So, we're an ambitious company made up of a core duo of ambitious people. We're not like that through an excess of ego. We're like that because we fully believe in changing the face of theatre in this country and want to ride that message out far and wide.
But ambition, hope and good intentions can be hard task masters when you're starting up.
Our 5 year plan, written about a year into our life after only 1 project was completed, speaks to our passion. It speaks to our drive and it speaks to all the things we have learned through our work in the arts and community engagement up to this point. It contains plans for national tours, for work in community centres the length of the country, for partnerships with established names, for a brilliant new music hall called 'The Lunatic Fringe', for pantomimes, for apprenticeships, for 'each-on-teach-one' sessions, for a total of about 63 separate products or performances that would each help to build a new community of its participants in the theatre. And it makes absolute sense as a set of logical , justifiable progressions. And it is, in theory, achievable.
In theory. Life doesn't seem to hold much truck with theories does it? No. Not much at all. Neither do those people who sign the cheques for your work. They like to delay start dates. They like to change project ideas and generally do everything to mess up your neat and tidy 5 year plan! How rude of them. How inconsiderate.
Or maybe you're expecting too much? Possibly a little patience would help. A little perspective.
But that's the game isn't it? You make your plan and it helps you identify all those things you want to do, those crazy beautiful ideas, and then you have to plan how to get there. And then things change and you are forced to decide whether those things are intrinsic to your work, your goals and your sense of fulfillment or whether they can unceremoniously get put on the scrap heap. That's the challenge: to flex and bend but not to break. And remember some things are just going to take longer than you thought. Be patient.
As an example we had a wonderful project called BONDS about youth work lined up with 5 top charity partners, a great writer, some great research material and some great venues to play in. The prep work took aaaaggggeeeesss. And then we didn't get the funding signed off. All the work had been for nothing!! But then a month later when wounds had been licked we looked at it again. And we still liked it. And we still thought it would be amazing. So we rejigged it, got inventive, pushed it back a year and we're going to try it again. F@*k the year plan.
Up to this point that has been the only major hitch in the plan, though it was a painful one, but what it taught was invaluable. It is not having that initial blaze of passion that will make things work. It is having the blaze and then the strength, persistence, patience and flexibility to carry the flame through to the finish.