by Jez Bond

The past few days at the Old Bailey have been a fantastic experience.

Sitting in a jury of my peers, I have listened to the defence and the prosecution argue their case, I have heard witnesses give evidence and watched defendants examined and cross examined in the witness box.

Throughout the entire process, one thing has been obvious – that the tradition, the pomp and ceremony, the setting and the vernacular are each important contributions to the theatre of the court.

Much like an audience in the circle of a playhouse, a congregation sit in the viewing gallery each day, watching the spectacle unfold below where men and women adorned with wigs talk sit in leather cushioned benches and chairs, putting forward their cases and presiding over affairs with customary flair.

But what of us, the jury, a randomly selected uncostumed few who break the line between audience and performer? We sit in a unique position, providing a vital role the experience of which challenges the emotional and dramatic power of the stage.

Soon I will return to my real life and leave this theatre behind. But which is truly the real and which the fake? One is a result of the human condition and the other helps define it. Whilst I firmly believe that the key to social creative advancement lies in the world of sound effects, trap doors and fake blood, I will constantly be reminded that very similar yet hugely different theatre is taking place every day.

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