Years ago I was in Edinburgh with a show that didn't go well. I wanted to change the show and no-one else wanted to and instead we hunkered down, told ourselves everyone who wasn't coming was wrong, and committed to desperate, manic, miserable flyer-ing. And we closed some shows. And we told ourselves the public was wrong. They didn't understand the show. Of course audiences can be different, and different audiences like different things, but I felt then as I feel now, what is the point of an audience at all if they are "wrong"?
This experience is partly responsible for Blind Summit's policy that we respond to audience feedback and develop work in front of audiences, in collaboration with audiences, using their feedback, processing the feeling of performing it, video and review the show every day. In fact also it is essential for puppetry. We have found that only audiences know what is possible in puppetry. Producers don't know, writers don't know, directors don't know, I don't know. We only find out by experimenting, and a vital part of that experiment is having an audience.
Why is this? I think it's because the puppet essentially doesn't actually exist until it is held up in front of an audience. The puppeteer lifts the puppet up, but it comes alive in the imagination of the person watching it.
Henry isn't right yet so I'm putting those ghosts to bed and we're continuing to develop it in front of audiences. Every day we video the show. Every morning we develop the script and the performances. And every day it's getting better. Audiences at Edinburgh are generous and enthusiastic and some of them are loving it and some of them are not loving it. But they are taking a risk and they are coming and they are letting us know what they think.
And of course we need to flyer (not a verb except for three weeks in August in Edinburgh) to bring in the audiences in, and to talk to people and find out what they think.
So here's to audiences!