“This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity. No need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilisations heal.” – Toni Morrison 

This month of August is always an exciting one in theatre. Up and down the four nations of the UK (and beyond), artists, companies, professionals, non-professionals and audiences are drawn to Edinburgh and its festivals. These festivals founded in hope, in the spirit of collaboration and celebration.  This year Spare Tyre is delighted to be among them as we present our bold, powerful and mesmeric take on Nights on the Circus.  

For me, this August has an added level of anticipation and adventure because I’ve just started to meet the team, our artists and our partners. I’ve been given that most precious gift – TIME – to dream a bit, listen a lot and start on the creation of a new artistic programme for 2020/21. It’s a thrill to be here and I can’t wait to meet more of you soon.  

I keep saying – because it’s true and it’s my hobby – that it’s important to see how the garden grows before replanting.  So this first year will see an evolution – things familiar (The Garden and the final part of the Trilogy - Love Unspoken) in Autumn juxtaposed with shoots of things new, some research and development of ideas with new and familiar faces. 

“New is interesting … it’s like being awake” says Laurie Anderson. 

I have lots of questions, questions are what make me get out of bed in the morning – but one thing I knew for certain right from the time I saw the job advertisement: 

The rebellious spirit behind the call to action that saw the creation of this wonderful company 40+ years ago is still with us. Some of the victories that we thought were already won need to be reframed and reclaimed along with others just as urgent. And who knows better than Spare Tyre how important theatre is, where-ever it happens – in a care home, day centre or a public stage – in making seismic shifts for individuals and for social change? Companies like Spare Tyre with their passion for co-creation and amplification of the voices that society too often silences or ignores, have never been more needed than we are now. 

I join Spare Tyre as Artistic Director just as the company enters its glorious forties, fortified by the legacies of Clair, Arti and all their collaborators and supporters. In these times of uncertainty, Spare Tyre will remain a beacon of optimism and a place where creativity, originality, difference and togetherness will be promoted and highlighted. 

And in that spirit of togetherness I thank Arti, Louise, Gemma, Sarah and the Board for making me so welcome.

More about our plans soon! 

Until then – I’m packing a rain coat, good shoes and it’s off to Edinburgh, to speak, to write, to go to work.