Introducing September’s Guest Blogger: Ben Dickenson

Ben Dickenson Profile

I call an old friend and tell him I’m going to do a bit of blogging for Live Theatre. Between hysterical giggles, he squeezes out the words: “gaffer tape.”

Ok, that doesn’t make sense. Let me explain.

Sometime in the late 1990s we went to the premiere of an off-West End drama.  In the bar afterwards, the director made the mistake of casually asking what I thought of the production. That was 10.15pm. What followed – let’s call it a debate – ended at 3am when my friend found some gaffer, put it over my mouth and threw me in a taxi.

When it comes to theatre and culture in general, I can have a lot to say for myself.

Do Live Theatre really want me to say it on the internet, where everyone in striking distance of a computer screen can see my thoughts? Have they gone mad?

Live has a unique place in the cultural history of my home town. I’ve watched with pride as it’s also made an impact well beyond Tyneside, in recent years. But for me Live Theatre will always be the place of wonder and ideas that I discovered as youth. It helped inspire my passion for drama.

In other words, if you get an argumentative rant from me on this blog then Live Theatre only have themselves to blame…but they probably shouldn’t worry too much.

I’m also getting to review a couple of things that are close to my heart. Paddy Campbell’s Wet House, for example, a drama about a homeless hostel. Like Paddy I’ve worked in a few of those, and still make my living in that sector. Every blogger’s got to have a day job right?

So how on earth am I qualified to pass comment on any of these works? No idea, ask the people who foolishly gave me space on their website. But it may help to know I’ve written about Hollywood film for The Independent and The Guardian, and had the odd guest appearance on BBC radio. I even wrote a book once Hollywood’s New Radicalism (I.B.Tauris 2006).

I also believe good reviewers are practitioners. So I’m a poet (occasionally), community artist (once upon a time) and theatre writer (full on). I’m currently writing for Write on Tap, a new theatre company based in Newcastle.

Well, that’s my way of saying hello. And this is my way of saying goodbye – goodbye, see you at the next post.

Ben Dickenson
September’s Guest Theatre Blogger


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