Well Meaning Regional Arts Centres – And Proud of It
I’ve been quite angry this week.
Anger is a basic human emotion, connected to our ‘fight, flight or freeze’ instincts – it prepares us to fight. Being angry about something can be quite useful – it can help identify problems or things we don’t like or feel are unjust, and it can motivate us to create change. When we feel angry and want to fight, this doesn’t have to be physical, we can fight by changing our behaviour.
I’m not generally a very angry person but Dominic Cavendish’s tweet (theatre critic, the Telegraph) certainly brought out my fighting instinct. It felt like a real slur on so many things – including the ‘regions’, arts centres and of course, decisions the Royal Court have made.
My challenge to explain what he meant and apologise to regional arts centres went unanswered. I wanted to tweet again and again, expressing more and more anger, but I knew it was pointless and wouldn’t actually achieve anything. Anger uses up energy, and I figured I could put that energy to better use.
I have worked in regional arts centres for more than 25 years, not because I haven’t been able to get a job in a ‘proper’ theatre, but because I’ve chosen to.
It’s where I feel at home, and where I feel I can make the most difference. That’s why I work in the arts – to make a difference. To help tell some of the stories that we never hear. And that’s how I choose to fight, by helping to change the behaviour of the world by challenging the dominant norms.
So yes Dominic, I’m proud to work in a well-meaning regional arts centre. And I am not going to waste an ounce of energy being angry with you any more, instead I am going to channel that energy into making sure that slowly but surely, other people’s voices begin to drown yours out.