February 10, 2011

One Minute Manifesto

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A One Minute Manifesto by Katie Day, Artistic Director of The Other Way Works, as delivered at Forest Fringe in Edinburgh, August 2010.

Thanks to Lucy Ellinson for initiating the One Minute Manifesto phenomenon.

Standing here in the Forest Fringe I can’t help feeling that I’ll be preaching to the converted tonight, but that said, here we go…

My manifesto is aimed at theatre makers.

Now is the time for us to take ourselves less seriously. Breathe out. Let it go. Laugh at ourselves.

I’m the worst offender.

I was once heard saying with no irony “I’m a very serious person”.

I fiercely defend my patch, my company, my work, my ‘practice’ – Its a learned response.

It started in earnest at university. The constant jibes at my silly course that must just be messing around – even though we clocked up 40 hour weeks compared to the 6 of my friend studying geology. I imagine the ‘clowning classes’ didn’t help me to make my case.

More recently the endless meetings with Business Link advisors and the like, wanting a sensible business plan, a viable (meaning financially viable) business, laughing in my face about the concept of performing to less people in a night than you have performers in the cast.

No wonder I feel the need to be serious about my work. Its hard work, its my life, and I believe in it.

But now is the time to stop trying to do things the right way. Let’s stop aping the big guys. As Andy Field said at Shift Happens about technology – as artists we shouldn’t follow the rules about how the new tools are used, we should find new ways, and if we can we should break the internet.

We’ve seen big business fail, banks fall, now’s the time for our brand of collaborative innovation. What’s so wrong about a Ministry of Fun? Let’s get ready to lead the way, but not because we’ve learned how to wear a business suit and deliver financial forecasts, but because we know how to work together well, to have fun, to think differently, and to make beautiful things with just ourselves and our voices.

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