The Value of Time
It feels very apparent that since the government announced their roadmap for getting us out of lockdown that people are rushing to get everything open.
I totally understand that there are many people heavily relying on this to ensure some form of income, the need we all have for a hug with our pals and to have a sense of freedom again.
But when applying this to the theatre industry and a sudden rush to get performances ready for an audience, I can't help but wonder what happened to the last years worth of zoom conversations about changing our practice in the industry for the better.
I currently feel as though we need to re-address the value and importance of time.
Last year in the summer over Facebook Live I watched Pigfoot Theatre's Green Up festival. Over a week they live-streamed conversations with climate activists, politicians, theatre makers and scientists and it was so inspiring. A key theme that came out of these talks was time. The importance of time both in regard to the climate crisis and how we make work.
This has later come into practice when participating in their research and development process for their latest devised project, 'Hot in Here,' a carbon neutral dance party. The structure of the R+D was to be 3 weeks spread out over a month with a week at the beginning, middle and end of January (which eventually ended up spreading out over two months thanks to corona). This structure allowed for space in between each week of R+D to take stock, absorb one week's worth of creativity ready to reboot for the next. In terms of creating a show that is carbon neutral, involves activists from across the globe and a dancefloor that powers lights for the show - there is a lot to experiment with here and a lot of information to process.
This was the first time I have been part of a process that has spread work out like this and honestly it has been so good. As a designer, it has meant that rather than creating ideas out of thin air and at the same pace as the progress in the rehearsal room, there is time for me to respond to each week, do some research and then regroup with ideas that are relevant - nothing will be discarded or thrown away. Previously, I've sourced props and things for an R+D that end up being thrown away because they have no relevance to the final piece. By the end of this project, the whole team have been able to develop a really well bodied sharing for organisations to see how a) working in this way is highly effective and b) the idea for a carbon neutral dance party celebrating activists from across the world is so much fun.
I often feel very frustrated when a producer or company approaches me to have an entire design researched, designed and realised in a week as it is not a sustainable way of working. It forces the team to often spend more money, use Amazon (ugh), make shortcuts and quite frankly a ton of stress and late nights where I personally end up with raging eczema in response the week after (even more ugh).
So with that lovely thought can we please enter this new life out of lockdown with consideration for the fact that things need to change and that time is a very valuable resource. Imagine a production process with happy people, exciting work and having a good nights sleep! Let's use time wisely, to the benefit of both us humans and our lovely planet.
After absorbing my little rant why not check out the wonderful work from Pigfoot?