With Chris White, who runs our MA Theatre Directing, to The Bush tonight to try and get into John Donnelly's new play The Knowledge, part of a season of plays looking at the current state of education and the first sign that writers are beginning to engage with some of the themes emerging from the Coalition Britain. It's playing in rep with Little Platoons, Steve Waters take on the 'free schools.'
Unfortunately we didn't book in advance and were just pipped in the queue for returns. So we spent our ticket money on the texts and retreated into the pub to catch up. Chris is always good value and full of sense both about theatre and education. He's an eternal optimist, full of new schemes and approaches which made it a delightful evening.
I flicked through the plays on the way home. They seemed really interesting, which made me sorry to have missed the show. I suspect the next few years are going to be a ripe time for a re-emergence of the state of the nation play and that these might come thick and fast as The Big Society bumps and grinds its way forward. After the years of plenty, the theatre is once again in the firing line, with cuts bound to take severe effect in the very near future. New writing will, as it's always done, provide a prism through which to construct a political defence. The early years of New Labour provided a boon time for writers who wanted to conduct a visceral analysis into the alienation of our consumer culture. As the new broom of spending cuts sweeps through the public services the response may be a more direct attack on those who are compiling the legislation.
It could be an exciting time.