Greenroom is 5 today

Yes, it’s been five years since Greenroom became a blog in its own right. I’d been posting on another site Groundling for a couple of years before that, but 1st September 2009 marked the first of what were to be hundreds of posts focussed on Queensland’s professional theatre: reviews, commentary, and interviews.

It’s been a labour of love. I started blogging because I had recently left the university where I had been teaching for 21 years and imagined the twilight of the so-called ‘retirement’ had come. I had to fill it somehow and, for a theatre academic, writing about my ‘field of study’ seemed a good enough place to start.

They say always write about what you know – I’d add love – if you want to enjoy the process as well as a modicum of success. I have; I really have enjoyed writing about theatre here in my corner of the world and state, and I think the blog has been a modest success. Earlier this year, the National Library of Australia included Greenroom in its database of significant sites, and I’m rightly proud of that.

I guess every blog will have a limited life, an end-point, a time to say, ‘Enough,’ and the time has come for Greenroom to close the door.

The reasons are many. I am now far more involved in theatre-making than I was 5 years ago, and for this I am enormously grateful and happy. I am busier than ever – coaching, teaching, mentoring, directing, acting, doing voice-over work – it’s certainly not ‘retirement.’ This means it is more difficult to be as objective as I would wish to be in writing reviews. I wish it weren’t, but it is. The conversation should be out there and fearless but there are too many sensitivities at play – my own included – and it just doesn’t feel right anymore to continue.

Time (or the lack of) is my enemy right now. It also takes time to get a post right, and I hate not finding the right tone for a piece. Those of you who know me are aware that I live 125k from Brisbane. The trips to see all the shows I would like to is tiring, and getting harder and harder and more expensive. No whinge here – Greenroom has never advertised or asked for donations, and that’s OK too. I’ve never wanted them – as I say, a labour of love.

The Groundlings – the people’s choice awards for the ‘best of’ a year’s creation – also got people talking and voting about theatre and assisted in expanding the blog’s readership – at least for a month or so each year. That’s been a good thing as well and something I’ve enjoyed steering. I’d love to finish up with a final 5th Groundlings, but I am going to be spending some of my summer travelling. Time …

Once upon a time during my doctoral research on Australian theatre there seemed to be so little material that offered a personal and informed lens on what it was like to see a performance on a particular night, or of what that experience ‘meant’ for the time in which it was created.  Back when, I promised myself that, if ever I had the opportunity, I would ensure I’d contribute to the collective conversation on theatre-making. Then, along came the internet and blogging and social media and well, you get it. I’m going to keep Greenroom’s Facebook page going. It’s not hard to share and like and keep the traffic flowing, but the longer-form articles – reviews and interviews – are on hold.

Thank you for being such a grand reading public. Thank you to all the guest reviewers, interviewees, commenters, and all who have assisted in keeping the posts coming. Thank you to all the companies and producers who have provided complimentary tickets for shows. I was so chuffed and grateful when those first invitations arrived.

Let’s never stop meeting and talking in foyers and over coffee and drinks. Let’s keep the conversation flowing, and keep making and going to theatre. That’s what matters.