27 March 2021

Dear Colleagues,

Today I met a couple of actors in their new brand-new home during one of my daily So Good to Zoom You calls. In an attempt to explain that these 30 mins oases in a day full of Zoom meetings are as important to me as they (and others) have said it is to them - I said that I think of myself as being part of the same community as them, in a co-dependent ecology that needs everyone and therefore, you are my colleagues – whether we have worked or will work together in the future or not. And I really mean that.

I know that the independent sector is hurt. I know that you’ve felt ignored. I know that you’ve felt no one had your back during this crisis that hit us all, but hit us all very differently, and some of us more than others. I know that you’re waiting to see the change we all need but that you had the courage to stand up and demand.

I want you to know that at Northern Stage we value you and we need you. Without you, I’m a director in an empty rehearsal room eating all the biscuits. Without you, there are no words to remind us that we’re not alone, no stories to give us a language for the things we think and feel that we can’t believe could have been thought and felt before. Without you, the stage is in darkness. Without you, the silence is flat and empty. Without you, there are no sets, no choice, no range, no visual context, no movement, no accurate dialect, no props, no book, no costumes, no quick changes, no flying, no collaboration, no held breaths, no applause, no magic, no hope. Without you, theatre doesn’t work.

So we need you.

As I settle into the next phase of the job – less reactive (please) and more proactive (yes please), I need to know who you are, where you are and what’s important to you. I’ve had an absolute blast meeting over 25 of you so far in the March So Good to Zoom You sessions . I know that they sold out quickly and some people missed out. So, on Monday 29 March, we’ll be releasing another 365 slots as I commit to meeting one of you each day for one year. Because you’re all important – not just those with the fastest fingers.

As we move into the next phase of This is Us – taking audiences from their homes back into the region – we need you. In our Neighbourhood Brief we’re inviting you to collaborate with your neighbourhood making work for the places, spaces and people that you know and live alongside. We’re going to make this one together, we’re going to get Out on the Toon together.

As we start to get our theatre making engine going, we’re thinking about how we can include the freelance voice in how we reanimate our building, our processes and our thinking. We will need you then too.

We might not be moving as quickly as you’d like us to but believe me, we’re moving – come on the journey with us because we need you.

Holding you close,

Natalie