I love the theatre and I am fortunate enough to work in the theatre industry as an arts marketer. It’s a job that requires passion for theatre – well, no, that’s a lie. You don’t have to have a passion for the arts to sell the arts, but it does help.
It drives you on.
Any day of the week I could be marketing a live music act, an amateur dramatics performance, a dance performance or, a comedy show, a magician, student theatre or a professional theatre show – each with their own flair and their own brand of theatrical magic.* There is something wonderful about watching people bring a performance to life – whether it be a five-year old reciting their lines in a drama club performance, or a sixty-five year old playing a king in a Shakespeare tragedy. When a show is proving difficult to market, my love for the theatre pushes me on and the performance inspires me to try again and try harder and keep trying until seats are sold.
So when a friend sent me a link to a show that is going to be touring theatres soon, to see what I thought, I recoiled in horror and disgust.
Behold ‘Psychic & Science‘. According to the website:
Psychic & Science is a brand new, innovative, stage show unlike any other you will EVER see.
Live on stage, we bring together the art of Mediumship and Spirituality with a mix of logical explanation and historial facts, alongside the UK’s premier paranormal investigators to deliver a totally interactive experience for those interested in the after-life, ghost hunting, spirits, spooks or just sceptics!
Basically this show is Chris Conway (an unimpressive medium from one of the latter series of Most Haunted), Richard Felix (The historian from Most Haunted) and two paranormal investigators on stage doing seances, table tipping, ouija boards, readings and ‘vigils’ and other such nonsense, while inviting the audience onto the stage to join them.
I was sent this link while I was actually at work trying to market a superb performance by David Benson who will be bringing Frankie Howerd to life on our stage (he did the same with Kenneth Williams last season in a touching, sad and yet hilarious performance), I had posters and flyers all over my desk and as the thought of ‘Psychic and Science’ being on stage filled my head, I gently wept all over the posters.
Well, I didn’t…
…but I thought that was pretty good imagery to help you understand what I think of this show. Which isn’t much.
Trash like this doesn’t deserve to be on stage at a theatre. It’s bad enough that psychics and mediums go on tour and take to the stage to do readings for vulnerable audiences – but this is something else! A whole new level.
I’m not claiming that only professional actors should be on stage, because that’s not the point. Our stage sees everything from young children performing in front of their parents, to seasoned actors, local businesses conducting seminars to local groups using the space for events – such as lectures or dances.
Basically, the people involved in this show are just going to be using methods derived from the spiritualist movement, and pseudo-science to conduct a ghost hunt on stage, and they’re going to charge people to watch.
‘this is a serious investigation into the world of the paranormal. Anyone causing disruption will be removed from the building.’
Firstly,this is not a serious investigation into the “world of the paranormal” and I have submitted a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority (they now cover web-based advertising, don’t you know…)
This is a ‘show’ that is using outdated and nonsense techniques to try to claim authority to their audience. Acting like an expert on stage is all well and good, but these people aren’t acting, they’re perfectly serious about this claim.
It also makes me wonder if they’ve researched the venues (listed here) prior to booking them, because how can they conduct an investigation on stage unless something anomalous has happened on stage?
Unless they’re going to be doing that ‘summoning spirits’ nonsense that is actually quite unethical (though, of course, completely untrue and false).
Secondly, I’ve never known a company bringing a show to a theatre to threaten to eject people from the venue before they’ve even sold any tickets (which this show hasn’t, by the way, I checked).
Also, that’s normally the venues job to deal with – the venue will have policies in place to ensure any trouble makers are dealt with. When you buy a ticket from the box office, you are agreeing to their policies.
For a show to make this claim on their website makes me highly suspicious of what kind of people are putting this show on, and what sort of people they’re expecting to show up in the audience.
I would urge people to save their money and go and watch another show at the theatre venue instead. Help support your local artists, not your local Most Haunted carbon copies.
The only good thing I can envision coming from this show is the hope that the people who do go and watch it will discover their local theatre and visit the theatre more often.