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All in the timing - why we rescheduled Three Acts Of Love

Three Acts of Love was going to be Live Theatre’s next main production, rehearsing this September to open and run throughout October. It will be a big old offer – three extraordinary, radical and very different playwrights each offering their take on love in an expansive production that fused drama with music in an immersive environment. With the writers being as political and sophisticated as they are, this was never going to be a series of dating stories.  The works they created are unexpected and exciting: about the love of community, the love of truly seeing someone else, the love that can exist in the seams of hate. Their works are rich in ideas, radical in form and deeply generous in their sense of audience occasion. They are each, in a sense,  gestures of love for the audience, not in any reductive or saccharine way, but in the warmth, depth and complexity of their offer.

One morning I woke up with a clear revelation that the timing of this production was all wrong. We had planned to sandwich it between two other major productions We Are The Best! and the world premiere of Ric Renton’s One Off. Six months ago, having a factory line of ambitious shows one after the other felt a necessary reaction to the stalled time we had all been in. But occasionally the pressure to deliver and keep delivering starts to feel at odds with our core purpose which is to deeply serve our artists and our audiences. The scripts were written the team was ready, but I could not escape the question ‘why are we rushing?’ Are we still making up for our 18 months of closed doors? Are we plagued by the notion that we are not productive enough? It’s little surprise that New Diorama’s recent announcement of no public shows until next Spring has been so warmly received by artists and the sector. We are still in a state of recovery as an artistic community. We don’t need to sacrifice ourselves and others for the sake of demonstrating our vibrancy.

Care is the key thing and my concern is that I was allowing that to take second place to impatience or overcompensation. And on the subject of care, Ric Renton’s new play One Off needs exactly that. It is a magnificently assured piece of work but it also comes from an incredibly personal place for him, namely his experience as a young prisoner in Durham. That play will run this November, and the idea of us rushing into such a production straight off the back of another is not what we should be doing. I used to pride myself, perhaps delusionally, on running breathlessly between projects. But at Live we are entrusted by writers to deliver their work into the world for the very first time. It’s an exposing process and our promise is that it will always be done with the deepest care and attention. There is a quote by the great Simone Weil, that I aspire and sometimes fail to live by, which is that, ‘attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.’

So Three Acts of Love will now be brought to you in March 2023. I am genuinely excited by what it will offer to audiences and how it will push at what a Live Theatre evening can be.  And doubly exciting is the thought that nothing on that stage will be rushed, that every moment will be delivered to you with the care and love that we all deserve.

Jack McNamara

Book now for Three Acts Of Love, Thu 2 - Sat 25 March, tickets £14 - £28, concs from £12. 

  • Arts Council England
  • Community Foundation
  • European Regional Development Fund


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