This is my first post on my brand new website (thank you, Wix). It's a strange time to be planning for the future given that live entertainment continues to take such a beating during this pandemic. But us performers are a resourceful and resilient bunch and it's been amazing to see how many of my friends and colleagues have managed to get shows up and running online. Even better, when lockdowns have eased some extremely innovative events have taken place.
Back in the summer I performed at a drive-in cabaret for Guilford Fringe Festival which was so much fun. The organisers had set up benches at the front of each parking space but unfortunately the weather was predictably British and soon our audience retreated out of the rain into their cars. The event was still brilliant, an in-car audio feed and the use of horns and headlights to show approval maintaining the live connection with the audience. It was just the kind of bonkers night I needed after a four month hiatus from performing.
Throughout the summer I also compered for the incredible Lost In Translation circus in their glorious big top. Thanks to Norwich Theatre and a team of dedicated volunteers the event was well-attended and with spaced seating and the sides off the tent it felt extremely safe. I also joined LIT in November for a week of development work on a new show. I got back on the trapeze again, the first time in about 25 years, and it was wonderful to be working on a collaborative piece of circus drama.
In September I joined Lili La Scala and a stellar cast of acts for Another F*cking Variety Show at Watermans in Brentford. It was my first indoor show since the start of the pandemic and it was joyful to be back at this beautiful intimate theatre. On Halloween weekend I got to catch up with the fabulous women of Gin House Burlesque when I hosted 3 nights of shows at the gorgeously eclectic King's Head members club in Dalston. As we prepared for the final show another lockdown was announced which was heart-breaking, but at least we got to go out with beautiful bang.
So for now it's back to virtual shows and teaching and that's okay - it's a small sacrifice compared to the exhausting and dangerous situation that healthcare staff and frontline workers face every day. What I do know for sure is that for performers live art IS work, and it matters. Devotees of cabaret, theatre and festivals know it, but I think the public at large are beginning to really feel the loss too. People want and need the live performance experience. Bread and circuses really are food for the soul.