When I first entered theatre, there was a feeling that to be accepted, you had to be part of the social circles that partied. The best young creatives also happened to be those who went to the parties, drank the most and formed a close-knit group. This has changed.
Not Too Tame – a company I admired, but had never met or even talked about working with – got in touch and said they too were fans of panto and so, in 2018, we got together and made Cinderella to tour to pubs in areas of low cultural capital. Seabright saw it and picked it up for a commercial run this year.
Similarly, in 2013, I met theatre company Middle Child through Twitter after talking about my love of John McGrath and making work for places that might not have a large traditional theatre audience but respond to plays in different forms.
I had never been to Hull before, but we went to make Weekend Rockstars and Ten Storey Love Song at Hull Truck, along with All We Ever Wanted at the city’s Welly Club, then at Paines Plough Roundabout and the Bush. It has been and still is one of the longest-standing collaborations I have had in theatre.
When I made both these connections, I was living in Liverpool, detached from the social side of the industry I thought was necessary to thrive.
The significance of these meetings is threefold. Firstly, introverts can now talk, publicly, and with eloquence, about their art, politics and utopias without having to play the extrovert. Secondly, we no longer have to be living in London to meet fellow artists with a shared vision for theatre. And finally, meeting people lets us share the weight of turning our ideas into reality and motivates and inspires us to be the change we want to see.
Twitter is an invaluable tool for artists; we meet people who can help us achieve our goals
Twitter is an invaluable tool for artists, connecting us to worlds that we would never encounter in our day-to-day lives. It gives a voice to the voiceless – see how it spread the message of Black Lives Matter and #MeToo. It connects us to perspectives that allow us to interrogate our own, making us more rounded as artists and individuals. We can see the universe debate itself. We meet people who can help us achieve our goals.
There is a dark side. If you miss the mark on something, you will feel like you’re the thickest, most ill-educated and inconsiderate person around. Nevertheless, it stops your view from being limited to your cultural or geographical community and it helps you meet people that might make your work better, deeper, more rigorous and – most importantly – a reality.
Meeting Middle Child and Not Too Tame has changed my life. It’s helped me see what my role in theatre and British culture is. Cinderella is everything I want theatre to be; bold, populist, political and most of all, a good night out with the world’s biggest ideas in it. And it wouldn’t have happened without Twitter.