Belvoir Doors

I’d just come home from seeing Bell Shakespeare’s Actors At Work’s Hamlet Intensive (written by Ned Manning and William Shakespeare and directed by Matt Edgerton), I had put my laundry on, taken off my boots- and out of casual obligation I open my email to find this image in my inbox. Sent by multiple sources.

Tonight is the briefing at Belvoir about the changes to the B-Sharp season- and the press releases, emails, articles in the SMH, have done little to quell the reaction to the decision to end B-Sharp’s existence as we know it as the “Independent” wing of Company B, Belvoir St Theatre. I have withheld my personal views and opinions- and my fears about the impact this could have on the sector and theatre culture in Sydney- and I will express these- once I have heard the plans and been given a clear picture of what this decision really means.

I am always one for hearty debate- always one for discussion… and that is why I will be attending tonight. I am keen to hear the thinking-the parameters of the participant involvement. I am keen to hear the questions from Independent artists and I was planning on reporting back later tonight (all all who are unable to attend). Though I applaud anyone having an opinion- and think highest of those who act on their opinions and judgements with conviction and idealism… I am a little saddened by these notes attached to the doors…

Primarily because this type of protest feels like it needs to be anonymous. No name attached. And what saddens me is that people don’t feel free/ able to have an honest dialogue with this theatre. Why is that? Is it because in the rennovation and expansion of Company B that there seems a greater wall between admin and artist? There was a time when artists in the bsharp space had a dressing room that shared a flimsy wall with the administrators in the main building. But this has changed. Is it a case of artist paranoia- or is this an actual shut out of the independent sector? If so, what is the best way to respond?

Is a sign taped to the front door of a theatre sign of a more systemic problem… or perception about how theatre administration and artists interact?

I recall a time when Artistic Directors went to see independent shows- I remember when Nevin’s hair was a silvern beacon in the front row of a b-sharp show… but rarely do we see AD’s or theatres operating beyond their own companies.

I find it interesting that this decision was announced first and then a meeting was called… as opposed to a decision which is founded out of a meeting of/with the sector.

What has happened that this is how we feel we can best discuss things? What is it that we are afraid of? The thing I am most afraid of, is the fact that artists are afraid of having discussion or dialogue or opinion. This is the cornerstone of our art. Dialogue. Yes, protest. Yes, be heard… but lets do it bravely and honestly and together… and let’s hear what is happening first.