I’ve been making theatre with my Akin co-founder, Rachel Lincoln, for over a decade. She’s also one of my closest friends. We’ve never had a year quite like this one. Like everyone in 2020, we’ve had to ask ourselves, ‘how will we get through this?’ We were separated by the Atlantic Ocean when the pandemic hit, and we didn’t know when we’d get to see each other again, let alone make a new show.
Our first response was to step back from live performance. As well as making theatre, I’m a writer and Rachel is an artist, and we began to meet weekly on Zoom to share her images and my words. There was something magical about seeing her hold a new drawing or painting up to the screen. Online meetings can be static and stiff and yet seeing her images, which are so colourful and bold, and watching her shuffle through a sheath of papers to find the right one, reminded me of her spontaneity, her vibrancy, her life. We noticed that we felt more connected when we shared what we had been making than when we just had a chat. And we began to invite each other to make particular things: ‘What if you drew this?’ ‘What if you wrote that?’
We noticed that we felt more connected when we shared what we had been making than when we just had a chat.