Apparently, 20 years is a long time. It doesn’t feel it. It feels like a motorway movie of the glorious British landscape in all its shapes and seasons, with giant memory-screens flashing up images of fairytale theatres and grotty lovely theatres.
Of medieval halls and Turner Prize winning venues. Of palmas, singing and dancing in the aisle of the OAP mobility bus (with lift) which used to trundle us about – there was almost as much music on the bus as on stage.
Of the human chain which carried our amps and monitors upstairs to storage at the end of the night. Of getting lost in corridors, and climbing ladders and through trapdoors to glowing control rooms or rope-hung fly-floors. Of hundreds of rhythmic feet, fingers and voices each telling a new story, and performers and audiences becoming one emotional animal, soaring on the moment.
And of comet Hale Bopp smiling down on us changing a wheel on the M4 outside Swindon.
What good did we do? Apart from any benefit to the audiences and artists, every one of our hundreds of shows kept one theatre lit and its staff employed for one more night. And many of our audiences finished the evening in a local bar or restaurant, and hired a taxi home, thereby generating even more prosperity and harmony. Every company should remind themselves of this contribution by the arts.