Times are tough and the news is grim. Daisy and Pablo were in need of some hope, so they thought they should make a show about it. They wanted it to be a show about the triumph of hope, but it turned out that things are not as simple as that. They are knotted and complex. Hope and hopelessness hold hands. So this is a show about determination and resilience, about not giving up, about keeping going despite the odds. Hope is hard work, and it’s even harder when you go it alone – but perhaps something will happen if we’re all in a room together. Here’s hoping…
In early summer 2016, Pablo and Daisy of Accidental Collective approached me to work with them on their show about hope. Their timing was superb. For various reasons, as an artist, as a human, as a British and a European citizen, I was finding hope hard to come by.
On the 23rd of June, baffled along with everyone else about what might happen next, I wrote to both of them — ‘This is it: the stakes have gone up’
And so we started.
And so we started to discover, remember, dismantle and reassemble everything we thought we knew about hope.
It has felt right to take the time to do so, right now.
For each of you, hope will mean something different. Perhaps, if you are a bit like me, you are worried sometimes that you don’t know what your hopes are. Or that you are hoping for the wrong thing. It’s a risk.
Perhaps you are sure of your hopes, but exhausted by the effort, because when we hope we are working hard,
to imagine something that isn’t there yet.
For me, that makes theatre an act of hope.
Not the only one. But an important one nonetheless, because how can we hope without having imagination, and where better to imagine together?
So I hope you keep coming, dear audience. Please keep coming to the theatre and all kinds of performance in strange places. Bring your friends and family or come alone. Come if you’ve never come before. Keep coming even if the last thing you saw was rubbish. We’re all trying things out.
Maybe, as Pablo and Daisy say, something will happen if we’re all in a room together.
You are always invited; you are always welcome.
We couldn’t do it without you.
To finish, with thanks to my treasured fellow-maker Benjamin Mosse for sending me Hope in the Dark when I needed it, here is a very wise woman on hope:
‘Hope locates itself in the premises that we don’t know what will happen and that in the spaciousness of uncertainty is room to act. When you recognize uncertainty, you recognize that you may be able to influence the outcomes — you alone or you in concert with a few dozen or several million others. Hope is an embrace of the unknown and the unknowable, an alternative to the certainty of both optimists and pessimists. Optimists think it will all be fine without our involvement; pessimists take the opposite position; both excuse themselves from acting. It’s the belief that what we do matters even though how and when it may matter, who and what it may impact, are not things we can know beforehand. We may not, in fact, know them afterward either, but they matter all the same’. (Rebecca Solnit, Hope in the Dark, p.XIV)
Performance Dates for Here’s Hoping:
2-3 September at the Theatre Royal Margate
26-29 October Ovalhouse, London