Eight European playwrights discuss theatre in, and after, the pandemic 

The Covid-19 pandemic is the biggest shock humanity has faced for decades, a truly global event that has overturned our way of life, from geopolitics to domestic intimacy. Millions have died, and many more have suffered debilitating illness. Jobs, homes and hopes have been lost, and the poorest have been worst affected. We may all be in the same boat, but we occupy very different berths.

Nothing is certain about when or how we will recover except, perhaps, that there is no normal to go back to.

Attempts to contain the pandemic have had uneven consequences. For the performing arts, they created an existential crisis. Most theatres are closed, their staff on furlough or laid off. Freelance actors, musicians, directors, designers and technicians are stuck at home, or forced to find work in other fields to survive. Vaccines promise a way out, but what will our traumatised societies be like after this crisis? When will people want to sit once again in a packed auditorium? What stories will they want or need to hear?

In 2020, during the first lockdown, Fabulamundi produced eight short films in which playwrights spoke about their lives, work and situation. To a degree, we were still in shock, coming to terms with the changed situation but still unsure of its scale or meaning. Now, we need to confront it, to learn how it has affected the life of theatre in different European countries and to ask – what now? What kind of theatre do artists propose for the societies that emerge from this crisis?

As in the first series of In a New Light, the films are conversation between François Matarasso, a community artist, writer and friend of our programme, and eight Fabulamundi playwrights: Lancelot Hamelin (France), Francesca Garolla (Italy), Radosław Paczocha (Poland), Elena Vlădăreanu (Romania), Vít Peřina (Czech Republic), Kevin Rittberger (Germany), Victoria Szpunberg (Spain) and Azar Mortazavi (Austria).
The short films have been recorded remotely, edited by Laura Matarasso.

The project, promoted by Roma Culture, is the winner of the public notice Contemporaneamente – Roma 2020-2021-2022 cured by the Department of Cultural Activities and realised in collaboration with SIAE.

Lancelot Hamelin