The lively Riverside Studios in London’s Hammersmith are hosting this week The Opera Festival. It is run by tete-a-tete, an organisation that sets out to help groups and individuals grow as artists. New and experimental performances take place on stage in front of a paying audience. This not a rehearsal but it is a form of product testing.
The audience are more or less coerced into filling in a feedback form before they leave. The possible overall ratings range from: (1) =Sorry. didn’t work for me to: (4) =Bloomin marvellous. Then you can chose any three of;
Challenging. Passionate. Loved it. Unengaging. Unfinished. Serious. Original. Commonplace. Not my cup of tea. Confusing. Ship-shape. Ship-wreck.
Listening to ‘funny’ amateur reviewers discussing their feedback over drinks in the bar made you feel a touch concerned for the would be artists but this was an intelligent and brave exercise. Improvements will come, even if egos suffer in the process.
Pitches are performances yet it is surprising how few companies will put themselves through a similar feedback process. It is called rehearsal. They are the ones who will be “unengaging” at best and “ship-wreck” at worst. And “sorry it didn’t work for me”!