The future is ... postponed. But we can dream...
Strange times globally. The Covid-19 pandemic started as a distant news item - a tragedy for China and swept across the world in a matter of days to the far reaches of the UK. Whether you are in central London or a sleepy Highland village in Scotland, the virus has come right to our door. And it's genuinely frightening. For the economy, for our industry and for the health of all of us. For those older friends and relatives we cannot visit just now.
For our industry, social by nature, it's going to be far reaching and who knows what the long term impact will be? Immediately theatres scrambled to fundraise, to lessen the impact that this will have and exposes just how hand to mouth we live in the arts but also our funded organisations are vulnerable too. We are used to being resilient. We are used to living cheap. We are used to change. We are ever resourceful. But there is a limit too. Our government will be tested to the maximum and its attitude to whether the arts matter at all to them, will be tested. Respected organisations can't afford to pay people. Theatres politely request we don't ask for refunds to keep them afloat. Actors shipped home from tour are seeking employment in supermarkets, their heads full of lines they will no longer speak, of lost opportunities. We know the arts are fundamental to the human spirit. It's going to be tough. So let's baton down the hatches and let the scientists kick this thing into the long grass whilst we read and play, write, plan - dream as best we can. Collaborate, self educate, ruminate and rest. Get out into nature - hearing the Spring birds tweet their song unaware of the virus, is life affirming and reassuring. Because when it's all over, we'll need all the energy we can muster to bounce back. And we will be ready and appreciative of our regained freedom. Meantime, if you are anxious, you can call MIND on 0300 123 3393 for a chat.