Editorial

Feature in Issue 19-3 | Autumn 2007

Welcome to the new look Total Theatre!

We’ve made some changes to the design of the magazine, but more vitally we are in the middle of a shift for Total Theatre that radically alters its purpose as an organisation. Founded (over 20 years ago) as a support network for artists working in physical/visual theatre, Total Theatre is consciously expanding its remit. We are now here, ready willing and able, to develop contemporary theatre and performance, for theatre-makers of all sorts and for audiences. A ‘total theatre’ indeed!

But with many of the artists that we have supported over the years entering the mainstream – Kneehigh at the National, Complicite and Hoipolloi at the Barbican, Peepolykus in the West End, Punchdrunk performing a large-scale site specific piece to thirty thousand people, to name but a few achievements – does Total Theatre, as a support organisation, still need to exist? Isn’t the battle won? We feel that inroads have been made, but there’s a way to go yet, so we are ready for the challenge. A few gauntlets thrown our way: a recent special issue of The Observer managed a focus on British theatre that didn’t mention any of the above-named companies; street arts, puppetry, live art and circus (reviewed and featured regularly in Total Theatre Magazine) remain undervalued within the media, for the most part lacking critical appraisal due to ignorance or disinterest; provincial venues nationwide are often reluctant to programme work that is other than a ‘regular play’ by a known author, starring a TV personality, as they fear a lack of audience for innovative contemporary theatre. So plenty still to do!

You will hopefully see changes in the organisation reflected in the changing content of the magazine over the next few issues as we take a more outward and inclusive view. In this current issue, you’ll see that we have a number of new features. There’s the first of what will be a regular column from our new creative director Pippa Bailey called Out & About. Voices is an opportunity to hear first-hand from key contemporary theatre-makers: the first being Emma Rice from Kneehigh Theatre. In a special focus for this issue, we reflect on the state of the art for street arts. There’s an audience with writer/ performer extraordinaire Tim Crouch; a reflection on disabled artists’ work at the Singapore Fringe; a look at interesting new work by Curious and Chopped Logic that in very different ways tackles the subject of young women trafficked into prostitution; and a report on the recent UK tour by body artist Fakir. Reviews include reports from London, Brighton, Birmingham and Manchester. Our extended News & Previews section flags up key news and coming events for August to October, and as always Company Updates features the goings-on of artists and companies who are part of the Total Theatre family. We hope very much that you like what you find inside these pages. Any comments are as always very welcome!

This article in the magazine

Issue 19-3
p. 4