A PLACE OF SAFETY
by Park Theatre
“I felt so free to experiment in the improvisations, and also to throw in ideas – I think we all did. It was a lovely group.”
This is from an email I received the other day from one of our N4 Stories actors, talking about the year we spent researching and experimenting with what is now Closer Than The Jugular, a play set in Finsbury Park that will be part of The Park’s opening season.
A few days after this email, in an interview about The Park for the new StageWon website, I found myself talking about how I began writing. It all started in an acting workshop with Oded Kotler of Israel’s national theatre, in which I was surprised that the first thing we were asked to do was sit down and write something.
It’s not something we’re often asked to do as actors, and we were all caught a bit off-guard. But because of the atmosphere of trust and safety that Oded created from the moment we walked into the theatre, we all felt free to take risks and be vulnerable with each other.
That’s how I wrote my first speech, which became my first scene, which became my first play … which finally led to me being here, as Writer in Residence of The Park.
And so that email about N4 Stories took me both back in time – to the moment when, for me, a spark was lit – and forward to the future of The Park.
This is why I hope that the Education Floor will reach its entire fundraising target and be able to operate at full throttle. Because one of its primary functions will be to provide a space where people within the profession and beyond – youngsters, the elderly, those who would not normally set foot in a theatre – will feel safe and encouraged enough to create, to break down barriers and to be bold.
Because The Park Theatre is nothing if not bold.