Re-introducing The Crush Bar
The newsletter is back, redesigned and refined.
TL;DR: I’m relaunching The Crush Bar with a updated purpose: each issue is going to shout about an exciting, emerging theatremaker – and make it explicit what they need to take their practice to the next level. Maybe you, reader, can give that to them. Or, by subscribing and sharing, maybe you can help them find someone who can.
If you could spread the word by forwarding this email and sharing it on Twitter, that would be much appreciated. Thanks.
Hello, and welcome – or welcome back – to The Crush Bar, a fortnightly newsletter written by me, Fergus Morgan.
It has been a while since I last sent one out. Like an HBO series, The Crush Bar has been ‘on hiatus’ for a month or so. There are several reasons for that.
Firstly, because you were probably tired of getting it after I sent out several extra issues in August. Secondly, because I was definitely tired and needed a bit of a break. And thirdly, because I wanted to take a pause to have a rethink of what I’m doing with this newsletter, and a bit of a redesign as well.
I’m starting sending The Crush Bar out again because I’ve done that redesign – very refined and classy, don’t you think? – and because I’ve decided what I want this newsletter to be, going forward.
Bear with me, and I’ll explain.
I interview a lot of, for want of a better term, “emerging artists” – early-career directors and designers, performers and playwrights. Imaginative, industrious, mostly lovely theatre-makers trying hard to make a name for themselves in the industry, who spend far too much time writing funding applications, sending unanswered emails, and jumping through unnecessary hoops.
People who have proved they have talent, and who are waiting for someone to recognise that and help them make the next step up – their first major production, their first big stage, their first chunky commission, their first national tour.
I also interview a lot of, again for want of a better term, “industry leaders” – artistic directors, festival producers, theatre programmers and other people in positions of power. People who have lots of irons in lots of fires, lots of fingers in lots of pies, lots of responsibility – and very little time.
People, in other words, who would love to help an emerging, early-career artist make the next step in their career if only they had the space in their diary to read their emails/see their show/meet them for a coffee – and the headspace to work out how that artist could fit into their plans.
The unintentional result of all that is the system of “social hiring” that much of British theatre relies upon. Industry leaders give work to people they already know. Emerging artists stay frozen out and frustrated. And, despite a lot of talk, not much changes.
I want The Crush Bar to do some of the heavy lifting.
I want this newsletter to help this situation, in whatever modest way it can. I want it to connect people. I want it to hook-up emerging artists who need something, with the people who are in a position to give it to them.
I want every issue to shout about an exciting theatremaker looking for a leg-up – and shout about them straight into thousands of inboxes, one of which might belong to someone who can give them exactly what they are looking for.
So, from now on this newsletter will only feature interviews with emerging artists – people who have shown they have talent and imagination, and who deserve a shot at making that next step.
It will find out who they are, what makes them tick, and – this is the important bit – it will be explicit about what they need to take their practice to the next level, whether that is an assisting gig, or some rehearsal room, or a festival slot, or a collaborator, or just a friendly chat over a coffee.
Maybe you are another emerging artist, looking for a collaborator. Maybe you are an established director, looking for an assistant. Maybe you are an artistic director, looking for new voices to fill your theatre. Maybe you are a producer, looking for your next project. Maybe you are none of those things, and not in a position to help yourself – but you know someone who is.
I am open to ideas.
Of course, I’ll be doing the interviewing, the writing, the editing and everything else – but I don’t want this newsletter to just be a reflection of my taste in theatre, or a reflection of which theatremakers are able to afford PR campaigns. There are a whole load of obvious ethical issues there.
Instead, I want it to feature a diverse range of people, from a diverse range of places, with a diverse range of practices. I want you to be surprised and excited by the interviewees every time you open it. I want you to think: “Hey, they sound cool. I should put them in touch with so-and-so. They’ll really hit it off.”
I’m going to do my best to achieve that – but I am definitely open to suggestions, too. If you can think of someone who deserves shouting about – even if it is your good self, reader – then let me know. Drop me an email and tell me, and I’ll try and make it happen.
What can you do to help? Good question, thanks for asking.
First of all, you can subscribe to The Crush Bar (if you don’t already) and you can share it – shout about it on social media, forward it to anyone you think might be interested.
Secondly, you can support The Crush Bar. Every issue will include a link to my Ko-Fi page, and if you want to drop a few virtual pounds in that virtual tip-jar to make this worth my while, that would be amazing.
Thirdly and finally, you can get involved with The Crush Bar. Get in touch with me. Get in touch with an interviewee and tell them they are awesome. Get in touch with an interviewee and give them whatever they are looking for – or put them in touch with someone who can. I’d love that.
The more people who are involved, the better this plan will work – and the more likely it is that someone will be offered the opportunity they deserve.
By subscribing to The Crush Bar, reading it, and sharing it with others, damn it, you might just make some dreams come true.
Thanks – and look out for the next newsletter. It’ll be on its way soon.