If nothing else 2020 has taught me how much I appreciate my job and the theatre community that surrounds it. I'm so proud of my friends and my unions and my peers for sticking together and making our voices heard. I guess we're used to making our voices heard in one way, but this last year has proved, unfortunately, that my profession is not taken seriously by the men in suits of the governments around the world. I'm lucky enough to live in Canada where, I personally think, the Canadian government, led by Mr. Trudeau, has been amazingly considerate to our plight. This doesn't seem to be the case back over in the UK. I'm shocked at how easily the government has turned its back on fellow performers like me, offering little to zero support as the pandemic hit and the industry was forced to 'close its doors' temporarily. It makes me feel very sad indeed that a country with such a strong culture of theatre and performance could do such a thing.
ok, my griping aside.... I wanted to share a little gem of info that I discovered recently that somehow made things a little more bearable.
Apparently, when the plague hit the city of London, around the years 1665-1666 it was usually worse during the summer months. It was at this time that the performers and minstrels of the time decided to pack their stuff up on a wagon and head up North away from London for those summer months to escape the threat of the illness. They would travel and perform in each town as they continued up into England. At some point they would hit the midway point, just before Birmingham.... a little place called Stratford Upon Avon. It was here that a young William Shakespeare witnessed their performances and was introduced to the magic and play and theatre. The plague lasted a few years, so the players would make these trips into the regions more than once. Young Shakespeare would look forward to these visits with a hungry fascination that would stay with him throughout his life.
Soooo.... you know, great things can come out of shit situations like the one we're in now. New influences can happen, new waves begin.
It's actually a very exciting time to be around performance-wise. Many people have been affected by this horrible disease, lost family members, and not been able to say a proper goodbye. My heart aches for these people and I send them all my love and compassion. But I know, if we sing a little and dance a little, crack the odd joke here and there... we can make people feel better and look forward to brighter tomorrow ❤️