One of the things I’m keen for this blog to do is reflect what it’s actually like for, to use a term I’m sure is a bit waffly, an “emerging theatre company”. By this I mean: the bad stuff, and the dull stuff and stuff that makes you wake up at 2.30am in a cold sweat as well as the oh-we-made-a-show-and-it-was-so-much-fun stuff.
Which is maybe why it’s taken me some time to write this blog post.
“You know that dream you have about festivals…” I said to a good friend who also happens to make stuff. Immediately I saw the look of horror spread across his face.
“No, not the dream where the actor forgets all the lines and there’s no audience except for a solitary reviewer who absolutely hates the show and you end the night vomiting in a gutter having lost a large portion of your clothing, several thousand pounds and all of your dignity. The dream dream. The one that you’re not supposed to believe actually happens.”
My friend nods.
“I think…I think it sort of happened.”
We’ve lived some time with Beneath the Albion Sky and, as I’ve discussed before, it’s not always been the smoothest of processes. Of course when, as a company, you’re writing and making and producing the play there are inevitably moments when putting your head in a blender would come as welcome release. Maybe when the Albion Sky journey is complete (for we still have quite a long way to go with it yet) I will blog about all of those bits.
But, for now, it’s probably a fair representation to say that we had an utterly brilliant time at Ignite. Great word of mouth, lovely full audiences who laughed and awwed and held their breath slightly in all the right places (and, most excitingly, in places which were entirely right but we hadn’t realised were there), an awesome review in Wildfire (the festival’s daily publication), people coming to see the show because they’d seen the scratch back in November and, just when we were back in London and in danger of coming down from our festival-sugar-rush, news that Albion Sky had been chosen for one of the Critics’ Choice awards as one of the Wildfire Five.
(If you’re really, really interested you can see all of that in our storify of what people said about Albion where it’s been handily gathered together for your – and indeed our parents – ease of reference.)
But that’s just half of what made Ignite so special. Chatting in bars with other theatremakers and the wonderful discounted tickets for performers to see shows in the festival and the buzz and excitement and the willingness of everyone to take risks and to see work as more of a journey of the company than as a one off piece and lemon meringue ice cream in the sunshine and Exeter being bloody beautiful and £3 doubles and dreaming up a new play idea at midnight and…I could go on but it would be sappy and it would probably require you to roll your eyes A LOT.
I’m sure I will return to Albion Sky and some of the things – as writers – that we learnt from it over the course of the rehearsal process and the festival and maybe it shall be serious and intelligent and make some sense.
But for now I’m just leaving you with how gloriously, heart-burstingly happy Ignite made us.