The Creative Hub, The Storey Meeting House Lane Lancaster, LA1 1TH

2021, and here’s to 2022

30th December 2021 by Morven Macbeth

Associate Practitioner and Company Producer Morven Macbeth takes a look back and a view forwards into 2022:

‘Looking back at last year’s December e-newsletter, it struck me how much, and how very little has changed.

As a company, ITD has achieved a huge amount this year. We’ve made and toured a main house theatre show, Dracula: The Untold Story, with co-producing partners Leeds Playhouse, which was received incredibly warmly by audiences and critics alike. A five star review in The Guardian and a pick of the Best of 2021 in The Stage. We captured a filmed version, which was made available to audiences at the same time the show was still in a theatre to be seen live. As far as we know, we’re the first UK company to have done so.

Plus the show made it to Switzerland. YES. In the current climate, that alone feels like a real achievement from everyone involved who pulled together to make that happen.

Over the last year ITD has worked with a whole range of artists in the early stages of their careers, on new programmes which we’ve been able to facilitate thanks to funding from Arts Council England. Airlock was part of a digital festival from Cultura Inglesa in Brazil, bringing together online 100 artists from all over the world, engaging an audience across the programme of over 71,000 people. We’ve made sited projects in two UK cities, which included working with primary school children in Worcester which was so much fun, and with some wonderful singers and musicians on the Light Up Lancaster performances of LEAP.

There’s still so much work to do, as a company, as a National Portfolio Organisation, as part of the wider UK arts sector. The Best of 2021 lists feel almost redundant to me, when everyone is working in such a complex environment to get shows made, onto a stage, and, in some cases, out on tour. In other cases, working just to stay afloat, to stay in an industry in which they chose to carve out a career two, twenty, forty years ago. In other instances still, making the hard decision to leave the sector, often for a whole range of reasons, but words like ‘burnout’, ‘broken’, ‘exhausted’ come up again and again.

Working in theatre, we aren’t saving people’s lives. Many of the company have close family and friends who do precisely that, who are healthcare professionals, medics, people who are in the day-to-day business of keeping other human beings alive. But if we, as people who work in the arts sector, didn’t think that what we were doing was meaningful in some way, and contributing to the world we live in, I’m pretty sure most of us would go and do something else.

So with your continued support, and with the on-going commitment and determination of the team here, the freelance artists and creatives we work with, our partners and co-producing friends, we look forward to going again in 2022. Whatever it may bring.

Morven Macbeth

December 2021

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