We need theatre.
To reflect on ourselves – on what it is to be human and what it is to be part of a society. A mature culture needs places where this reflection happens, places we can return to, to see ourselves on stage.
Theatre is one of the oldest art forms. The natural human desire to perform and to mimic one another, to frighten and be frightened, to cry, to laugh, to think, is something that we must have been doing from the very first moment that we developed language. It seems strangely paradoxical that theatre is both ancient and yet fleeting. Theatre only exists in the air between the audience and the performer, in those electric moments in which the play is taking place. Then it retreats immediately into memory. The sites we perform in and watch from, whether they’re carved into a hillside in Delphi or are in an old tomato sauce factory in Surry Hills, become special places in the collective memory of our culture. Belvoir St Theatre is one of those places, and I’ve been lucky enough to be a custodian of its two stages for five years. It’s a place of high emotion – joy, sadness, fear – and it’s a site that over the last 30 years has become very dear to this city.
Belvoir is of course more than a pair of wonderful stages. It is a great group of people. Every one of them is a true believer and passionate about making theatre, whether they’re selling tickets, building sets, making season books, schmoozing donors, inspiring children, sewing costumes, rigging lights, booking flights, pouring drinks or writing plays. In my time as Artistic Director I have been so wonderfully supported by these people in realising my artistic ambitions.
I have been enormously proud of the burst of creative energy that has accompanied my time here as Artistic Director. I feel a new generation of artists has really blossomed and that we’ll be seeing the fruits of that labour for many years to come on stages here and around the world.
This is the last season I’ll curate as the Artistic Director of Belvoir. And I’ve saved the best till last. This season is a corker. A lot of the work that we’ve done in these five years commissioning and developing new plays has borne fruit for 2015. We also have an Australian classic and newly re-imagined classic works from some of the finest directors in this country.
So go on, sign up! I won’t say goodbye right now because there’s a whole year yet to play out, but I will say THANK YOU. You can’t make theatre without an audience, and our subscribers are the most incredibly brave and loyal group you could possibly hope to perform for.
Let’s do it one more time.