Wednesday, September 08, 2010

The start of yet another list

Back in Winter 2005 in G&D's in Oxford (where else?) I had a conversation with a Uni friend who was just about to start what would become "Way Off Loop", a quest to visit every Fringe venue in Chicago in one year. We'd considered whether a similar project would be possible in London and agreed that be it London or Chicago it was wonderfully insane.

As those who know me will be aware my desire to complete lists is almost as pressing as my need to make them. I've a long standing quest to read all the Booker winners (we're not talking about the fact that there are four winners on the list that I've started to read and failed to finish) and I've previously joked about the fact that one day, to complete my list of London theatres, I will have to go and see The Mousetrap (though maybe I should be more worried about We Will Rock You).

Then a few weeks ago, via the wonder of twitter, I found out about The London Theatre Project. Which is basically - one woman and a lot of theatres to catalogue. And that made me remember all about Baileys ice cream in G&D's and Way Off Loop and all the fringe theatres I have never been to. Especially since in the wake of The Great Big Edinburgh Fringe List 2010 I decided to make a list of all the non-Edinburgh shows I'd seen. With the exception of a healthy input from the Albany, the Arcola and SHUNT, if I were to take out shows by people I know, my theatre going had shrunk to a web of National-Barbican-Royal Court with special guest appearances from the Old Vic and the Globe. Which is, to put it politely, a bit on the shoddy side.

So, with a nod to Way Off Loop and The London Theatre Project, I'm going to attempt to go to at least 52 London fringe venues in the next year. I'm a bit late in blogging this but I decided to start the project as of 1st of September so that gives me until 31st August 2011 to complete the task.

There are inevitably some questions which the parameters raise:

Firstly - where exactly does London end? I'm not sure I know, but for arguments sake I'm going to say it finishes at the point when I can no longer use my oyster card. Though, obviously, if I get desperate I might argue otherwise.

Secondly - what do I define as Fringe? This one's obviously a bit more wobbly, and a subject to which I'm sure I'll return over the coming months. As a basic guideline to start me off I'm going to adhere to the split created in my much thumbed, if slightly retro, Theatregoers' Handbook. Thus the Young Vic and Menier Chocolate Factory are in. Obviously all fringe venues are equal but some are more equal than others so I'm going to take this into account and, maybe, come up with something to say about it.

Thirdly - does the venue have to be permenant or am I going to include site specific/ pop-up theatres? Easy answer this one: yes. I'm one of the self appointed Queens of pop-up theatre after all.

As part of the quest I'm going to blog each venue I go to. Having not yet written the first post I'm not sure what form this is going to take but I do know it's not going to be a standardised review. I'm going to touch on whatever I see at the venue and its quality, I might also touch on how good the coffee/vodka in the bar is. And if it takes me three years to get there then you can bet that I'm going to tell you.

No comments: