Today we have our last rehearsal in the rehearsal space. Our little industrial theatre piece is looking good. Some friends and family have been invited to our final dress rehearsal at 2pm so they can see what we’ve been up to for the past few weeks. This cast of five (Ntombi Makhutshi, Anele Situlweni, Larissa Hughes, Keeno-Lee Hector and Daneel van der Walt) has been such a delight to work with that I am all inspired to keep them together, and we are chatting about doing a local, lekker pantomime for the end of the year!
Industrial theatre provides me with some amazing opportunities and insights. Here are some of them off the top of my head. A ready made audience for our work. There is nothing quite like performing to a huge crowd of 700 without having to beg, publicize, cajole and nag people to come. A budget for costumes, props and set. Being able to pay actors pretty decent salaries for them to get on with doing their jobs. The chance to work with really amazing performers. A window into the world of business, and its special circumstances.
Obviously there are a few downsides. The theatre snob in me wishes I was making pure art, and not message driven, service oriented stuff, helping a company sell more. The activist in me has ethical issues about the big business clients. The artist in me wants better stages, and lights and dressing rooms for the performers.
But on the whole it’s a pretty good deal!