‘Whatever we can do, we will’: why am-dram must go on

For the millions who take part in amateur theatre, keeping performance afloat through the pandemic is vital

The pandemic has put professional theatre in peril, with many people’s livelihoods, and buildings that we love, at serious risk. But there is another aspect to this landscape – amateur theatre. Playwright James Graham wrote recently: “If we cannot for the time being go large, then we go local.” And that’s where amateurs become the experts.

Freed from the real-life horrors of needing to make a living, amateur companies from across the UK and Europe – there is a thriving English-speaking amateur scene in Europe – have been responding to lockdown in creative ways. There have been online rehearsals, readings, workshops, discussions about plays and streamed performances. Putney Arts theatre created an online monologue series involving close to 100 actors and directors. New writing has also been at the heart of what south London’s Southside Players have presented.

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