Digital Tour of Romantics Anonymous From Wise Children
Above: 2019 Cast – Carly Bawden and Marc Antolin in Romantics Anonymous. Photo: Steve Tanner
Romantics Anonymous (Book – and direction – by Emma Rice, Lyrics by Christopher Dimond, Music by Michael Kooman) was last seen at the Bristol Old Vic in January this year and was about to start a tour of the USA when the pandemic struck.
Well, it seems that the producers couldn’t bear to say goodbye to their delicious musical, and have set to work on an ambitious plan to keep the show alive. As a result, Wise Children are delighted to announce that Romantics Anonymous will perform again! For one week only, we will be LIVE ON STAGE, streaming from the Bristol Old Vic. Each night will be a truly one-off experience!
For the more sceptical among you, this won’t be a fancy, edited pre-recorded performance. That would be far too safe and easy! This is the real thing. At 7.15pm, when you take your seat on your sofa, the cast and crew will be in the theatre warming up, running lines and tuning instruments … until 7.30pm, when the curtain will rise. Complete with all the gorgeous possibilities for surprise that an old school night in the theatre would have, this is most definitely not a film. This is living breathing theatre, happening in the moment, shared with a live audience.
The entire Romantics Anonymous team will be tested for COVID and, once given the all clear, will isolate in a large bubble. Using the guidelines developed by sport, TV and film the company has worked closely with Bristol City Council to make sure its team are kept safe and well. These rigorous measures mean that the full show will be performed – without social distancing. There will be singing! There will be dancing and, if true love has its way, there will be kissing… Imagine that!
While a live-streamed show isn’t the same as actually going to the theatre and watching things online can be hard work, everything has been done to make sure the live broadcasts are of the highest quality, that they’re as easy to watch as possible… and that buying a ticket is simple.
So, whilst it won’t be the same as actually going to the theatre, the signs are that this should still be a glorious night ‘out’. So, feel free to get dressed up, dim the lights, enjoy the blissfully short queue for the loos, and share the chocolate; something we all need in these strangely and socially distanced times.
Here’s the official stuff: Romantics Anonymous was originally presented at Shakespeare’s Globe in 2017 and then remounted by Wise Children and Plush Theatricals in 2020. This live stream has been made possible by the unwavering support of the Broughton Family Charitable Trust and of Paul & Joanna Pearson. In truly challenging times, the generosity and faith of these donors has allowed Wise Children to take the very real risks involved in this project and give this show another life. The production has also been supported by Faye Clements and Florence Ashman, Ros and Alan Haigh and a number of anonymous angels.
Wise Children, Bristol Old Vic & Plush Theatricals present…
Directed by Emma Rice
Book by Emma Rice, Lyrics by Christopher Dimond, Music by Michael Kooman
Based on the film Les Émotifs Anonymes written by Jean-Pierre Améris and Philippe Blasband
22nd to 26th SEPTEMBER 2020
All the shows are available to watch wherever you are in the world, but by booking the show hosted by your local theatre, your support will help them too!
Technology doesn’t (yet) allow the provision of simultaneous audio descriptions and closed captions. We’ll make those versions of the show available on demand from Monday, the 28th September.
Some of you have been asking how you can watch the broadcast. Our friends at Ticket Co. have made this guide. And don’t worry, when you buy a ticket you get an email that gives you this information all over again, along with your unique code.
Romantics Anonymous is suitable for ages 8+
Scroll down for a special bonus interview with EMMA RICE:
After the disappointment of the Romantics Anonymous tour being cancelled how does it feel to share the work again, in an albeit slightly different way than expected?
It’s hard to describe how exciting this is. It feels like we are navigating an untrodden path – but one that leads to the familiar things we love and miss. It is a serious and daunting task, and there is lots of planning to be done (the safety of the company is our utmost priority), but when I imagine being in the theatre again, singing, dancing, laughing and even touching, my heart skips a beat!
The production is based on Les Emotifs Anonymes, what originally inspired you to adapt it?
Oh! This wonderful film had me from the start! It is such a tender and intoxicating love story, filled with anxieties and worries that all of us can relate to. It is quirky and surprising, but it is also refreshingly modern. It suggests that anything is possible if you bend the rules, dare to take a risk and allow yourself to love. It is romantic indeed, and just the feelgood story we all need in these difficult times.
How do you think a digital tour will help regional theatres at the moment?
Theatres miss audiences, actors, the box office they bring and the buzz they provide. This live broadcast can’t answer all the problems theatres are facing, but it does give some wonderful answers and more than a little hope. Romantics Anonymous will create the buzz of a live experience, because it is one! The actors are singing and dancing as you watch – if something goes wrong, we will all see it and enjoy it! There will be no airbrushing or editing, it is truly live and the audience will feel that energy and excitement. They will also feel like it is a shared experience; that others are watching at the same time – just like going to the theatre used to be. Also, if people book through their local theatre, a proportion of the ticket price goes to the venue, giving them much needed financial support.
What do you hope audiences will take from the production?
I hope the audience will take away a big helping of joy and a sense of community that is rare in these isolated times. I hope they will be left humming the tunes, with a skip in their step and a heart that is full to the brim with love, kindness and hope – is that too much to ask?
A lot of the cast are reprising their roles, is it good to have the company back together again?
Hell yes! It’s the best thing about this crazy project! We will all be back together again, doing what we love and sharing it with the world. It is also one of the most talented casts I have ever had the privilege of working with, so the audience is in for a real treat!
Finally, how has lockdown been for you?
Like so many, Lockdown has been tough for me. Theatre work vanished overnight, and we have all had to mourn the loss of many things. I also lost my beloved Dad during Lockdown, so have been mourning the loss of him greatly. Sad times, but I find myself grateful for many things, not least this chance to bring some light and joy back to the world, the people around me and, indeed, to my own heart.