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Off-Topic: Wisdom from the wings of a theatre

"We're doing it for us."

"We're doing it for us." Those five words changed how I felt about acting in plays at theatres, and maybe about things in my wider life too. I overheard someone say them during rehearsals and to begin with, I didn't like what I heard. It sounded like someone saying, 'It doesn't really matter what the audience thinks because we're doing this for us, not them.' And it sounded like a cop-out.

To me, the whole point of a production had been pushing for the best possible outcome. It was a prestige thing. We gave up evenings and weekends so the audiences would be wowed by our creation and give us - potentially - ovations and wonderful reviews. Things we could feel validated about, things we could boast of. But what I heard flew in the face of that and seemed to suggest it was OK not to push so hard.

But the more I thought about it, the more I questioned my interpretation. So I thought about my time in amateur theatres in Brighton, and about what had been important to me, to see what came up. And I was surprised by what surfaced.

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Robert Purchese avatar

Robert Purchese

Senior Staff Writer

Bertie is senior staff writer and Eurogamer's Poland-and-dragons correspondent. He's part of the furniture here, a friendly chair, and reports on all kinds of things, the stranger the better.

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