The Pledge Book
Theatre Pledge 2010

The idea for the Theatre Pledge 2010 arose from a meeting of theatre makers on 27th November. The gathering had spent two days debating how the theatre scene in the West Midlands could be improved. There had been lots of calls for greater external support yet it seemed clear that much of what people really craved could be delivered by people in the room and their circle of connections.

People wanted larger audiences coming to see their shows. They wanted audiences that were more willing to explore and be surprised. They wanted theatre to be talked about more and to be part of that discussion. They wanted a greater sense of connection and cohesion.

The simple first steps towards this are in our own hands. How many times do we go to the theatre? How many people do we personally invite to the theatre each year? How often do we take time to comment on other people's work? How often do we reach out a sociable hand towards others.

If the hundred people in that meeting each visited the theatre 12 times in the year that would be 1200 tickets sold. If they each took another person with them that would be 2400 tickets sold and 1200 new people introduced to theatre who may come again. If everyone invited 8 people round for a social that would be 800 people invited to socials with all the conversations that involves.

Rather than looking for someone to descend from on high to solve all our problems we should look towards a grass-roots revival.

The pledges were hastily sketched and met with broad approval so 1000 have now been printed up. In the unlikely event that all pledge cards were completed this would be 24000 tickets sold, now that really would be something.

Cards are being distributed around the theatres of Birmingham. They can also be downloaded from here. Those cards which are completed by the end of the year will entitle the holder to a special celebratory event late in 2010. Good Luck and Enjoy Your Theatre wherever it is and whatever it looks like.

James Yarker, 11 December, 2009

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