To Brighton with some of our key people today for a company day out. Nine of us in total - Tina, Emily, Ola, Brian, Guy, Kirsten, Sarah, Innie and me.
Yet again I'm reminded of how much the company has changed in 3 and a bit years. To think that we'd have so many regular staff members (some freelance, others permanent), all with a vested interest in the future of the company, would have been amazing in 2009. And probably in 2010 and 2011 too.
But here we are. Or rather, there we were, all ice-creams and crazy golf and a two hour discussion in a lovely shabby room at Brighton Youth Centre about what the company means and what we might achieve in the future.
There are big changes ahead for us: our new status as company in residence at Park Theatre, perhaps even a new name and identity, a new general manager while Kirsten is away on maternity leave. And it's really important to me that those changes come with buy-in from our staff team and our young people.
Our discussion, of course, raised lots more questions than it answered. Can we possible work as an ensemble when there are more than 150 members of the company? What's more important, the work we make or our members' development - or are they (I think this) inextricable?
We talked a lot about us being a third space. A place away from home and school where young people can be themselves, can express themselves with the help of the tools gained through regular collaboration with professional theatre-makers. We talked about how our mission is fundamentally political - to address in some way the space between young people and theatre, between yong people and their future, between those who have and those who don't, between young people and other young people.
Answers to all those questions and ideas will come and we will build the next stage of our company upon them. One thing I know is that in order to do so we need a big team of passionate, thinking people - young and not-so-young. And so it was meaningful and exciting to start that process today.