Post-Truth: How We Have Reached Peak Bullshit and What We Can Do About It

Over the past few years, the concept of ‘post-truth’ has been attracting increasing attention in both scholarly and journalistic circles. It is, of course, primarily associated with the success of Donald Trump as well as with the UK Brexit referendum campaign. As a result, it is no coincidence that ‘post-truth’ was chosen by Oxford Dictionaries as the ‘Word of the Year’ in 2016 nor surprising that there has been a proliferation of books on the subject (of which, publications by James Ball, Matthew d’Anconaor Julian Baggini are perhaps the most notable). While someone with an interest in post-truth might find it difficult to choose a worthwhile read, if one was to select just one book out of those currently available, Evan Davis’s Post-Truthwould undisputedly top the list
— Democratic Audit UK
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Post-Truth Apocalypse

One way to explore the concept of the ever proliferative Post-Truth is to read Evan Davis' new book or, and probably a more exciting way, is to get along to Francesca Beard's show How To Survive a Post Truth Apocalype it is still touring the UK and is coming to London next week. Click the links below to book your tickets.

Giving Thanks...

This is traditionally the time of year to give thanks - generally because at this time of year we are all a little bit drunk all of the time and this allows us to be lower our guard and gush. Well, that is certainly true for me - I may have had a Bailey's while writing this!

I have had an extraordinary year of making work with brilliant people in brilliant spaces and I want to take this opportunity to thank them. 

I had the pleasure of working on the Barbican Box project again this year where I worked with Toeneelgroep Amsterdam led by Ivo van Hove. This project continues to be an inspiration to many young people and teachers across East London. I had a great time working with Mossborne School (Hackney), Buxton School (Leytonstone) and Sydney Russel School (Dagenham). 

I got introduced into a raucous, rude and riotous world of sexiness by the empress of blag Vanessa Kisuule. It has been a humbling, powerful and crunchy time making this important show and I am proud to say I have been involved in its evolution. Huge thanks to Vanessa for taking me on as he confidant, provocateur and general irritant. This show would not have been possible for it not for the wizardry of the brilliant Liz Counsell and sublime movement of Lucy Bairstow. SEXY will be coming to a venue near you in 2018...

It's always a brilliant thing when the seed of an idea blooms. Throughout 2017 I worked with the word magician Francesa Beard to create a show that explored our new “post-truth” world that's had enough of experts and asks what is the global cost of make-believe? By working with the dedicated and exceptional Tom McAndrew we were able to bring a group of brilliant creatives to realise this complex and beautiful show. Huge thanks go out to Charlie Morgan Jones for his gorgeous lighting design, Jethro Cooke for his haunting sound design, Shawn Soh for his epic video and costume design, Matt Mifsud for the poster design, the Arts Council for believing in us and giving us money! Full touring information coming soon...

Over the last year, I have worked with an inspiring writer, four awesome directors, four brave theatres and four distinct community groups in the first phase of Headlong Future before it starts proper next year. So huge thanks to; Stef Smith, Jon Randall, Tricia Gordon, Julia Head, Lucy Hunt, Jayne Williams, Lee  Hart, Faith Collinwood, Brewery Arts Centre, Bristol Old Vic, New Perspectives, Theatre Royal Plymouth.

A Wild World

In the Summer I worked with a group of extraordinary young people with a variety of needs and made a show about holding onto childhood. This show would not have been possible if it were not for the following people: Immediate Theatre, Jo Paul, Jo Carter, Charmian Humphrey, Jerome Boothe, Gary Horseman. 

For the second year running, I had the opportunity of directing a show at the Institute of the Arts Barcelona. Huge thanks to Drew Mulligan, Valentina Ricci, Amadeus Solernou, Emma Groves-Raines, Pedro Vaz, Olivia Owens. As well as the cast: Samantha Atkin, Olivia Atkinson, Juan Callirgos, Vegard Eliassen, Rebecca Fixemer, Annamad Hjortass, Sina Klinski, Patrizia Maio, Rafaela Nicolay, Paula Ortiz, Riccardo Portone, Antonio Rob, Lisa Ullrich, Kimberley Van Der Leeuw

In November I was reminded why I make theatre, why telling stories is so powerful and how theatre can be truly a democratic experience. I was a co-director with the hugely talented Segun Olaiya and we worked with 10 extraordinary young people and a brilliant team to make a show that explored the idea of fame, freedom and what you would give up to get back the things you have lost. Huge thanks go to Lyric Hammersmith, Catherine Nicholson, Charlie Farrant, Cass Conteh. 

I also worked with a lot of other brilliant people who I would like to thank:

This year has been truly fantastic. So many people enabled me to make the work I wanted to. It is likely I have missed people (mainly due to the Baileys!) so please get in touch if I have. 

Gush over!

Have a fabulous 2018...

Rob X

Sexy Post-Truths; two brand new shows...

I am thrilled to announce two new theatre shows I am developing with two wonderful spoken words artists. Both shows are achingly relevant and we will be scratching, previewing and premiering them in the next few months. Click the links below for more info... 

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A day in the life...

A month ago the Department of Culture, Media and Sport asked me to write a blog post that looks at a typical day... and this is what I wrote...

I don’t have a typical day and that is how I like it.

I wake at about 6.30am – I am not really a morning person but have trained myself to get up early as I end up being a lot more productive with my day. On the majority of days I will go to the gym, a few years back I would have thought this was total madness but it shocks my system into action. I also have a dog so I walk him.

Currently, I am producing the Connections Festival at the National Theatre so my days are consumed by lots of preparation. We have ten youth theatre companies coming to the National Theatre from all over the country and it is my job to make sure they have everything they need to make it a brilliant experience. This is my 5th year producing the festival so I feel relatively on top of everything – I also have an awesome team. For the past couple of months I have travelled the length and breadth of the country watching loads of youth theatre productions; this year I have genuinely been overwhelmed by the brilliance of the work I have seen.

Over lunch I have a Google Hangout with Bethany Wells and Katharine Williams, the designer and lighting designer of my new Edinburgh show, Human Resources, written and performed by Hannah Walker and Chris Thorpe. We are in that interesting time where the show is not quite formed but we need to make some decisions to move the production on – also Summer Hall, our Edinburgh venue, is needing specs! A lot of meetings I have recently are through Google Hangout or Skype.

The afternoon sees me in technical rehearsals for one of the Connections shows. It is a wonderful moment when a youth theatre-company, who has created a show on a shoestring, is given the resource of the NT. It is one of the best moments of my job when they get to realise their show as they had intended.

I head home to feed and walk my dog and then straight out to the Bush to watch Francesca Beard run a scratch version of a show we are working on called A Lie. Francesca is performing it at Latitude in a few weeks so this is a chance to see how it works in front of an audience. There is a bit of audience participation so these moments are so important as we just don’t know how it will land in a rehearsal room.

I am home by 12 ready to start all over again tomorrow!