Why Does Your Theatre Matter?

Local theatres have always mattered and we live in a climate of libraries disappearing and theatres having rough times. And though they’re hard to define in pure financial
terms to a government or a council but they’re crucial to local community. If you have a real local theatre like
this is, it’s a pinpoint in a town and you move about and that’s your base
in any particular town. It has a constancy about it: you’re on tour and you’re
going to Winchester you know what that is, you’re going to that town you know
what that is. It is a circuit that we need and we
mustn’t lose it. A theatre isn’t just where there are shows and plays. The
theatre is part of the social life of a town or a city where people are mixing
and getting together and taking part in the experience together – so they are
very important. We love performing at the Theatre Royal a professional theatre on our doorstep
which we’re able to hire. We come together from all sections of the community and
it’s a fantastic way for us to let out our creative side in our grey dull lives. We don’t have that creative outlet but
when we come together we can sing, dance act and it’s a fantastic experience. But
then, to come into the Theatre Royal makes it even better: to share what we’re
doing with our family and friends and the wider community. You can’t beat the experience of sharing
an emotion together in this beautiful space. There’s so much going on in Winchester
in the arts, and as a company we are now being involved in lots of different
areas. We’re taking part in Winchester Mayfest
some of our company have been involved in Winchester Poetry Festival, we’re
hoping to be involved in the Woolly Hat Fair. There’s so much going on and it all
comes from the Theatre Royal. I think for the young people of Winchester the
theatre has to be one of the most important places that they can come across. And it’s really important to us that as a company made up of young people
from Winchester and the surrounding areas that they have that opportunity to come
in through the doors and to perform on the stage and feel what it’s like to
give back something to the town that they live in. It’s something that’s
almost intangible in a way but you become richer for it, for the experience. I think what’s so important for our
young people as well is that a world of theatre allows them to experience things
together as a group that they wouldn’t have the opportunity to if they didn’t
get involved in theatre in some way. And I think it breads better individuals, I
think it creates the most fantastic young people who go on to be something
special when they’re older and the memories that they carry, the friends
that they make that’s why local theatre is so
important, that’s why you have to have a theatre at the heart of your community. That’s why Winchester is so lucky:
because we have that theatre here. Local theatres matter because they almost act as a hub for the
local communities based around the city and even further afield within the Winchester or Hampshire district enabling people to access a whole realm
of art forms both indoors and, specifically for Theatre Royal, outdoor
theatre, with their large connection with the Hat Fair. Theatre Royal Winchester really matters a lot for us because they have supported us
from the very beginning of the company. One of the first commissions we got
was co-commissioned by the Hat Fair which runs its work from the Theatre Royal Winchester so
this theatre is actually amazing because it runs both outdoor and indoor sections. So first it’s doubly important because we obviously do indoor and outdoor work. In the past we’ve often
needed support or often last minute space as well and we’ve phoned up and gone – “quick, have you got any space we can use?” Theatre Royal
Winchester’s always been really accommodating and flexible and given us
space and given us lots of support and so all of that is really important to us
in our development as a young company. I enjoy the Youth Theatre because it’s really fun and you get to
learn a lot of skills; social skills was my main one. I made a lot of friends there. Through Silver Stage we’ve worked with
some really interesting people. We’ve worked with Tim from War Horse, and
Millie who’s running the course in Winchester Theatre. Anna, the voice coach; Callum… There’s several people who have all brought their own skills to it that we would never have had that opportunity to
work with otherwise. And it involves ordinary people, not just top actors that
need paying loads of money. Everybody can get involved in whatever sphere they’re interested in. It’s absolutely true, and I’m aware that Theatre Royal does outreach and Youth Theatre
and that sort of thing as well. My profession was teaching and, you know, it’s thrilling to think that these
children have got that experience at their age. It would be really sad if we
didn’t have a local theatre. It’s just great fun, just huge
experiences that at our age you don’t expect to be able to have, really. I’d have loved to have done it as a young person but the opportunities
weren’t there, but now they are. That’s right, things weren’t around when we were teenagers and so it’s lovely that it’s come about again because I love the theatre. Me too, and it’s an inspired idea actually, setting up a group for people of our age because you don’t get that
opportunity otherwise. I came along to see some puppetry, very
simple stuff, and it was so powerful – I wouldn’t have expected it to be one
of the highlights that I remember now. I do feel the theatre is a bit like a
city space and so when I come in to get a ticket or to check out some dates or
whatever it is I’m not surprised that there’s the ukulele orchestra or a choir or
something else, a talk going on in the foyer. One of the most important parts of the sponsorship is the fact
that we can entertain clients. We do a lot of sponsorship with sports
activities we sponsor football, cricket, golf and tennis which is
great and we’ll carry on doing that, but I think that being able to invite people
to the theatre means we can invite clients and their partners which
sometimes doesn’t apply if you’re going to sports events and that’s
very important to us. So I think that’s something we’ve certainly
benefited from our sponsorship both here and with other theatres. I would
encourage other people to take that opportunity. Local theatres are a sign of how vibrant a
community is. I think it’s important that they are representing the
community in which they work. I think they have a way of getting to
people which perhaps other art forms don’t. I think it’s engaging
people by coming to the theatre, by involving young people, people who may
have disabilities and older people who may have not had so much opportunity to
come to the theatre. So I think it’s a very good way of
engaging the community and that’s really why we wanted to be part of it.

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