This has been a great week for demonstrating the resilience of artists; with shows touring to gardens and parks, the first ever Irish-language drive-in drama, and theatre for an audience of one, it’s clear that no matter how steep the learning curve, artists will figure something out.
And now, more than ever, it can feel like the curve is insurmountable. The simplest things have changed dramatically in the span of a few months — how we buy our groceries, how we visit our families, how we educate our children. Although it sometimes seems like life as we knew it has come to a crashing halt, people in every sector, in every part of the world have shown an extraordinary capacity for learning and adapting.
Pablo Picasso said, “I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.” And Irish artists and institutions have done exactly that — we have improvised, experimented, and learned on the fly in order to do the things we thought were impossible. At the beginning of lockdown, it seemed that teaching and training performers just wouldn’t be feasible without the ability to be together, in close contact. But in true artist fashion, we did that which we could not do and found ways to persevere.
Although actor training may look different now than it did six months ago, it is a true testament to the resilience and creativity that exists within our sector that in the face of insurmountable odds, we carried on, in new and exciting ways. Because training the next generation of performers and makers is key to the survival of the industry, now more than ever. Whether that training is within the structure of an academy or university, or whether it’s simply diving in head-first and learning on the job, continuing to provide opportunities for those who will come after us is essential.
So come hell or high water, we’ll keep going. Keep learning about Zoom, keep taking shows to the streets, and keep showing others how to do that which cannot be done. We’ll find joy in the smallest moments and store them in our hearts as fuel to keep us going until we can come together again, to learn and grow in both the new ways and the old.