As you will have noticed by now, the Theatremaker.ie and Stage Door Live team have taken the week off in preparation for our Dublin Fringe Focus over the next few episodes. I’d love to say I spent at least a little bit of time sunbathing on a warm beach (or even a cold, rocky one) but I’ve been in the process of moving.
There’s a single word that’s stuck with me through this weird year: Resilience.
This word has been brought up in the conversations happening on Stage Door Live many times. On our #WellnessInPractice episode, or when we focused on #TrainingIrishActors, or waaaaaay back during our chat with Annie Ryan on our FIRST EPISODE EVER!
I’m incredibly grateful to be working on this fabulous project, with a wonderful group of people, and it’s a serious blessing to direct my energy towards theatre (in one form or another) while all this madness is going on. I can feel the collective resilience now more than ever, especially during a week like the one we’ve just had.
I know we’ve been reading statement after statement, desperately hoping the government will finally put the arts and culture first; that they will finally recognise the vital role the arts sector plays in the growth of this country, with both its people and its reputation. Time and time again we’re pushed to the background, and if Irish Twitter told me anything this week, it said the arts and culture sector isn’t going anywhere, despite what the government may or may not say about it.
Waking up this morning to Mark O’Brien’s post made me tear up. We’re a strong, resilient collective, and we will hold each other up through this. I can help but picture Mark on a horse, ready to gallop into battle, with the Irish arts community in full armor waiting, broadswords drawn and prepared to fight to the death.
We are resilient. Folk who work in the arts & entertainment are resilient. We've had to be. Our organsations have…
WE MARCH AT DAWN! (or maybe more like 10 because I’m a night owl).
Let’s talk about Wednesday…
This Wednesday was a doozey of a day. In a week of change for me: moving into a new place, renting a car for the first time on my own, cleaning my new flat from ceiling to floor, and carrying every possession I’ve accumulated over the past 4 years up and down countless sets of stairs, I also celebrated my birthday.
While in the middle of delightful birthday chats with my family and friends, I couldn’t stop checking my phone, wondering what the next update was going to be regarding Tuesday’s press conference. It’ll be a birthday to remember, although not necessarily for the reasons I had hoped.
This is honestly turning into an episode of Faulty Towers pic.twitter.com/mGJrnMNYnS
— Fed up (@REDLEXIB) August 19, 2020
I’m not sure a which point the ridiculousness of the situation hit me, but I’m certain an episode of Faulty Towers would have actually made me more calm.
The arts sector has been enormously flexible, understanding and thorough in their reopening plans, and Tuesday and Wednesday’s contradictory evidence was little thanks for their work. Although we now have “clearer” guidelines, which have been signed off by multiple parties to avoid the conflicting confirmations, I think we’re all just waiting for the ball to drop. Outdoor events are still restricted, and with no mention of the music sector or live gigs, the government still has a lot of ‘splaining to do.
This just in. Cartoonists ask Government to slow down a bit please because we're running out of paper
— Annie West (@anniewestdotcom) August 20, 2020
With Dublin Theatre Festival’s online Launch (and subsequent box office opening today), as well as Dublin Fringe Festival’s upcoming line-up, there’s a lot to look forward to. Although we feel like we’ve been lurched this way and that, the arts community is resilient; though that strength and flexibility takes a LOT out of artists and arts workers. I’m dreaming of a day where we aren’t expected to conform to new rules at the drop of a hat, and where we, perhaps, might be a part of initial announcements, and not just an afterthought.
This has been a remarkable period in Irish history, when you think about it.
The sense of solidarity, resilience, community and care amongst people in Ireland is immense.
It's a pity some of our politicians don't live up to those attributes.
Keep the heads up. 💪
— Una Mullally (@UnaMullally) August 20, 2020
Although this isn’t my usual “sparkly” post, the strength and voice of the sector here was really what brought sparkle to my week, no matter what sort of mess the politicians are up to.
If you are one of the lucky people who managed to snag a ticket to a Fringe or DTF show, I want to know:
What are you seeing as your first theatre or arts show post-lock down?
Take care of yourselves and each other.