Rod’s Blog 20.03.12
So. The NHS has gone. We have lost free health care – probably forever. The Tories and the Limp Dems have decided that following the disastrous model of the private system in the US will be sustainable – no I mean – profitable. I’m not in the least bit surprised by how undemocratic this all is. Why would we think our vote will make any difference? The state is geared towards maintaining a crumbling system and those in ‘power’ will do absolutely anything to cling on. Privatisation is doomed to fail and always has done – our private rail system is a shambles, our private water companies charge us more but water quality is poorer than ever…and then there are the huge and expanding profits being stockpiled by the energy companies – all privately owned and giving a poor service. Cameron is about to sell-off the road system – a private road system will be easier to police, “You can’t march on this street – it’s private”. The City of London already has its own police force manning private streets – this week we saw an SUV with police armed with machine guns attending the NHS protest march. A private police force will not worry about public opinion when it uses water cannon or other weapons against ‘undesirables’.
In the face of this gradual loss of our rights, loss of our political voice, loss of our freedom is it realistic to fight back? What would ‘fighting back’ entail?
Where I live there is a thriving Transition Town movement. In fact, in Hebden Bridge there are a significant number of people who, like me, have spent many years opposing this insane world – people who have put themselves in the front line of actions such as Reclaim the Streets, the Camp for Climate Action and now we’re all a bit older and longer in the tooth and we have kids and…and …and…yeah we’re still angry and believe in anarchy – but when you get to your early fifties you begin to feel as if another shouty protest is just going nowhere and there has to be another more powerful approach to social change. Mine is making theatre and communicating another world through the stories of our long struggles or through stories that have yet to be told. But the Transition Town movement is interesting. It is essentially an intelligent response to coping with the dwindling resources that everyone in the capitalist world is ignoring. When oil becomes too expensive to use because it has become very expensive to extract we have no choice but to find a way to localize food production, reduce our energy use and become more communal in our existence. No choice. Sounds a bit dogmatic – it is a bit dogmatic – but it is a reality.
Recently, Hebden Bridge Transition Town sent out a challenge – to envisage life in 2027 in our community. My wonderful, inspiring, strong, intelligent, radical mother-in-law wrote the following response – which is as much of a provocation than a vision. Read it. Then please respond – and if you would like to join a discussion group to explore the topic then please email me – you don’t have to be a resident of Hebden Bridge to engage with this.
Meanwhile – the artistic team for Promised Land is nearly complete. The energetic Pauline Mayers and the enthusiastic Beccy Owen are Choreographer and Musical Director and last week we had a really sparky and exciting meeting planning the workshop auditions which take place on March 31st and April 1st. There will be three opportunities for local people to take part in three hour long workshops that weekend in order to be offered a place in the Promised Land company.The details of where these workshops take place are on the Promised Land Take Part page of the website.
Anthony Clavane and Nick Stimson are writing the next draft of the script – probably as I type – and Tim Skelly our Lighting Designer has been offering his years of experience in helping dramaturg the piece. Kelly Jago (who designed Bittersweet Sunshine in 2010) is going to design the set and Naomi Parker is costume designer. With a cast of up to 40 actors plus musicians this is going to be a large scale piece and I’m really looking forward to working in a big rehearsal room again with the support of Beccy, Pauline and Simon Brewis as Assistant Director.
I’ve come back to this blog after an hour or two in a meeting and found that Nick has sent the next draft of the play – so I’m signing off in order to read it! Keep watching the website and following our Twitter feed (@redladdertheatr) for Promised Land updates.
About Rod: Rod became Artistic Director of Red Ladder Theatre Company in 2006, following his role as associate director at the Barbican Theatre in Plymouth. He has also ran The Hub Theatre School in Cornwall and been an actor with several companies including Kneehigh Theatre. Directing credits for Red Ladder include Where’s Vietnam?, Forgotten Things, Riot, Rebellion & Bloody Insurrection, Ugly, Sex & Docks & Rock ‘N’ Roll, Big Society! and Promised Land. Rod is both a life-long Liverpool supporter and a believer in Proudhon’s principles of anarchy – the two might be connected.