Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Theatre without walls

March's Creative Conversation yesterday was our most well attended yet. I'd like to attribute this to the strong coffee and mouth-watering pastries but suspect that our guest 'conversationalist' might have had something to do with it. Neil Murray, Executive Producer at National Theatre Scotland came down from Glasgow to talk about the history, the future, the good times (and the bad) at NTS.

The Conversation began with a general discussion on what 'theatre without walls' could and should be, ranging from the love-it-or-hate-it outdoor spectacular of La Machine's Spider to the intimacy of Janet Cardiff's audio walks. A range of performance preferences were shared but people came back together to agree that 'theatre without walls' means more than outdoor spectacle. Conversation became even more animated as we started talking about breaking through barriers, challenging preconceptions of what theatre can be and the effect it can have.

A good cue for Neil to come in with a fascinating insight into how NTS was set up, enthusaistically talking us through the many highlights of the company's existence, having created a staggering 59 productions in the first two years! Neil was refreshingly candid and I know that everyone present really welcomed hearing about what didn't work so well, and the lessons NTS had learned as a result. I know I'm not alone in prefering to learn from other people's mistakes more than my own!

As ever, the conversation could have gone on well into the afternoon, but we had to stop before 'brunch' turned into 'afternoon tea'. Til next time then... when we have Sabrina Smith Nobel, Arts Officer from Visiting Arts who will come and give us a perspective on working internationally (Tuesday 7th April greenroom, Manchester).