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The Old Vic

Tinuke Craig, Baylis Director, The Old Vic

What has the journey been like to get back to theatres opening, for you? 

I think I was particularly fortunate, in that I got to do quite a lot of digital work. And sort of trying out some of the first turn livestream shows and shows that were kind of broadcast into people’s homes rather than at theatre. And that was really exciting and actually quite an interesting innovation. I hope that continues because I think it means that people who are for whatever reason, unable to get to the theatre, get to see a little bit more.  

So that was a sort of happy accident, but I think now that we’re moving back into actual in-person theatre, it’s really exciting. I think we’re all really, we’ve all really missed it. That’s one of the things when you do a job that’s quite fun, we genuinely missed it. But I think we are all a bit anxious about… theatre’s such a precarious industry anyway, and it’s so uniquely positioned. If anybody gets Covid, the whole show gets shut down, you know.  

There’s a decent amount of anxiety in the air. But I think we’re trying to be hopeful and come up with better models so that we can keep making work under weird circumstances. 

And how are you finding it being back?  

I’m really enjoying it. For the first couple of shows back. I felt like I was a bit rusty and sort of a bit… Like, do I even remember how to do this? Can I even direct anymore? Could I ever direct? But I think actually everyone has been really compassionate and in the same position. I think there are some big changes that we need to make to our industry in order to make it more accessible. That’s always been the case, but I think the pandemic slightly highlighted where the inequalities are and where the kind of barriers to be able to make theatre stick up.  

I’m hopeful that it’s taught us a lesson and we might be able to make some changes there. I know I’m trying to make my rehearsal rooms a bit more inclusive in ways that maybe we maybe haven’t talked about before. To do with people having care responsibilities and that kind of thing. So yeah, basically I feel we’re all a bit like little Bambis trying to walk again. But we want to walk, so it’s good. 

What did you miss most about live performance, do you think? 

Weirdly, I think the thing I really missed was sort of the social aspects of it. Going and meeting up with your friend and sitting down, experiencing something together and then sitting in the bar afterwards and talking about it. I think the immediateness, the event of it. I’ve missed plays and I’ve missed actors and I’ve missed text and I’ve missed all the things that theatre is, but I think I’ve also just really missed experiencing an event with other people. I think it’s really exciting. It’s the thing that I’m ultimately in it for. That’s the thing that I really missed. Because you couldn’t do that at home, even with the online stuff.