I was touched and heartened by the outpouring to the news last week that I finally won my unfair dismissal claim against the new owners of WhatsOnStage. Amongst many of those responses was a very frequent question: what am I up to next?
First, let me please assure you, apart from litigation, I have been keeping busy over the past nine months (I wasn’t legally able to work for the first six), and collaborating with various fantastic clients including The Touring Consortium, Theatre Cloud, Festival Highlights, Theatre Charter, shows including Yarico, The Father, Regeneration, A View From the Bridge, and Oh What a Lovely War and, to spice things up, health start-ups Nudjed and Plantalicious – as well as blogging, tweeting and hosting the odd post-show Q&A.
I’ve also been extremely busy planning and preparing for other new ventures. So, as for what’s NEXT as well as what’s NOW? Well, the first new venture that I’m hugely excited to announce today is a partnership with fellow Tribunal survivor Mark Shenton, who has been a tremendous friend and supporter over the past year.
Having both felt the brunt of being, shall we say, surplus to requirements at media organisations, Mark and I have teamed up to launch a new kind of media venture – one that is very much centred around collaboration, cooperation and passion, in which we could work with, support and cross-promote like-minded people who truly love and support theatre and who want to be their own bosses for collective gain.
The website is called MyTheatreMates.com and it pulls in the theatre content from this site and Mark’s recently launched ShentonStage.com and – soon we hope – content from other independent theatre journalists and bloggers. (Does that include you? Click here to find out more.)
Also on MyTheatreMates, Mark and I are launching a brand-new theatre awards. Oh god, I hear you moan, do we really need yet-another back-slapping exercise? That’s exactly what I would have said a year ago.
These are categories that, as I felt when I first founded them, and I still believe now as we resurrect them, absolutely deserve to be recognised:
- Best Ensemble Performance
- Best Solo Performance
- Best Shakespearean Production
- Best Original Music
- London Newcomer of the Year
- Theatre Event of the Year
And that is just what the – in my opinion, perfectly named – Also Recognised Awards intend to do. We were also inspired by the persuasive campaigning of musical director Mike Dixon and director Andrew Keates to introduce the UK’s first-ever award for Best Musical Direction, which they’ve partnered with us on.
There are also Also Recognised Awards categories for Best Twitter Engagement (something Mark and I both are terribly keen on as inveterate tweeters), Best Show Poster and Best Show Trailer. And we are totally open to other suggestions for future years.