Listening to "My Country": The National Theatre In February
In July 2016, the director of the National Theatre in London, Rufus Norris, announced a "listening project" post-Brexit, liasing with theatre companies up and down the UK. Quote:
“Art always responds to the time,” he said. “And this has been a huge wake-up call for all of us to realise that half the country feels that they have no voice. If we are going to be a national organisation we must speak to and for the nation. Our principal response is to listen: to listen to that voice and art will follow from that.
“We are an art house, we’re a theatre and we are going to be making work – quite what the form of that will be we will discover.”
A team of interviewers spoke to people around the country – from Leicester to Derry/Londonderry and Merthyr Tydfil to Glasgow – to hear their views of the country and town they live in, their lives, their future, and the referendum.
Using exact words taken from the interviews, My Country; a work in progress puts those conversations centre stage. Rufus Norris, Director of the National Theatre, collaborates with Carol Ann Duffy, Poet Laureate, to create this new performance which opens in London before playing at venues around the country.
Created in collaboration with; Citizens Theatre, Curve, Derry Playhouse, Live Theatre, National Theatre Wales, Sage Gateshead, Salisbury Playhouse and Strike A Light Festival in association with Cusack Projects Limited.
This kind of "verbatim theatre" could be a very useful method for engaging with communities about a new form of politics.