Failing magnificently….

Failure in theatre is a hot topic at the moment. Theatre critics such as Lyn Gardener and Tom Wicker are praising the positive impact that failing can have on performance. If we look to firmly established companies such as Forced Entertainment, who’s style is based on explicitly talking about failure, then we realise it’s something that some audiences really enjoy. Their latest production, The Coming Storm, is based upon them coyly asking, ‘What makes a good story?’ Incidentally, they never actually tell a story – their performance is based on them exploring this question; arguing, disagreeing, unpicking and rehearsing it.

Similarly, New York has just put on a ‘Bad Theatre Festival’ where failure is championed and celebrated; not in the sense of creating bad art on purpose, but in challenging our understanding of what a successful performance might be. “We want this to be a place where you can test your ideas on the stage. Sometimes, the results are extraordinary. Sometimes, you might fail, but fail magnificently.”

In rehearsals too, creating a safe space where performers are encouraged to try things out, to fail, to accidentally discover something new, is something which usually produces more interesting results. So, the general consensus is to go ahead- fail magnificently!



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