Wednesday 7 April 2021

A Year Without Theatre - My 'Shows I've Seen' Project

So you might have spotted from the photo an hour pictures from last year, I spent a good deal of time sorting, tidying and cleaning. One thing I sorted out was all my theatre programmes, tickets, brochures, leaflets and stuff. 

One of my favourite shows, Kneehigh Theatre's 'Midnight's Pumpkin' at Battersea Arts Centre in December 2012

My mum started taking me to theatre shows when I was quite young. One of the earliest shows I remember was 'The Importance of Being Earnest' at Devizes Wharf Theatre, sitting up high near the top of the tiered seating. In reality it probably wasn't that far up, I was probably just quite small! Another show was 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' at the Merlin Theatre in Frome. It seemed like we used to go to the Merlin quite often. If I came home from school and my mum told me to choose some nice clothes, then I knew we were more than likely going out to see a show. 

We used to go to the local panto each year in Bath too at the Theatre Royal and I loved the plushness of the auditorium. I think theatres have a certain smell - the greasepaint maybe or perhaps it's just the sweat of the crowd and performers - whatever it is, it's fairly magical. I love the fact that what you're seeing is live right there in front of you, no second takes or anything. And I love the fact you can see the same show more than once and it can be different each time or you notice little extra bits in the set, movement or script. If I love a show, I try and see it more than once - the shows that take the record for 'most times seen' are Kneehigh's 'Tristan and Yseult' at 14 times (over 14 years) and the musical, 'Rent' at 17 times (over 15 years). 

I know my mum started taking me to the theatre when I was quite young because around 1994/1995 (about 12/13 years old) I started keeping a list of the shows I'd seen and there were some (like 'Earnest' and 'Dream') that I couldn't remember the exact dates for. At first my list was simply keeping all my theatre tickets in a box and writing things on paper but eventually it morphed into a spreadsheet which I still keep updated now. My definition of "show" is theatre, stand up comedy or music gig and my spreadsheet currently tallies 567 times I've been to one. It's probably slightly higher though as there's some late 80's/early 90's shows I don't remember. 

I should have kept a list of all the bands and artists I'd seen at Glastonbury too but I didn't and now I can't remember all of them. I've worked at every Glastonbury Festival since 2004 so there's quite a few! Some of the best performances were Arcade Fire in 2014, Muse in 2010 and Florence & the Machine in 2009. 

When Lily was born in 2016 I added an extra tab to my spreadsheet to keep track of the shows she'd seen. I don't know if she'll actually be interested when she's older but it doesn't take any effort to note them down, just in case. Interestingly, for someone who only turned 5 this year, she's already seen 73 shows, been to 3 Glastonbury Festivals and to 3 Edinburgh Fringe Festivals. 

Anyway, I miss live theatre. And whilst sorting out all my tickets and stuff, I thought it'd be nice to share these memories and anecdotes with other people. One extra thing I'd done with my spreadsheet is as well as simply writing down what show, where and on what date, I'd also kept a log of what days I'd seen them on. I had this silly idea at university which greatly amused me - I wondered if over the years I could see a show on every day of the year? (or almost every day as it's unlikely I'll ever be able to see a show on 25th Dec). So far, the tally is up to 239 days out of a possible 366 - which works out as 65.3% of the year. 

So I wrote an 8 tweet thread on Twitter (here if anyone wants to read it) explaining what I'd done with my spreadsheet for the last 25 years or so and then started a thread of #ShowsIveSeen tagging in the relevant theatres or venues and performers or companies and adding in any anecdotes or pictures. The idea was to add to the thread on each day I'd seen a show, using the information from my spreadsheet. I started on 7th June 2020 and possibly rather optimistically, wondered if life would be back to some kind of normal by the time the whole year had passed. In the first couple of months of 2020, I managed to see 9 shows and the last one I saw live was Mark Thomas at the Merlin Theatre in Frome on 7th March 2020. Even then, it felt a bit weird sitting with everyone else and I remember waiting in the queue for the toilet and watching people *still* not washing their hands. 

My Twitter thread seems to be being appreciated; lots of venues like my tweets and sometimes performers too. As you can see, I've had a few replies as well which is absolutely lovely. I've done 10 months of tweets now and the thread is rather long. I don't know if anyone else is interested really but it's kept me amused over the last year - I've enjoyed remembering the shows I've been to and sharing my pictures.

Anyway there's not really much point to this post except to a) explain what I've been doing on Twitter in case anyone has spotted my tweets and thought "what on earth is this?" and b) show off the celebrity replies I've had :-) 



  1. Lily's been to more shows than I have!

    1. Ha, of course whether Lily actually wanted to see all those shows is another question! :-D xx


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...