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Omnibus Theatre: For people new to this, what is Theatre Club?


Maddy: I think of it like a book group – but for theatre! It’s a post-show conversation for audiences, where you get to talk about what you’ve seen, and ask questions that might have come up for you while watching the show. It’s a fun way to find out what other people think – and can be a useful way to find out what you think about a performance too.


Omnibus Theatre: Surely people know what they think when they watch something?


Maddy: Not always! Sometimes people feel a bit mystified by what they see, or they enjoyed a play but don’t feel clear why a particular scene happened or what they thought about a certain character. Quite often people come to Theatre Club having not enjoyed something: hearing what other people made of it helps them think about it in a different way.


Omnibus Theatre: How do you choose what shows to talk about?


Maddy: It can be difficult! Ideally there would be a theatre club for every show: somewhere you could go for a friendly chat expanding the experience of being in the audience. There’s something a theatre-maker called David Greig once said (and I’m sure others have too) that I really like: 50% of the experience of going to the theatre is watching the play but the other 50% is talking about it afterwards. I think of Theatre Club as offering a friendly space for that second 50%. At the Omnibus Theatre this happens roughly once a month, with me choosing from the programme shows that I think will give us something juicy to talk about: interesting ideas, unusual stories, politics that might be difficult to talk about without the safety net of the theatre show to bring and hold us together.


Omnibus Theatre: What theatre clubs are coming up this season?


Maddy: There are still a couple to schedule in, but there are two happening very soon. In February, we’re going to talk about A Family Business, a show by Chris Thorpe looking at who has control of nuclear weapons and who has been struggling for global disarmament. In his description of the show, Chris says that ‘we don’t really talk about nuclear weapons much’, so I felt it would be remiss not to gather after to discuss it!

Then in March, we’re going to discuss Scarlet Sunday, a new play asking how we respond to works of art in the knowledge that the artists did monstrous things. It’s continuing a theme from the Theatre Club discussion in January, about the show Indestructible – but you don’t have to have seen that earlier play to get involved in this conversation.

With both of these shows, I’m interested because they explore big ideas, maybe even difficult ideas, and I’m curious to hear different views on them, from people with different backgrounds to me. I see this as a huge purpose of Theatre Club: providing space to have conversations with strangers, people who might have understandings different to your own. It feels impossible to me, these days, to have those conversations on social media. Having them in person is much more sociable.


Omnibus Theatre: If people want to know more about Theatre Club, where should they look?

Maddy: Come to my blog! It’s where I gather my own thoughts about Theatre Club, and give more details about the shows we are talking about.


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