By Tom Daldry 

Recent events have put a great strain on theatre providers worldwide. We at Hastings-based theatre company, Theatre Nation have been no exception but are adapting to the ever-changing external environment created by Covid-19. 

Following the cancellation of a mid-scale tour of Samuel Beckett’s existential classic Waiting for Godot (scheduled for April), the organisation began working out how to make viable theatre work on a pandemic-struck planet. In particular, how to rework and reimagine Beckett’s masterpiece in line with the times.

David Glass Workshop
PICTURE: Robert Golden

Enter David Glass. Accomplished theatre maker, visionary and avant-garde provocateur with an international reputation, David Glass agreed to take the reins and direct Waiting for Godot, now scheduled from 24th March – 3rd April 2021, at Stables Theatre. If Glass’ production is anything like his grotesquely comic, highly physical and powerfully emotive Bleak House (national tour 2019), it will be something special.

But the two companies feel that theatre is changing, and that it’s important to look beyond traditional theatre productions – not least because the threat to venues actually being operable remains ever-present. The support of Stables’ Chairman, Neil Sellman has been really invaluable in allowing the realisation of this work. 

So, we have decided to curate a three-year community-focused project on Samuel Beckett: Beckett in the Time of Pandemic. This will entail three productions: Waiting for Godot (2021), Endgame (2021) and a devised piece of new writing (2022). This piece will be inspired, conceived and created via
the programme of community workshops and events to be held with associate organisations – currently including Barefoot Opera and Eggtooth – as well as various individual artists. We’ll be announcing exciting future collaborations as time goes on. 

David Glass Workshop
PICTURE: Robert Golden

As part of Beckett in the Time of Pandemic, David Glass will be bringing his iconic ‘Alchemy Extraordinary’ Creative Practice workshop to the Stables Theatre in Hastings from 21st to 25th September. He will introduce his five-stage Creative Practice used by many worldwide; his work has influenced noted individuals and companies including Emma Thompson, Anne Marie Duff and Stephen Daldry. 

Theatre Nation’s key collaborator for their proposed Spring 2020 tour of Waiting for Godot was Leigh Dyer. His sculpture work is known and loved throughout Hastings (and beyond!), and he was commissioned to create the iconic tree. His beautiful sculpture deserves an audience, and so they’ve created a new project: Tree on Tour. The sculpture will be taken to various community spaces and be presented in various ways. For example, a singing tree featuring live performances from opera practitioners (with Barefoot Opera).

Not only that, but Caravan of Love – the first play I worte – will be performed at Sweet Venues from 5th – 11th October. It comes after a preview in Prague and small-scale UK tour (2018). It will be performed with appropriate social distancing and livestreaming, of course. 

It’s a challenging time for all of us, and Theatre Nation are hoping to remain optimistic, positive and creative in a time where the arts are more important than ever. That’s partly why we’re adding ‘Creativity, Community, Collaboration’ to their Manifesto – to reflect what they feel are the best ways to respond to Covid-19. 

Read more on their website:

We hope you have enjoyed reading this article. The future of our volunteer led, non-profit publication would be far more secure with the aid of a small donation. You can also support local journalism by becoming a friend of HIP. It only takes a minute and we would be very grateful.