Dermot’s Blog: Storytellers

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Freedom Studios has a proud history of working with, encouraging and developing new writers and voices and over the last month or so, I’ve had time to re-evaluate and remember just how amazing playwrights are, and what it is that they do.

To create a play you are bending time.

To create a play you’re taking a leap of faith.

To create a play you are making an offer to a team to work together.

A play can question and challenge the way things are.

A play tells a new story.

As you will know the Arts Council announced its decisions around which companies were to be members of the National Portfolio of arts organisations.

Freedom Studios will no longer be part of that portfolio.

There are many stories that could be told about this decision, and many have been – what we hope to do, is what we’ve always done – elevate and platform those stories and storytellers who are often not part of the conversation.

We’re currently forging new paths within the company and outside of it, talking to companies, organisations and individuals across Yorkshire, the North, the country and the world… to make things happen…

The only thing that can stop your view is where you set your gaze.

This (slightly edited) poem by Anna Jordan says it better than I can.


A play can be a torch that guides us on a dark path and illuminates shadowy forgotten corners.

It can be a mode of escape: a time machine or portal that shoots us hundreds of years or thousands of miles in a heartbeat; there we can forget all the sh*t that’s weighing us down.

A play can be a door. Or a key to a door that’s been locked for ages.  Maybe one you thought you’d lost.

A play can be a mirror – giving us new (and sometimes frightening) insights into who we are and why we do the things we do.

Or a ritual – take a seat with three hundred other people (or six hundred, or fifty, or ten), turn off all your devices, sit in the dark and wait.

A play can be a lifeline – at LAST I’ve witnessed someone or something that’s made me realise I am NOT alone in this.

A play can be a mini-holiday: you might come out feeling refreshed, or you might come out feeling more f*cked than you did before you went in.

A play can be a reminder that we can be more than the sum of our parts – but part of something bigger, richer, stronger, more vital, something that spans time and covers space – something vaster than a lifetime.

A play can be (should be I think) the most fun you can have with your clothes on.

A play can be a voice – one that’s been marginalised, or forgotten, or vilified, or ridiculed, or dismissed, or silenced.

A play can be a safe and dangerous space all at once.

If a play is a gate, it should be open. If a play is a fence then it should also be a ladder, or a mate who can give you a leg-up. (Not sure we get this right all the time – let’s keep trying.)

A play can be a haven.

A wake-up call

A warning

A breath of life

A kick in the nuts

A French kiss

A home truth

A call to f*cking arms

In difficult times like these plays can help create and maintain hope.

And at the heart of the play is a playwright.

I’ve been massively touched by every single person or organisation who has offered help or support, (thank you) and it’s made me think – I would love to turn the next blog over to you – if you are someone who has been helped by Freedom Studios, worked with Freedom Studios, want to work with Freedom Studios – email your story to me on dermot@freedomstudios.co.uk in the next week or so… hopefully I’ll be able to turn those into a tapestry of storytelling for the next blog.

Until then, stay well

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