Welcome to React!

A message from the theatre’s artistic director Caitlin Campbell about REACT, a series of shows returning to the theatre in November.

Let me start by saying welcome back one and all; we couldn’t be more delighted to see you.

It has been six months since we last performed in front of a (non-virtual) audience and as wonderful as it has been testing our limits and working with new mediums online we are beyond excited to be returning to our theatre at last. I can’t describe how much I personally have missed the hum of an expectant crowd, the scrape of chairs and clink of glasses, the sudden release of a whole room bursting into laughter together. It feels good to be back.

So what have we been up to in the last six months?

At the start of lockdown we sprang into action taking our shows online and were blown away by how many of you came with us. Thanks to the streaming platform Twitch we were able to keep in touch with you in the chat (you made us laugh a LOT. Who knew improv audiences would so enjoy the opportunity to noiselessly and benevolently heckle throughout a show?), and keep the heart of improv alive by basing our shows around your presence and input. The natural adaptability of improvisation along with the resilience and creativity of this amazing community allowed us to keep making and presenting work from opposite ends of the city (and occasionally the world).

That’s not all though, we’ve been renovating too. 

While the theatre has been empty, we have taken the opportunity to give it a socially distant makeover. The stage, seating layout and operational systems have all changed, to make coming to the theatre as safe as possible for staff, audiences and performers alike. You can read more about the changes we have made and how these will affect your visit here

It’s with this spirit of adaptability that we have launched ourselves into the next stage of this strange journey. Never have we felt this keenly before the value of improvisation, an artform that doesn’t just embrace changing circumstances but thrives on them – a useful skill to have in a world where the rules are changing day by day. Especially as we will be bringing the same restrictions that affect our work and home lives onto stage with us.

We therefore present to you REACT. 

This November we are staging six shows that respond creatively to the challenges of social distancing on stage. They’ll explore what’s possible within the new restraints, approaching them playfully to create shows that are imaginative, immediate, whole-hearted and fun.

In some cases you’ll be treated to shows devised from workshops with our associate artists over the last month; in others we have approached local companies and artists we admire,  handing over the reigns and allowing them the freedom and creativity to explore these new possibilities. 

📷 : A talented pool of performers from our associate companies coming together to develop new shows for REACT. Photo taken by Ross Wilson.

We still don’t know how long this crisis will go on for – and so now our thinking has to shift from ‘when will we be able to do what we did?’, to ‘what can we do right now?’ 

Although so much has changed in our lives recently, one thing that has remained constant is our need for connection, joy and laughter. 

With our new space, the efforts of our dedicated staff, the creativity of our talented artists and your support, we hope to be that source of connection, joy and laughter for years to come. 

The shows that are part of the “REACT” season go on sale Friday 9th October. Check our what’s on page on the day for more information.