NO ONE EVER MADE A DIFFERENCE BY BEING LIKE EVERYONE ELSE – PT Barnum (The Greatest Showman)
PT Barnum revolutionised the arts industry in the mid 1800s making it popular through his side shows and museum full of curiosities. But he didn’t create his fortune from the rich and famous, he found the talent in his own community, the communities we travelled too. Whilst we might say that he exploited these individuals there was one who made a larger fortune then him, General Tom Thumb. Today we still have people on the margins of society and that it is also where some of the real talent lives.
In August 2018 we heard Equity’s new president, Maureen Beattie call out to the industry saying, to ‘wake up and make an effort’ as well as her comments on the dimishing opportunities for the working class. So this project from AT2R is about just that, encouraging the industry to make an effort as well as opening the door for the working class.
The Greatest Show on Earth project comes at four different levels Community, Theatre, National and International. In this newsletter we are going to give an outline on each of these levels, next month we will look at the financing of this project.
A full day of an open mic style mixed with a little Michael Barrymore’s ‘My kind of People’ (for those who remember that). An outdoor performance centred on some portable staging with a PA system in the centre of town encouraging as many people to participate on stage as possible. This can happen as many times as the community wants.
The key to this programme is to draw out the talent that can draw a crowd or two that hides in our communities, individuals or groups are all welcome. It’s like a community style fringe event, where people can show off new and original works as well a new spin on old and well known works.
Work can range from songs, skits or sketches, dance, prose, comedy or speciality acts. The more mixed these events become the better, it is so important that is doesn’t just become solely music and concert style.
Lighting the Beacons
This is about raising money and the profile of local and regional theatres. In each county a nominated theatre (The Greatest Show Beacon) plays host to an event mixed from the talent from the Community Spirit Events in the area becoming the county’s very own ‘Greatest Show Ever’.
This is also the point where we meet creators, the people who work behind the scenes making the magic happen. Make up, set designs, techies and those who create the event on paper before it comes alive on the stage.
There is one ‘Lighting the Beacon’ production a per year in each county. Whilst all the performers and creators are from the same county as the theatre, the project tours as it makes its way through the UK just like the Olympic the flame stopping in each county to light a beacon.
The Greatest Show in the Country
So just like the Olympic flame making its way to the games, once each theatre has enjoyed high standards of local talent, The Greatest Show in the Country takes place just once a year, bringing together and showcasing talent from across the entire UK. The whole production is just like that first 20 minutes of the opening an closing ceremony of the Olympic Games, with a theme and storyline.
This production would take place in a different venue each year in London, Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, in venues the size of Wembley.
The Greatest Show on Earth
Travelling all five continents every year, possibly returning to its home (the UK) once every five years, but even that is not guaranteed. Again it’s just like that first 20 minutes of the opening an closing ceremony of the Olympic Games, with a theme and storyline.
This brings together the best of the best talent from right across the world into one arena with support from local groups and businesses.
Must Take a Break
The Greatest Show on Earth is about giving as many people and venues the opportunity to show odd their talents. So there is a statutory period that would permit individuals taking part. Whether artist, crew or venues a maximum for two years in the project then a minimum of a five year break must be taken before returning.
Why? You can’t stay top of any game you need to enjoy many experiences and opportunities to grow in your talent. So two years is a good amount of time to get your teeth into the project and five years is enough to take other opportunities and a new generation to be wowed by your work.
The Greatest Show on Earth project is not just about putting the arts at the top of their game, but keeping them there.
Keep sharing and talking about this project in your office, in your community, in the your groups and…
Here’s to the Greatest Show in the Country, to The Greatest Show on Earth!