Telling stories with imagination.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Metta likes... Theatres

Despite our last tour being deliberately outside them one thing that we really like at Metta is theatres. Not just because they often house our plays, and even because they often house other plays, companies or performers that we really like. We are very fond of the buildings themselves.

For some theatres it's easy to see why. I recently made my fist ever visit to the Old Vic, and spent a sizeable amount of the interval craning my neck towards the ceiling and admiring what is an undeniable beautiful building. It's one of many in London that has a real feeling of 'theatre' and a sense of history built into it.

But then there are the more modern venues, the smaller spaces, the arts centres and the tiny pub theatres. The beauty of these places isn't always so obvious - it can be hidden behind concrete slabs or up hard-to-find staircases, tucked away above pubs and beneath conference centres. However, each and every performance space that I've ever visited, either as an artist or an audience member, has possessed the same air of excitement.

That's what I love about them - the feeling that you're entering a creative space, a space where imagination can be given free rein and Things Can Happen.

Every space is unique and offers you different opportunities. Every empty stage is a blank canvas (in the case of our Sexing the Cherry, with its projected animation, literally so). Theatres hold a massive power to transform. They can switch location and feel not just from production to production, but from scene to scene.

My favourite moment of transformation comes when the working lights are switched off. Even rough and ready fringe venues with battered floors and decaying blacks turn into something quite extraordinary once the stage lights are on.

Ultimately, each theatre space has almost palpable potential - just looking at a bare stage in working lights is a chance to consider everything that could be created there. And that's why we love them.

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