Updated: Apr 4
A Podcast exploring the future of Theatre & the Performing Arts in a Post-Covid World!
In this episode, recorded around the anniversaries of the shutdown of Broadway & London's West End Theatre district, I got to spend some time with Eliza Marshall; a graduate of the prestigious Royal Academy of Music where she studied under Professor Michael Cox (principal flute of the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the Academy of St Martins in the Fields).
Eliza has an impressive 20 year career playing at the highest levels across a dizzying array of genres. Whether she is performing individual engagements with classical orchestra's, in studios recording film and video game soundtracks, touring the world with International stars such as Peter Gabriel or in her own alt-folk band, Ranagri, Eliza has maintained an incredibly busy professional life along with maintaining what one might call her 'day-job' as flute chair at the Lyceum Theatre in London for the Lion King.
Almost exactly one year to the day after the shockwaves reverberated outwards from New York City's Broadway shutdown, Eliza found that after 20, pretty impressive years, her professional life was about to come to a screeching halt. How would this unassuming but incredibly talented musician deal with the news? What would become of her gigs, her projects and her plans for the future? Would she be able to pivot or would the sudden loss of an all-consuming professional life leave her rudderless?
In fairness, these are not questions uniquely applicable to Eliza. This is a Pandemic after all. These questions apply to any number of artists, arts administrators, technicians, and front of house staff across the world. Equally, it's not just our sector of the economy that has suffered and during our conversation we talk about the intense level of interconnectedness in the world today and how this is both a wonderful force for good and yet one of the reasons that a Pandemic can impact the world more swiftly and more comprehensively than ever before in human history.
I provide some macro-economic data about the financial consequences of the shutdown over the past 12 months while recognizing that these can only act as a backdrop to the individual suffering currently experienced by so many. That suffering is not just financial, of course, it has emotional and mental health aspects associated with it too. I also recognize that a single blog and a Podcast Interview with one individual can hardly cover all that there is to explore but I hope that by starting the conversation others will be encouraged to talk with friends, family and colleagues about their experiences. The lows, the highs, the hopes that have been dashed and the dreams that remain.
Themes of time and interconnectedness are strong forces in this interview and where they combined most serendipitously for Eliza was most vividly exposed during our conversation about Eliza's Kickstarter project; Freedom to Roam I'm delighted to say that this project is almost fully funded as this blog is being written, although at the time the interview was recorded, there was still 50% of the target to achieve. That said, do, please take a few moments to look at the video using the 'Freedom to Roam link and learn about the project and also consider pledging whatever you can afford. Even if they have hit their target by the time you hit the link,. my experience is, that no matter how well planned the budget for any given project, we always need a buffer to deal with the unforeseen. Making this project happen helps create new art through a documentary film, a new music album & will also be used to raise funds for the Born Free Foundation details of which you'll hear more about when you listen to the podcast.
I hope you enjoy listening to this episode using the link below and as I wish Eliza luck with the fundraising for her project I'm enjoying researching Episode 3 which I hope you'll join me for next time!
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Special Thanks to Molly, The Collie!
Molly sat patiently and quietly between Eliza's feet throughout the recording of this episode. Never once did she interrupt our conversation for which I shall be forever grateful.
Resources & External Links:
Eliza Marshall - Facebook Musician Page
Freedom to Roam. The Rhythms of Migration - Kickstarter Page
The Born Free Foundation - Facebook Page
Ranagri - Facebook Musician Page
Podcast Production & Editing by Steve Scrivens in Montpelier, Vermont USA.
Cecil Sharp House - The English Folk Dance & Song Society
WOMAD - World of Music, Arts and Dance
Three Choirs Festival - 2021 Festival Dates
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