Sunday, 6 July 2014

Save Red Ladder Theatre Company

Red Ladder gave me my first break as a writer. When everyone else said 'you're not experienced enough' they just said 'yes'. Looking back, no doubt i wasn't experienced enough, but that 1st job was gold dust to me. I learnt so much. And if there is no place for people to learn, then we shall be having Shakespeare and Alan Bennet for breakfast, dinner and tea until its time to die. There we are. That's the facts. So, yep, I would not be a playwright now if it were not for Red Ladder and there are many like me who got their first or an important break with this company... But put that personal experience aside for a moment... Being objective, they are brave and radical and they put their money where their mouth is. There are few like them. While the theatre world wrings its hands about diversity and appealing to a wider range of audience and blah blah blah etc etc (while largely doing little about it) Red Ladder has consistently tried to make work about stuff that matters to (a wide range of) ordinary people. Be that raising political awareness or celebrating working class history or at a nuts and bolts level providing support / opportunities for artists who don't have money. Red Grit was a free scheme giving actors free professional training, with the chance of a professional job at the end of it... Yes! More gold dust...And I haven't even mentioned where Red Ladder tour to yet!  They tour / play places that non-theatre people go to. They fill city varieties, they tour to working men's clubs and schools and sure, while they may not be cool or hip, let me tell you they and what they do are more 'important' than 99.9999% of the hot air that gets touted as such on a daily basis on Twitter / Facebook. They are not perfect. Who is? But this company by anyone's standards creates excellent work. Just check out the reviews for 'Wrong Un' by Boff Whalley and performed by Ella Harris - it was awesome theatre... So to my point... Red Ladder have constantly tried to make great art inspired by and infused with radical thinking while trying to put those principles into practice in the way they bring their work to the stage. Which is pretty extraordinary/beautiful really isn't it?  How many others can honestly say that?  For that reason alone Red Ladder Theatre Company are awesome and for real (not just hot air up yer bum) important... Even so, on Tuesday last week they were cut 100% by Arts Council England... This decision is a terrible mistake. Please support this great theatre company as it works to find a new future. If you have a spare £10 they could do with it. They have a fundraising page here, if you don't, please help spread the word. Long Live Red Ladder. #GisATenner

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