlight specific themes:
- #BackStage (10am-12pm) will offer audiences and other arts professionals a glimpse into how a production comes together in the weeks and months leading up to the big night.
- #AskATheatre (3-5pm) will offer a unique opportunity for theatre aficionados and aspiring actors to hear first-hand from the individuals and groups that make the magic happen.
- #Showtime (7-10pm) will give those who can’t make it to a theatre the chance to sit in the “virtual stalls” to experience a performance, or several, via Twitter.
Mar Dixon, of museum professionals group Culture Themes, working with Twitter UK and the Guardian’s Culture Professionals Network comments “We’re expecting Twitter to come to life with an explosion of colour and creativity on Wednesday so follow along on Twitter to make sure you don’t miss out.” She continues:
“The most important message for me is, like museums, theatres do SO much within their community that goes un-noticed… Theatres worldwide work with kids, teens, adults and older generation. The community outreach is amazing. I personally know that Wolverhampton Grand Theatre works with Wolverhampton College creative arts department – not just with performing art students but with music, sound and lighting technicians. They offer £5 tickets to students. They run workshop for others who want to get involved with drama but can’t commit to a full production.”
Here’s the list of participants, a truly international bunch. They cover a huge range from amateur groups to the biggest international organisations. Companies specifically involved with Shakespeare include Shakespeare in Action (Canada), The Isle of Wight Shakespeare Company, the Royal Shakespeare Company, Shakespeare’s Globe and the Marin Shakespeare Company (USA). Even after the day it’ll be possible to receive news from your favourite theatre using Twitter.
Just a few of the events during the day:
Nick Hern Books will be running a special offer on their books, Chichester Theatre is sharing stories from their archives and asking people to send in their own backstage stories. The Birmingham Rep team will be answering questions from 3-5, and the National Theatre are inviting questions specifically aimed at their costume, casting, literary or production team. Theatre Iolo in Cardiff are celebrating their work in creating work for and by young people. Whatever your interest in theatre, there should be something for you so follow #LoveTheatre or check out the website during the day.