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When “Techies” Get Outside: Getting Rid Of A Theatre Tan

outside
By Tom Warneke

The sun is shining, the weather is sweet here…

Truer words have never been spoken. Thanks to Bob Marley, I have an epitaph to my recent run of shows here in Dubai. For the past three months, I’ve worked on a near constant run of outdoor events and concerts and it got me thinking;

How great is being outside?

While I spent years working on my theatre tan, dwelling in and around all the black boxes, proscenium arches and studio venues I could muster, I feverishly set about never seeing natural light in a pursuit of helping designers and directors tell stories. It didn’t bother me that Vitamin D deficiency was dangerously high on my to-do list and that sunglasses were about as useful to me as would be chopsticks to a sloth, I worked in theatre and accepted my fate that natural light would always elude me.

I love theatre and still relish the time I spend in it but I also find my career moving in new and varying ways – case in point, Dubai, where theatre is absent from my roster of activities.

Once over the initial heartbreak of never being able to use the terms ‘prompt’ or ‘opposite prompt’ in this environment, I was given the gift of natural light.

How have I missed this? Weeks have been spent on festival sites and gigs in the sun and what of it? I feel happier, healthier and do my job better because of it.

Like many of us, we take sunlight for granted but I can tell you, it makes all the difference. Not only does sunlight raise our levels of Vitamin D (which promotes the immune system as well as human cell growth), it also increases oxygen levels in the blood, lowers blood pressure, lowers cholesterol, kills bad bacteria and can help cure depression. The sun literally makes you live longer.

So,what of it? You’re too busy to go outside? I used to say that. It’s a total lie. I was part of a team on a certain mega show that bemoaned often of ‘the building’ in which it resided. This theatre was windowless, even in the offices and common areas. This meant to see the sun was a trip outside.

But you’re too busy? You have schedules to write? There’s nowhere outside to really go? It’s too far away in the elevator? These are all excuses. Push through it.  Make yourself disconnect and take 10 minutes every two hours to get outside and you’ll see all the difference in the world.

Our team started making our weekly meeting both offsite and outside and immediately we noticed a change – we were more open, more friendly, discussion was perhaps more liberal and longer but we solved problems better and we connected more. People’s moods improved and ultimately, people were more productive, more communicative and more happy.

So, my challenge to you dear reader is to get outside.

Lock your computer, put down your prompt copy, step away from your go button, hang up your tool belt and get outside.

It will make you more refreshed when you come back inside and you might start liking outside more and more.

 

Also by Tom Warneke:

The Art Of The Sabbatical

Ramadan For Beginners

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