Much of my life before lockdown was spent at the theatre, and their closures have hit me hard.
Not just because I miss them terribly – I’m so grateful for the shows that are popping up online! – but because the community within them is a huge part of my life here in Southampton and online, personally and professionally.
Theatres around the world face uncertain times ahead, as we all do. Once things ‘go back to normal’ (and I’m not sure that’s even possible) it will take a long time for the creatives to get back on their feet and start producing amazing performances again. Then there’s the money and the funding; how many venues will we lose?
I originally wrote this poem, Curtains Up, in support of Nuffield Southampton Theatres (NST) and their fundraising efforts, since they hold a place close to my heart.
But really, this poem is for all theatres and performers.
You are so missed, and we will be there once again when the curtain goes up, ready to cheer you on.
This poem is also my first foray into recording my poetry! I’m very excited to now have my own YouTube channel where I’ll hopefully be recording a few of my pieces, making my work more accessible, and filling that gap that the lockdown has left, in terms of poetry events.
You can watch the video below, or read it, if you’d rather. It’s all here!
We will be there when the curtain goes up
and the first line is thrown out and into the crowd
like a well-crafted, succulent treat for the ears,
drowning out the past months’-worth of silence and fears.
When the ghost light is joined by a thousand more glows,
and the sound of applause bellows in from the seats
that were empty and clamped up and sealed for so long,
shut off from the songs and performances gone.
We will be there when the cast takes their bow,
and the sweat from their brows mingles in with their tears,
and the stage doors swing open and welcome the streets,
and life rushes back in and the theatre’s heart beats.
By Jo Fisher